Republican lawmakers have responded to President Obama's call to increase federal revenues by proposing a punishing new tax on tampons, contraception and other womens' health products.
In an interview with his hometown newspaper, Speaker of the House John Boehner ruled out raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans to help avert the fiscal cliff, but suggested there were some products Republicans were willing to start taxing:
"I think a federal sales tax would make a lot of sense. But we shouldn't go crazy. We should only tax certain products that have a negative impact on society."
"We already tax alcohol and cigarettes. Why not start taxing maxi-pads and birth control? Increasing the cost of contraception would have a positive effect on female morality. If your diaphragm or whatever costs $50, maybe you'll think twice before sleeping around."
Boehner Likes Leakage
A draft plan for the so-called Tampon Tax sent out by Mr. Boehner's office calls for a 100% charge on each item sold, effectively doubling the price of all contraception and feminine hygiene products.
Experts at the Congressional Budget Office say the levy would bring in about $20 billion a year - not an insignificant sum - but hardly enough to close the $1 trillion deficit.
Women's right activists are outraged about the tax, arguing that the burden would fall unfairly on only one gender.
But in his interview Bohener explains that while the rich have been creating jobs, women have been getting a free ride for too long:
"I think well-off Americans have already done enough for this country. Its time for women - particularly the immodest ones - to step up to the plate and finally do their part."