OPINION: Is it time to explore the true cost of love?

AS another Federal Budget looms, I have an idea for raising cash for the new "innovation" agenda being pursued by the current incarnation of political buffoons - a love tax.

How would it work? It would be a user pays system, albeit a complicated one that may rack up some rather high administration costs and, by the very nature of the personal nature of matters involved, eventually find itself in front of an ICAC hearing.

Top of the tax parade would be the love rat, the person who has two or three partners going at once and none of them know about each other. Through a dob-in-a-love-cheat campaign - remember dob in a drug dealer? - we could identify these high-end users who are definitely up for a bit of payback.

In fact complicated mathematical equations, much akin to those used to calculate the real budget deficit, suggest that the price of cheating could prove to be rather prohibitive, a good thing in the long-run but, meantime, an absolute bonus for the country's coffers.

Acts of bastardry performed in the name of love - domestic violence, emotional abuse and so on - would come a little lower, but not too much, down the tax scale.

These could also work on a dob-in basis although, yes, yes, I am starting to see that the cost of administering such a process would be huge and almost outdo the tax, much like spending on "turning back the boats".

Just for starters, you'd need staff to investigate claims and keep records of love and its victims and who's to say they could be objective, especially if a bottle of Grange was involved.

Lowest on the taxation scale would be the love-less or love-lorn. No love equals no tax. So breathe a sigh of relief. You are already suffering enough.

Of course every system needs some reward, a bit of a carrot, not just penalties or deterrents.

The love tax could be used, in part, to reward great lovers.

Are you the ideal wife, or husband? Are you terrific in the sack? Are you friends with all your exes just because you are such a great guy or girl?

Go straight to go and collect a tax deduction. You deserve it.

I also propose that there would be no age limits on a love tax, a factor that might benefit old age pensioners who seem likely to be the target of a budget cutting arrow.

So what about a financial reward for 40th, 50th, or even 60th anniversaries? A big thank you for saving the country money on nasty break-ups, separate housing, single parent benefits and all the other fall-out of the non-nuclear family, a rather fussy old concept that seems to have gone the way of the dodo.

Finally, let's not leave sex out of the equation.

The obvious place the Treasurer would have to look is at the pharmacy. Yes, I am talking about prophylactics.

I think a condom tax would go over a treat. After all, the more you use, the happier you probably are, so you're not really going to mind getting slugged a bit by the government.

If we could simply persuade people to have more sex, or more safe sex, think about the dollars we could rake in.

Even an increase of $1 on a pack of condoms, multiplied by 1 million people using them a week, seems like a nice little money earner.

Whoever said make love, not war, was certainly on to something.

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