Derek Hunter

I don’t get tanning, either outside or inside. I’ve never been a sun-worshipper and can’t stand hot summers. I prefer cold – you can always put more layers of clothes on, you can only take so much off. But just because I don’t engage in something doesn’t mean I don’t see a problem when it’s targeted by protestors, special interest groups, and especially government; and the tanning industry is the latest to have a government-painted bullseye on its back.

This issue came to my attention when my friend and former co-worker Ryan Ellis wrote about it in the Washington Times a couple of weeks ago. Ryan knows the tax code, he works at Americans for Tax Reform (where I used to work), so he’s not a fan of increasing taxes on anything. That he’s on the side of the Jersey Shore’s Snooki is just a coincidence, and something I include here to tease him.

But Ryan Ellis and Snooki are correct (you have no idea how much I enjoyed writing that sentence): the more you tax something, the less of it you get. And the tax imposed on tanning salons by Obamacare has severely damaged that industry. As Ellis put it, “In the past four years, an estimated 8,000 tanning salons have closed their doors, according to the American Suntanning Association.” You may not think that matters, but he continues, “This has cost 64,000 employees and owners of these tanning salons their jobs.”

That’s a lot of jobs lost in an economy in desperate need of jobs.

The tanning tax was part of Obamacare because, quite frankly, Democrats needed to raise all kinds of taxes on all manner of things to give the appearance that the law wouldn’t add to the national debt. At least on paper. Reality, as is often the case, is a different story.

Ellis writes, “The IRS reports that the tanning tax brought in a paltry $15 million in 2010, $86 million in 2011 and $91 million in 2012.” I think we could all make the sacrifices necessary to live off of that kind of money. It would be tough, but we could do it. But we aren’t government, and no amount is ever enough for government. He continues, “While those numbers are apparently large enough to decimate an entire industry, they are laughable compared to the $2.7 billion the tax was supposed to generate in its first decade of implementation.”

That’s how government works – pick an industry to decimate, decimate it, and still not get what you claimed you’d get. But, and this is key for politicians, never stop.


Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.