What did the tanning industry ever do to deserve being singled out for a new 10% surtax on all indoor tanning services in Harry Reid’s Manager’s Amendment?

The tanning tax was a substitute for the cosmetic surgery tax (a/k/a Botax) in the prior bill.

This may seem inconsequential, and to some extent it is. The revenues raised will be insignificant in terms of the overall cost of health care. It also is unlikely that the tanning industry will be able to defend itself. And there doesn’t seem to be a pro-tanning political movement.

The purported justification is the claim that use of tanning services contributes to skin cancer, although it seems that overuse of tanning services might be the culprit. But so is over-sunning at the beach or poolside, so why not tax beach clubs and shut down public pools? The justification for a tanning tax results from the same pseudo-scientific logic being used at the state level to try to tax sodas and sugary drinks.

The random nature of this tax is what is worrisome. An out-of-favor industry, with no substantial political muscle, is singled out by an avaricious Congress at the last minute in a secret backroom deal.

The significance of the tanning tax is that the government, in its thirst for funds to fund government expansion, will attack the weakest link. Today, the tanning industry is the weakest link, tomorrow who will it be?

Yeah, it’s one of those “first they came for the tanning industry…” moments. Sounds funny, but it’s no joke.

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