Monday, March 30, 2009


The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, passed in February this year, for enforcement starting April 1st, increases the Federal excise taxes on tobacco products and sets forth new permit and enforcement provisions regarding tobacco products and processed tobacco.
Not a big deal, most people these days do not smoke. Passed without a whimper. Not exactly going to spur on mass marches and demonstrations from smokers across the country, primarily due to the fact that they are smokers....and lack the lung power for a long summer walk (hello!!). The carrot on this stick is that the extra levied tax money goes to children's health insurance, which is a great cause. But it is a tax targeted towards one distinct group of people, and its very definition, discriminatory.
Apparently President Obama doesn't know about discrimination. Doesn't know what it is to be singled out because you are different, because you are out of the mainstream. Doesn't know what it is to be looked down upon. OH, he talks a good game, but at the end of the day, like the non-slave owners in our past, he will quietly go along with it as long as it doesn't effect him. Apparently equality was just a sound byte for him to get into office, because he has signed a bill that will discriminate against all users of tobacco products unfairly. And he targets a group of people who he knows are addicted, and that makes him gutless as well. You might say, long term smokers are absolute slaves to their addiction, which would tend to make our President of hope and change the largest slave owner in the history of the United States.
What are we talking about? For a pack of cigarettes, the federal excise tax goes from 39 cents up to $1.01, an increase of 258%!! This is an unprecedented and unequaled tax increase on any product.
The President has claimed that for every 10 cent increase in the price of a tobacco product, a certain percentage of smokers quit, a measurable but minimal amount. No one denies this fact. The tobacco industry not only knows it is a fact, they have already increased their pricing to make up for an anticipated drop in sales. So, they will be OK. But the majority of addicted smokers will keep consuming, and reduce their expenses another way, like in the money they spend on their children, creating a perfect circle.
If you can live with this, how about attaching the same 258% tax increase on other products, like distilled spirits, currently $2.14 on a 750ml bottle, it would be 5.35 per bottle. But every increase in tax revenue will result in a drop in drunk driving....let's not be naive. The alcohol industry would scream bloody murder, so would the restaurant industry.
So how about applying the same 258% excise tax on guns. Pistols are taxed currently at 10% of their sales price. Ammo is taxed at 11%. Let's bump this excise tax up to 27% and see what happens. We know what will happen...the Republicans will be up in arms, screaming bloody murder.
And they should be. This is an unfair and targeted taxation towards an individual group of citizens, and as such should be abolished and replaced for a fairer, across the board increase.
And that is the smoky, murky world today....the "World According to Kimba."

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