Benjamin Franklin's pithy assertion that life's certainties are
limited to death and taxes is one card shy of a royal flush:
Nature's call will certainly continue to be heard by all of mankind
for as long as there is a mankind.
Venice -- -- the real one in Italy as opposed to the bizarre Los
Angeles mockup -- -- has decided to impose a toilet tax on visitors
every time they use a public restroom. Slapping a duty on that most
basic process of elimination makes good economic sense. By making
your business their business, the Canal City has found a surefire
revenue stream that will continue to fill the City's coffers until
the last Starbucks has sold its last latte. And even for an extra
hour or so after that.
The tariff, first levied in September, represents a mere drop in
the bucket for tourists. At 1,000 lira, or roughly 50 cents per
bathroom visit, it kind of transforms an activity that tourists had
taken for granted for so long into one of Europe's few remaining
So next time you're looking for cheap entertainment in Italy's
sinking pile of bricks, well, now you know where to go.