Methane gas is the second most worrisome of the greenhouse gases contributing to Global warming. A recent report shows that livestock, particularly cattle, produce as much as seventeen percent of the methane gas present in our atmosphere. There is talk in Washington of taxing the offending bovines. A new study, not yet released, by the Atmospherical Solutions Society’s – Geological Astronomical Studies (ASS-GAS) department reveals that human activities contribute approximately sixty percent of the world’s methane. Given the current economy and the present administration in Washington it’s easy enough to see that we will all soon be paying a fart tax. The only question is how will the tax be implemented? Several methods are currently being considered.
One Japanese company is developing the Fart-O-Meter. This is an ingenious device that can be conveniently slipped into any back pocket, or worn comfortably fastened to the optional waist band. By constantly monitoring the ambient air it will keep a precise record of all taxable expulsions. At specific intervals each device will transmit wirelessly an update of its readings. Each transmission will be received, recorded and the appropriate tax calculated by the new government office, the Biological External Revenue Service. The organization of the B.E.R.S. is still underway and film maker Michael Moore is said to be under consideration to head the government office as Fart Czar.
Tests of the Fart-O-Meter are ongoing and while the technology seems promising there have been some problems. According to the chief officer of development, Ono Stinkomoto, “…the readings of the device are precise and dependable in less populated areas, but when tested in crowds such as a sports arena or subway the thing just goes nuts.”
Geography and Demography
Another promising method for calculating the eminent fart tax is by using geography and demography to determine tax responsiblity. Studies have shown that diet and lifestyle directly determine the amount and frequency that a person passes gas. By analyzing the normal diet and lifestyle of a given demographic we can estimate not only how often the average citizen will fart but also what level of greenhouse gases those farts would contain. Statistically and politically this may prove to be the most reliable, fair and transparent method to date. While the diet and lifestyle of those living within a given geographic area varies according to financial means this method would allow the tax to be spread evenly throughout the area. Thus, this particular method has come to be called the Flat Fart Tax.
Unfortunately, the F.F.T. is not without it’s problems either. Predominantly Red States are more heavily populated by red meat eaters, whereas those living in predominantly Blue States eat more fruit. Determining the boundary lines for the several tax regions has proven difficult, and no existing enforcement agency is equipped to control line-jumpers who might cross over into a neighboring region to enjoy a steak without paying the higher tax.
The Honor System
A final method under consideration for the calculation and collection of the fart tax is the honor system. Under this system everyone would keep track of how many times they farted during the day, nighttime farts would be estimated, and the tax would be calculated and added to our annual income tax. This would, of course, be the simplest system to implement. There would be no need for additional infrastructure as the existing I.R.S. would be able to collect and record the payment of taxes. Jobs would be created in the form of government agency employees to perform the necessary audits to ensure fart tax compliance. And, the construction industry would be stimulated as new prisons are built to house tax evaders.
As tempting as this system may seem it too is not without it’s shortcomings. Tax evasion, as mentioned, would obviously be a problem. Enforcemement would be difficult. New laws and regulations would have to be enacted and enforced. Our law enforcement agencies would need to be trained to spot and recognize perpetrators. It would, in short order, become a convoluted and stinky mess.
The good news for us consumers is that once all the details have been aired out and the fart tax is implemented the government plans to subsidize the bean industry. The price of a can of beans at the grocery store is expected to fall to an all time low. However, Beano will be declared a controlled substance.
Yours in pun,