Cut Tax or Tax Cut?

By Michael Applebaum, MD, JD, FCLM

I have a friend who emigrated to the United States four years ago.  Although she is not a rock star, she left her homeland because of high taxes.

Her country should not be confused with the place known as Qatar (pronounced “cutter”).  My friend is from a country called Cutter (pronounced “Qatar”).

Among the Cutters there are many who have a unique custom.  The custom is ritual laceration.  The ceremony is called “The Cutting.”

The Cutter “Cutters,” as they are known, use a ceremonial knife (called a “Cuttor”) to slash their bodies.

These self-inflicted wounds, called “The Cuts,” are by custom between 3 and 5 inches long.  The wounds that result from The Cuttings require stitches in order to heal properly.  Sometimes medications are needed.

The Cutting occurs three times per day (the “Three Straights”).  Smaller wounds are sometimes meted out in between the Three Straights.

The sick care delivery system in Cutter provides sick care to Cutter’s Cutters.

When my friend lived in Cutter, two-thirds of the adults and 20% of the children were practicing Cutters.  The number was (and still is) growing.  The costs of treating The Cuts and their complications were not insignificant.  So Cutter’s Cutters, the majority, voted to provide themselves with government subsidized sick care.  This program, paid for through a Cut Tax which was imposed on all the citizens of Cutter, covered the procedures, medications and other sick care that were consequential to the self-inflicted Cuts.

There was an unfortunate effect to the Cut Tax.  Resources that could have been used for other things, such as education, social programs, infrastructure improvements and defense, were utilized to pay for the care of the preventable Cuts.

Some people were outraged.  A political movement was begun to Tax Cuts.  These people advocated that those citizens who chose to injure themselves should bear the costs of their decision.  Legislation was sponsored that would Tax Cuts and Cuttors.  But it did not pass since the majority of Cutters were Cutters and the powerful Cuttor industry lobbied against it.

Cutter, as expected, suffered decline.  Money and effort that would otherwise have been invested in the country were invested in sick care for preventable disease.  Conditions worsened.

So, my friend left Cutter and came to the United States.  She thought that citizens of the most powerful country in the world would not be irresponsible enough to squander their resources on blatantly preventable health problems.

Soon, she will leave to live elsewhere.