When Democrats shoved ObamaCare through Congress and into law six-plus years ago, the tanning-bed industry had 18,000 businesses in operation. Now, after a supposed economic recovery and years of stubbornly optimistic consumer spending, 10,000 of them have gone under — a reduction of 56%. The Associated Press reported on Saturday that a little-noticed 10% federal excise tax on tanning salons in ObamaCare has crisped the tanning industry
The tanning salon industry is feeling burned by “Obamacare.”
Business owners around the country say the little-noticed 10 percent tax on tanning in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul has crippled the industry, forcing the closing of nearly 10,000 of the more than 18,000 tanning salons in the U.S.
Experts say the industry is overstating the effects of the “tan tax” and that it has been hurt by other factors, too, including public health warnings about the dangers of tanning and the passage of laws in dozens of states restricting the use of tanning salons by minors.
That’s a nonsensical argument for a couple of reasons. The industry wasn’t making its margins on teens anyway, whose disposable income would normally go in a number of directions before tanning salons — clothes, electronics, entertainment, and so on. Public health warnings about ultraviolet exposure, especially in intense applications, had been around a long time prior to the passage of ObamaCare. Other factors might have been in play around the margins, but they wouldn’t have been enough to close over half of the industry’s storefronts — and putting a 10% tax on top of those issues certainly didn’t help.
In fact, the prosperity of the industry despite those warnings was one of the reasons Democrats included the tax in the first place. They specifically intended to harm the industry, as the AP rightly recalls:
The tax, similar to that imposed on tobacco, is meant to discourage a practice known to increase the risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says those who use tanning beds before age 35 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, by 59 percent.
So despite what “experts” say now, the tax aimed directly at those operations. That was a deliberate component of the massive social-engineering project of ObamaCare, along with the ability to create mandates for free employer-supplied contraception, mandatory comprehensive-coverage policies where they weren’t needed, and so on. Democrats believed that consumers couldn’t choose for themselves whether to use tanning salons, judiciously or otherwise, and decided to choose for them instead.
Thanks to that paternalism, Democrats have put 10,000 business owners on the sidelines. Over 81,000 jobs have disappeared from the industry over the last six years, thanks to ObamaCare and its punitive taxes. Mission accomplished!