Free The Smoker Whatever!

This is getting abusive.

As a mostly former smoker, which is to say we spend 22 hours a day not smoking, the hardworking staff must protest the latest surge in repressive taxation of the specially nicotined.

Start with the current Massachusetts revenue-raising scheme, as reported by the Boston Globe:

murrayMass. gets scaled-back transportation plan

Top lawmakers offer $500m finance program with narrower aims than Patrick’s $1.9b agenda

Beacon Hill leaders Tuesday announced a $500 million transportation finance plan that would raise gas, tobacco, and business-related taxes to put the MBTA and regional bus systems on firmer financial footing, but does not fund any of the ambitious transit projects put forth by Governor Deval Patrick . . .

The House-Senate plan calls for raising the state gas tax by 3 cents, and indexing the rate to inflation beginning in 2015, to bring in $110 million a year. That increase, legislators said, would cost the average driver $12 to $30 per year. Taxes would be increased on cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco to raise an additional $165 million annually.

Most notably, a $1-per-pack increase in the cigarette excise tax.

Now cut to the national scene, via the Wall Street Journal:

Smokers Burned in Revenue Hunt

The White House, hunting for new ways to raise tax revenue without again increasing income-tax rates, said it would seek significant new tobacco levies and limits on large retirement-savings accounts . . .

The boost in federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products would fund a new initiative for pre-kindergarten education for lower-income children that President Barack Obama announced earlier.

As usual with tobacco tax hikes, it’s all about the kids.

But, really, why do smokers – many of whom, as the Journal points out, are “at the lower end of the income scale” – have to bear the burden of funding these goo-goo initiatives?

Why not drinkers, for example?

(Fun fact to know and tell: In 2007, excise tax increases on cigarettes totaled $3 billion. Excise tax increases on alcohol? $3 million.)

The answer is simple: 80% of Americans don’t smoke, so they couldn’t give a damn how much smokers are shaken down.

But, by that logic, how about a tax on lefthanders, who constitute about 10% of the American population?

Even better, how about a different kind of sin tax?

Maybe a syntax.

Fine the grammatically challenged one dollar for every misplaced modifier, sentence fragment, or split infinitive.

That would wipe out the national debt in, oh, 48 hours.


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2 Responses to Free The Smoker Whatever!

  1. Bud Martin says:

    Thank God I’m heir to millions. Got a light, professor?

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