Thursday, April 2, 2009

Keeping Smokers Alive to Take Care of Children

Night of the Living Smoker

The government has finally declared its intentions to the cigarette smoker: KEEP SMOKING BRO!

BHO just engineered an increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes so that yesterday, the tax on every pack jumped from 39 cents to $1.01!

This represents the largest federal tobacco tax increase ever. In some cases, smokers will be coughing up $9-$10 for a pack...

For years health officials have claimed they hope that tax-price increases will motivate smokers to quit, and perhaps at one time that sentiment was real. But now the government--like the desperate smoker-- is also addicted, but addicted to cigarette tax money, which nowadays is viewed as a way to raise funds for federal programs.

Who What When...Teddy Kennedy

In 1997 Teddy Kennedy sponsored an expansion of Medicaid (SCHIP) in order to provide insurance for families that were not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. An expensive proposition. This February, one of BHO's first acts as president was to expand this program (stimulus shmimulus) to include millions more people, even those who are not traditional families, including immigrants.

When pressed for a funding solution to support this new expansion of the government program, BHO and someone really clever (maybe Robert Reich?) came up with the idea that they could add another tax on cigarettes (who can argue against that?) and use that money to fund SCHIP. So now cigarette smokers are taking care of kids, at the cost of their lives.

The federal government has come to rely on cigarette taxes -- as states rely on lottery income-- to fund their social programs, so if people stop smoking...that would be bad. This approach is obviously contradictory. If the government discourages tobacco use with taxes then people will stop smoking. However, if the government uses the tax money to fund its pet projects then if people stop smoking, pet projects will suffer.

Looking for Volunteers

One could foresee a day when people quitting smoking may seriously jeopardize something important, like climate change research or digital TV converter coupons, and this administration in its inestimable cleverness would be looking for new solutions. For change.

One idea is to have young people, when they turn 21, to volunteer as smokers for 1-3 years. This would be seen as public service, a Marlboro AmeriCorps.

Or maybe the government could keep people alive, on smoking farms--which could be erected adjacent to windmill farms-- and let their breathless bodies shift from foot to foot in search of oxygen, but addicted to cigarettes while BHO funds his support of future smokers by maintaining their health as children.

Sounds good to me.

1 comment:

USpace said...

It's all so hopenchangey.
The governments imposing these tobacco SIN taxes are actually committing racist acts since most smokers are lower income, and many of them are minorities. Obama committed a racist act with this tax increase. Completely regressive. Why don't they tax cigs $1,000 a carton?

They don't want all people to quit, just enough to toot their horns to justify their tyranny. They will still be able to rely on all those taxes continually coming in from the hardcore addicts, which at the increasingly obscene rates will easily make up the taxes lost from the small percentage of quitters.

Politicians don't want people to stop smoking. If they did they would tax them $100 per pack. But this would just increase the black market even more, and the state would get no money.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
raise taxes on the poor

tax cigs 200 percent
hurt poor smokers the most

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
create racist outcomes

raise some taxes on the poor
hurt minorities the most
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