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The Tax I Never Saw Coming


Welcome to life in D.C.: on one hand, we have First Lady Michelle Obama running all over combating childhood obesity with her Let’s Move campaign. On the other, we have a coalition of organizations suggesting D.C. tax gym memberships and yoga classes to help the city make up a $550 million budget shortfall.

This is going to have a great backlash effect: if you tax exercise classes, more people will probably stay at home and sit on the couch. They’ll probably eat unhealthy while they’re sitting on the couch. And that will create a greater strain on the nation’s health care system. They clearly have more confidence than I do in nationalized health care.

But just in case you decide you don’t want to sit on the couch, your other options aren’t that good, either. I read on DCist.com a list of other services suggested being taxed: dating services, private investigative services, pet grooming services, and even admission to cultural events.

This is how Katie Kerstetter of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute is defending the tax: You pay tax on your yoga mat, your leggings, your water bottle, even a yoga DVD. Why do you not pay a tax on a yoga class?

At that rate, why don’t you start taxing my oxygen intake and slapping a cap and tax on me for my carbon emissions? Oh, wait.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of living in D.C., let me break the news: it’s expensive. It basically amounts to a 10% sales tax. Last year, they slapped a five cent fee on plastic bags in the city. Meanwhile, the Metro escalators are always broken.

So, yeah, it’s expensive. Now, it’s going to be no fun, either.