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'Tan tax' discussions include allegations of reverse racism

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Mention the new "tan tax" in a major news outlet and cries of discrimination and reverse racism often follow.

The complaint surfaced on reader comment boards to blogs and news Web sites back in December, when it became clear that the levy -- a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet tanning beds -- was likely to be included in the new health-care overhaul bill. Since then, it's been repeated by conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Doc Thompson, a fill-in host for Glenn Beck who intoned in March, "I now know the pain of racism."

When an article about the fallout from the tax -- which took effect last week -- appeared on the Washington Post's Web site Wednesday, dozens of commenters questioned the tax's legality.

The case can seem deceptively simple: Since patrons of tanning salons are almost exclusively white, the tax will be almost entirely paid by white people and, therefore, violates their constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

But does the argument have any merit? Not remotely said Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School specializing in racial conflict and law.

"There is no constitutional problem at all, because a plaintiff would have to show that the government intended to disadvantage a particular group, not simply that the group is disadvantaged in effect," he said.

Kennedy said that this is why courts have upheld a raft of other laws that also happen to have a disproportionate impact on particular groups. For example, laws that impose higher penalties for possession or trafficking of crack cocaine as opposed to powder cocaine resulted in far harsher sentences for African Americans compared to whites. And laws that offer preferential treatment for veterans are much more likely to benefit men than women. But in both cases judges ruled that, because lawmakers did not intend to disadvantage black people or women when drafting those laws, they are legal.

What would it take to prove that President Obama or members of Congress intended to discriminate against white people when they included the tan tax in the health-care law? There would have to be some record of direct or indirect comments by the officials involved, Kennedy said. Or there would have to be no possible alternate reason for adopting the tan tax.

But the levy's supporters argued from the start that it had a dual purpose: to raise funds to cover some of the cost of extending health coverage to the uninsured and to discourage a habit that scientific studies have linked with increased risk of cancer.

"To say that this health rationale was a mere pretext for wanting to stick it to white people is completely implausible," Kennedy said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070804488_pf.html

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Lol. Rightwingers are freaking bat-crazy. It's like they're compete to win "who's the most crazy one amongst us."


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Be proud of your white skin, white people. Why tan? All you're doing is making perfectly nice skin and aging it so you look like absolute sheeyut when you're 45.

Im in my 50's, genius, and I've been tanning as far back as I can remember. I am also a beautiful woman who doesn't look her age. ;)


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

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Mention the new "tan tax" in a major news outlet and cries of discrimination and reverse racism often follow.

The complaint surfaced on reader comment boards to blogs and news Web sites back in December, when it became clear that the levy -- a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet tanning beds -- was likely to be included in the new health-care overhaul bill. Since then, it's been repeated by conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Doc Thompson, a fill-in host for Glenn Beck who intoned in March, "I now know the pain of racism."

When an article about the fallout from the tax -- which took effect last week -- appeared on the Washington Post's Web site Wednesday, dozens of commenters questioned the tax's legality.

The case can seem deceptively simple: Since patrons of tanning salons are almost exclusively white, the tax will be almost entirely paid by white people and, therefore, violates their constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

But does the argument have any merit? Not remotely said Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School specializing in racial conflict and law.

"There is no constitutional problem at all, because a plaintiff would have to show that the government intended to disadvantage a particular group, not simply that the group is disadvantaged in effect," he said.

Kennedy said that this is why courts have upheld a raft of other laws that also happen to have a disproportionate impact on particular groups. For example, laws that impose higher penalties for possession or trafficking of crack cocaine as opposed to powder cocaine resulted in far harsher sentences for African Americans compared to whites. And laws that offer preferential treatment for veterans are much more likely to benefit men than women. But in both cases judges ruled that, because lawmakers did not intend to disadvantage black people or women when drafting those laws, they are legal.

What would it take to prove that President Obama or members of Congress intended to discriminate against white people when they included the tan tax in the health-care law? There would have to be some record of direct or indirect comments by the officials involved, Kennedy said. Or there would have to be no possible alternate reason for adopting the tan tax.

But the levy's supporters argued from the start that it had a dual purpose: to raise funds to cover some of the cost of extending health coverage to the uninsured and to discourage a habit that scientific studies have linked with increased risk of cancer.

"To say that this health rationale was a mere pretext for wanting to stick it to white people is completely implausible," Kennedy said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070804488_pf.html

Well, don't expect Gay marriage to be legal anytime soon with this guy out there! That statement alone is almost the perfect anti-gay marriage argument.....


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:lol: if you say so.

I just did, didn't I.


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

kodasmall3.jpg

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But does the argument have any merit? Not remotely said Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School specializing in racial conflict and law.

"There is no constitutional problem at all, because a plaintiff would have to show that the government intended to disadvantage a particular group, not simply that the group is disadvantaged in effect," he said.

Interesting... That's not how I've ever understood "disparate impact" rulings, or do those only apply in employment law (like the New Haven firefighters' suit)?


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