Golfer Goosen, tax guinea pig
Last week at my other tax blog: Pro error, filer pays; Banks sued for foreclosure tax

Want to erase the deficit? Enact a stupidity tax

Scott Adams, the man who's made a fortune by making fun of the stupidity that abounds in much of corporate life, wants to use that concept in our real world.

Dunce_jgroup_iStock_000002200549_2 Specifically, he's suggesting a stupidity tax.

"I'm just curious as to whether tax policy could make a huge difference in the effectiveness of society by directly taxing stupidity," Adams wrote on his blog.

"Suppose science is applied to the task of identifying the most important knowledge that an adult should possess. Could you find a few thousand bits of knowledge that successful people generally understand and unsuccessful people do not?"

"If so, that could be the basis of the stupidity test. You might also want to include any information about science or economics that an involved citizen needs to make informed voting decisions. That might help the government become more effective over time."

The man who gave us Dilbert, the Pointy-Haired Boss and Dogbert might be on to something.

Of course, as he notes, the problem is deciding what exactly is stupid and who determines that.

Then there's the added bureaucracy.

And the biggest obstacle? Elected officials. Most of them wouldn't support the idea for fear of not passing the stupidity tax test.

But tax policy has always been used to shape public policy and discourage, encourage or reward certain actions. Home-related tax breaks encourage folks to buy real estate. Families are rewarded with various child related tax deductions and credits. Higher cigarette taxes prompt people to give up smoking.

So maybe a stupidity tax would help steer us away from today's dreadful trend of embracing idiocy. If being stupid cost folks via a tax instead of rewarded them via reality television, the world would be a better place.

Plus, if a way to devise and implement a stupidity tax is ever found, it definitely would go a long way toward erasing our federal deficit.

What would you tax? Taking a cue from Adams, what would you like to tax?

This is total wishful thinking time. Your proposed tax doesn't have to be realistic or practical or even fair. I'm looking for pie in the sky tax thinking here.

I will, however, not post offensive tax policy ideas and since it's my blog, I'm the final arbiter of what's offensive. But I know y'all know what I'm talking about.

So have at it within those parameters and leave a comment on what your ideal tax would be.

Dunce photo by jgroup/iStock

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