Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Next Terrorist Tool: Tobacco

In my daily travels up and down the freeway I have a lot of time to think about things. The local AM talk radio provides plenty of entertaining and thought-provoking topics to work from.

The other day one of the topics du jour was the latest proposal to add yet another tax on cigarettes for some bleeding-heart cause or other. Now I never met a tax I didn't hate, and I'm allergic to tobacco, so I *can't* smoke, and butt-tossers I see get reported to the state police, but that's not the point here. The net result, if I recall correctly of this latest attempt at organized socialist plunder, would be to make the cancer sticks cost around $6.50 per pack.

I also seem to recall a news article back in 2000 about a black-market cigarette ring running semis full of the stuff from the plants in North Carolina up to tobacco-tax-happy Michigan, where they'd hit the streets without the enormous taxes. The ring? Hezbollah. I kid you not.

The short form of that was tax policy was creating funding opportunities for terrorism, even before 9/11. Even shorter, we've been taxing ourselves into terrorism.

Is that f***ed up or what?

The anti-tobacco Nazis, a mix of anti-Big Business, environmental whackos, health nuts, and other neo-liberal fanatics, have figured out that if they can't criminalize tobacco (see under Prohibition for the clear example of how successful *that* is!) then the next best thing is to tax it right out of its market. (Kind of reminds me of gas prices right now, but that's another post for another day.)

Nice strategy, isn't it? Use the taxing power of the state to regulate personal behavior and hide behind sob stories about it being "for public health", "for the environment", "for seniors", or the perpetual here-we-go-again, "for the children". And the sheeple fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Me, I roll my eyes, because it immediately fails the smell test.

Well, it seems to me that if you can't beat them, join them. Some of my libertarian friends might find this to be nothing short of treasonous, but they aren't seeing my tongue tucked firmly in my cheek as I type this. So in the spirit of the ludicrousness that inspires these scams, here's some more:

1. A political BS tax of $50 per bogus, laughable, or any other obviously inane comment made by an elected politician or aspiring candidate. Proceeds to pay off the national debt. If implemented, I expect the debt to be paid off by lunchtime the first day....

2. A grafitti tax of $5 per letter, $10 if it's unreadable or misspelled. Proceeds to clean up the mess. If implemented, most of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Oakland would get a complete fresh coat of paint, and the railroads could upgrade their fleet to something that doesn't block the crossings at the inopportune moments I happen to be there...

3. A pet tax of $5 per animal. Proceeds to the Animal Liberation Front to support their terrorist activities when they blow up their next animal shelter or medical research lab working to cure cancer or AIDS.

4. A stupid tax of 1 cent per person per incident. Tax is assessed whenever someone does something stupid, oblivious, or pathetic that is acknowledged by either the perpetrating moron (usually seen by smacking themselves in the forehead) or by observers (usually seen cussing out the perpetrating moron). Proceeds to fund the public schools, because when the source of the problem is identified, the government solution is to throw more money at it--the government definition of insanity. This one will be self-perpetuating...

You get the drift...behind almost every tax is a stupid idea presented as some feel-good, warm-fuzzy snake-oil idea. A giftwrapped turd is still a turd. Unless it's a cigar, then someone will try to tax it.

A turd tax? Perish the thought! What a remarkably redudnant and crappy idea!

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