Sunday, December 23, 2007

The New York Times is unduly worried:

In an editorial about the AMT, we read: (emp add)
Congress has passed and President Bush is sure to sign into law a bill that will spare some 23 million Americans from having to pay the alternative minimum tax next April. ...

... the bill doesn’t include a way to make up for the lost revenue — $51 billion for the one-year reprieve, an amount roughly equal to the annual budgets of the Departments of Energy, Justice and Interior. To make up the shortfall, the government plans to borrow the money, which will have to be paid back later with interest, either by raising taxes or reducing government services. ...

America’s middle-class and upper-middle-class taxpayers are being shielded from the alternative tax today, but they and their children will pay the cost tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
No. They won't have to pay, and neither will most everybody else. The solution to paying for the tax cut is simple: Raise taxes on cigarettes. It's easy and painless and fair. California has plans to pay for much of a universal health care plan by levying an additional $1.50 a pack. And Congress will, as soon as possible, up the Federal tax by 60 cents for expanded S-CHIP. And if it hurts smokers, well, they're a pariah group, so who cares?

A sensible approach is for the federal government to increase the tax cigarettes at $15 a pack, and states apply a $5 increase. Add in the basic cost of product, manufacturing, and delivery, and you're looking at a retail price $25 a pack or a mere $1.25 for each cigarette. The typical smoker would then pay $6,000 a year in cigarette taxes and be a solid source of revenue, what with so many being addicted and all.


Higher taxes will cause more people to stop smoking. When cancer sticks reached $2.70 a pack in 1999 or 2000 (I lived in Idaho at the time), I gave them up. I can't imagine anyone paying more than $3 a pack. When I started on coffin nails in 1977, I could buy two packs of Viceroys for a buck, with two cents change.

Knowing how hard it is to quit, I vowed not to become a self-righteous, militant anti-smoker. That didn't last long. I quit with help from the patch, and I've gotten several of my friends to quit the same way. The tobacco companies are merchants of death. Wouldn't bother me if higher taxes ran them all out of business.

I'm an advocate of a national sales tax on all goods and services, while keeping the current tax structure in place. Spreads the burden around, and the rate wouldn't have to be very high, provided we stopped wasting hundreds of billions of dollars waging unnecessary wars and financing war profiteers. It'll never happen, though, not in this age of Republican borrow-and-spend policies. The only thing worse is the apparent looneytarian belief that if we all stopped paying taxes there's no reason to worry, because money to pay the public bills would just fall out of the sky like manna from heaven. I'll never understand those looneytarian dingalings.

By Anonymous Screamin' Demon, at 12/24/2007 12:17 PM  

Back in the 80s the drug legalization folk were trying to convince the cigarette smokers that helping legalize marijuana was in their long term interest; that if they didn't defend other people's rights to smoke other drugs, they would eventually lose their right to smoke cigarettes.

The smoking lobbies rebuffed them -- after all, their drug was legal and it was unimaginable that cigarettes would be outlawed ...

The first marijuana laws weren't prohibition laws -- they were taxation laws.

Who's right?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/24/2007 3:07 PM  

My brother-in-law spent some time this year in Canada on business, and was shocked to find that a pack(not a carton, a PACK) was about 20$ US.

By Anonymous The Dark Avenger, at 12/25/2007 4:51 PM  

I spent some time in Canada this year as well. I was shocked to find that a King size triple whopper with cheese meal was more than ten dollars.

Some things in Canada are just expensive :D

By Blogger J.Goodwin, at 12/26/2007 7:26 PM  

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