Taxation Without Medication Or Incarceration Is Therapy

November 8, 2012 Alistair McHarg

For those of us who struggle with mental illness it is important to remember that even the darkest night is followed by the warmth of day; in other words, all things, even the most wretched things, end.

Let’s consider this for a moment. The Dark Ages ended, heck, even the Middle Ages ended – as a matter of fact I think mine ended about 15 minutes ago, making way for the onslaught of decrepitude referred to collectively as Old Age.

The careers of Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis and even The Three Stooges all came to a close; so remember, never abandon hope. Nightmares do end.

Nowhere is this comforting concept illustrated more vividly than right here, in this country which, until the Chinese start to call in their markers, we may think of as The United States. Indeed, have you noticed that today that feeling of being bludgeoned in the head with a rubber mallet that’s been distracting you for the past two years has vanished? Lovely isn’t it?

The election has brought to an end the relentless tsunami of noise, bile, hate, falsehood, prejudice, and disingenuous manipulation – known as political advertising – which has washed across the nation like some dreadful natural disaster. We may breathe again! Huzzah.

That’s enough.

Now that the part y is over, hard work must begin and the folks in D.C. have serious issues to resolve not the least of which is a mountain of debt and an empty piggy bank. There will be scuffling a plenty as congressmen attempt the delicate artistry required to simultaneously pick pockets, point accusatory fingers, and stab backs.

Always eager to help I have a revenue generation suggestion that is so inventive and out of the box it’s breathtaking. We are all familiar with the concept of social engineering which encourages socially desirable behavior through financial incentives. Think about how cigarette smoking, excess alcohol usage, and wasteful gasoline consumption have all been curtailed if not eliminated by the application of “surtaxes” - sometimes referred to a “luxury taxes”. By taxing socially unwelcome behavior out of existence we generate revenue and improve quality of life for all. It’s a brilliant, effective strategy.

Now stay with me here. Mental illness is emotionally devastating, but it is also socially unwelcome and places great demands on an already overburdened healthcare system. Why not tax it out of existence?

I advocate a sliding scale based on the annoyance factor of each illness. For example, clinical depression would be taxed at a low rate because depressives tend to be solitary and don’t bother people much. Bipolar disorder (my particular illness) should have a very high tax applied because bipolar people, especially in the throes of mania, often engage in behavior which society would characterize as irritating, tiresome, unnecessary – and not amusing.

It worked for smoking, which many experts consider an oddly self-destructive, if not suicidal, behavior – who is to say it wouldn’t work for mental illness too?

Obviously the mental illnesses which society finds useful, like Narcissism, would not be taxed since a consumer economy thrives on wretched excess and shameless self-indulgence.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2012, November 8). Taxation Without Medication Or Incarceration Is Therapy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

Alex Stiber
November, 13 2012 at 2:37 pm

I can't recall the last time I had so much fun! Thanks.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
November, 13 2012 at 4:07 pm

Lovely to hear this; as I like to tell my readers, it's all about you because there's no "I" in scream.

November, 8 2012 at 12:29 pm

Good evening Alistair:) I can feel old age coming at me like a freight train with no chance to run out of the way,kind of applies to my bipolar too! I thought gas taxes were high;can you imagine what the tax rate on bipolar would be? Probably taxed at 50% on that sliding scale. Would we be able to fib our way out of it, telling the IRS we have depression instead of bipolar? Bipolar taxed out of existence,who knows,it just might work.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
November, 8 2012 at 12:37 pm

It really does work as a metaphor, doesn't it? When the "cost" of being bipolar became too high, I got serious about managing it.

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