Non-liberal California Democrats:
California has a budget problem and this
is what Democrats are proposing:
... Assemblyman Jim Beall (D-San Jose) ... hopes to see a $1.80 tax added to the price of every six-pack of beer sold in the state.
Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Montebello) ... proposed some of the Legislature's more unconventional measures, including taxes on digital downloads and adult entertainment. His proposal would empower state authorities to collect sales tax on the downloads, increasing the cost of a typical 99-cent song to roughly $1.07. Calderon projects that the bill (AB 1956), which could also apply to pornography downloads, cellphone ring-tones, online books and feature films distributed on the Internet, would raise about $500 million for the state budget.
[Calderon] hasn't been able to get more traction for another proposal: a 25% tax on sex toys, strip shows, pornographic magazines and videos and anything else sold in an "adult entertainment venue."
Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) is targeting a wider group of consumers. Almost every Californian would bear some of the brunt of his proposal to charge a 25-cent tax on every plastic carryout bag from stores.
These taxes are not scaled on a person's ability to pay (which is better measured by income, or a proxy for wealth like assets). Proposing these taxes play into the hands of Republicans. If the Democrats aren't going after the wealthy on taxes, why not vote for Republicans who won't go after the wealthy or
the little person?
The problem is that many Democrats think that they can get away with taxes if they support some sort of moral ethic: alcohol is bad for you, electronic "stuff" is frivolous, porn is bad, fewer plastic bags is real progress in helping the environment. That may be virtuous for a progressive, but not for a liberal. A liberal would not try to guide individual choice (at least not so much and not through taxes). Who cares if someone is reading a Great Book as opposed to Hustler? Taxation should be on ability to pay, not a predilection for "vices".