How About an Ignorance Tax?

How is Memorial Day different from Presidents Day? How does each differ from Veterans Day? These aren’t variations on a riddle, but my idea for raising taxes. In my opinion we should forget about sin taxes on cigarettes or junk food; reduce business and income taxes and make up the difference with an ignorance tax.

Decoration Day, Memorial Day’s previous incarnation, began being widely observed by northern states after the Civil War and then by all Americans when it expanded to include 20th century wars. Notice the use of the word ‘observed.’ That is completely different from the word celebrate which would be appropriate for July 4th.  Yet fewer people each year actually know the difference between these unique days. Even fewer can distinguish between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.  Congress eased the way to ignorance by passing the National Holiday Act, moving most Federal holidays to Monday, thereby placing the focus on a three day weekend instead of the event itself. (And while this might be slightly off topic, who decided that the apostrophes were unnecessary after the words ‘Veterans’ and ‘Presidents’?)

Since these days have become prime shopping days, my idea is that every consumer should take a quiz based on the day’s specific theme. Sales tax for that day should be levied based on how well one does on the quiz.  Score high and pay little; score low and pay a lot. Rather than going into government coffers the money should be matched with a recipient charity which exemplifies the day’s focus. Those with perfect scores get to choose the charity.

If you want to bone up on some facts in anticipation of the test, or more importantly wish to spend a few minutes experiencing a minute bit of what every American should have felt on Memorial Day, I recommend watching this video. Each grave represents not only a soldier, but also a family to whom we all owe heartfelt gratitude.





3 thoughts on “How About an Ignorance Tax?”

  1. And the other day you mention, you do not use its proper name, but “July 4th”. Do you not know the name? Are there any religious holidays that have the title only of the month and day instead of a name? 7/4 are a pair of numbers.

  2. Carol, Perhaps I need to pay the ignorance tax? :). The account from where I took my facts said that the custom of decorating the graves of soldiers with flowers started in the South, as you say. But it also says that the official proclamation of Decoration/Memorial Day was in 1868 and by 1890 all the northern states had recognized the day. The southern states kept their own days until the day was changed from a recognition of Civil War (War Between the States) dead, to those from all wars. At that point it was kept nationally.

  3. I love your column each week, but with this one I must take exception. It was not the northern women who started the tradition of going to the graves of the Civil War fallen to decorate them in remembrance, it was the southern widows and their families. I am a Grand daughter of a Civil War veteran and know this from fact.

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