Solution: Tax cigarette smokers!
It looks as if the expansion of S-CHIP will go through (there are enough
votes to override a Bush veto). And the expansion will be paid for, largely, by targeting the 25% of the adult population
that smoke cigarettes. Excellent. And unlike a "traditional" regressive sales tax which has consumers paying more tax as the costliness and quality of product rises, the per-pack tax is more regressive
. For a poor person, no matter how they downgrade the quality (and base price) of their smokes, they will be taxed the same. Congress couldn't do a per-smoker head tax, which is the ultimate regressive tax, but got pretty close.
For those that object to taxing smokers, a self-righteous and classic ex-smoker commentator
over at Political Animal has the answer for you:
I quit smoking after six years and after acquiring a two-pack-a-day habit. I quit by throwing away my cigarettes and my matches. It was tough for the first three weeks, especially as I worked in an office where nearly everyone else smoked as they saw fit. After three weeks, my acute craving for smoking slowly subsided.
So, folks, I quit smoking by quitting smoking. Cold turkey. No drugs, no patches. And I never smoked again.
If I can do it anyone can.
So stop whining and just stop, if you haven't already. You're polluting someone else's air.
Bunch of overgrown infants.
Posted by: stopit on August 3, 2007
Spoken like an former addict. Is there a pleasure you like? Four cigarettes a day? A glass of wine in the evening? Fried foods? Well, there are former addicts who went too far, like stopit (2 packs a day!) that will tell you "anyone can" stop enjoying themselves and those who object are "overgrown infants" who should "stop whining".
So bring on the sin taxes. Bring on taxes for anything that's pleasurable. And for god's sake, please don't pay for anything out of the general fund, because that would mean taxing based on ability to pay.
The tax code has always been politicized. Those who are loudest in accusing others of fomenting class warfare are guilty themselves of robbing the poor to fund the pet projects of the wealthy.
It's quite the disappointment to find out that Dems and Progressives are much like Republicans. They want their goals in place but they do not want to actually pay for it. They want more contributions to continue achieving goals they have no intentions of pay for.
It's hard to say the Dems and Progressive have accomplished a good goal when the majority of them do not help pay.
I'll pay the tax to help the poor. In return I'll not contribute another cent to any dem nor progressive. I have a hard time supporting leeches with big ideas but no action when implementation actually happens.
A similar argument (to my mind) is the one where people say that low income citizenry should not be allowed to become addicts of any kind, legal or otherwise. And that the cigs either should be taxed up the wazoo (if they were non-smokers) or that there was no need to abuse the free market this way (if they were smokers).
The multifaceted hypocrisy of yer basic Republican't rarely disappoints...
Let's see, they jack up the price of cigarettes. People stop smoking, or cigarettes go underground. The tax collections plummet, and there's no money for the program.
So, the point of the program was to do what? Stop smoking or help kids get health care?
Obama's group just called asking for money.
I said no. Since Obama voted to have me and other smokers pay for the healthcare of poor children he can find his contributions from others.
The caller became very indignant. I explained Obama chose to spend my money on a program that he himself will not even be paying for and therefore he can find his campaign funding else where.
When I would not budge they hung up on me. C'est La Vie.
About 20 years ago or so, Canada tried raising the cigarette tax to the point that a pack cost $6 or so. The smuggling of American cigarettes got so bad that a friend of mine in Sault Ste. Marie said that it was like the days of Prohibition in reverse.
I'm still boggled by Bush's comment that the people without health insurance can always go to the emergency room. He'll serve them cake while they wait, I suppose.