Tobacco and "sin" taxes continue to rise: a small battle in the ongoing assault on freedom

TRACKSIDE © by John D’Aloia Jr.

April 1, 2003

The anti-war protestors are being egged on and organized by communists, trying to undermine our society, but in the lingo of the day, there are fascists amongst us. Who? - the anti-smoking Nazis who take it upon themselves to be The Guardians for those who, knowing full well the dangers, still choose to light up. (Pssst - it is called freedom.)

Enticing politicians with visions of added tax revenues, the anti-smoking Nazis have been campaigning across the country to sock it to smokers with higher taxes, significantly higher taxes. The smoking opponents hold up rosy pictures of added wealth pouring into the tax coffers. Now comes a study of the impacts when New York City raised the tax on cigarettes from $0.08 per pack to $1.50 per pack.

The Small Business Survival Committee published a 57-page case study of the tax increase impacts. SBSC President Darrell McKigney summarized the results thus: "Our findings show New York City’s tobacco tax increase has been a complete disaster. Almost 90% of small businesses that sell tobacco have been hurt by the tax increase. In return for the enormous damage inflicted on NYC small businesses, the tax increase has resulted in less than half the revenue projected for NYC, a huge net loss in NY State revenues, and put thousands of people out of work. And in spite of the stated aims of the tax increase proponents, most smokers say they aren’t consuming less. They’re just finding new sources to avoid the tax."

Is this just an east coast phenomenon that has no application elsewhere? You know it is not, that it reflects an intrinsic human trait.

How many purchase decisions have you made based on the availability of a better price somewhere else in the market place, or on the ability to avoid a tax?

You should not feel bad about doing it, it is a perfectly legal and moral choice. A July 2002 Associated Press article uncovered in the archives shows that the cost-avoidance phenomenon exists right here in fly-over country. The author described the reaction of both retailers and smokers to the increase in cigarette taxes by the 2002 Kansas legislature.

On the day the law took effect, one Kansas retailer opened a store just across State Line Road in Missouri and reported that it did not take long for Kansas smokers to make the short drive to save significant dollars per carton - and another $1.00 per carton when the tax jumped again on January 1 this year. Similar reports came from eastern Missouri, where retailers were benefiting from the jump in cigarette taxes in Illinois. It may not be worth a 57-page study, but it would be interesting to know whether anticipated receipts from the Kansas cigarette tax increase are being realized.

The skirmishes over tobacco are but small battles in the war declared by the Guardians to eliminate our constitutional republic and impose a socialistic state (socialism and communism are just different brands of the same product, a tyranny in which the few live well off the misery of many.)

No matter the "ism," the result is the same, the elimination of freedom. On January 1 of this year, Alan Caruba, founder of The Anxiety Center, published in "eco-logic," an on-line newsletter, a list of "The Ten Greatest Threats to Freedom."

The march to socialism was number 10; number one was the Islamic jihad which he characterized as "... a genocidal policy toward the world’s Jews and seeks to impose Islam on Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and all other faiths.

It reflects an interpretation of Islam that requires conquest and authorizes violence in pursuit of its goals." Other items on Caruba’s list of threats to freedom have been frequent TRACKSIDE topics: the United Nations’ attempt to usurp our sovereignty, the ecofacists attacking our economy and our defense community, the failed government education system, and the attack on property rights.

The remaining four threats he lists are the war on drugs, the use of the legal system to wreck financial havoc in entire industries, the power of non-government organizations to influence government actions without any accountability, and the failure to protect our borders.

In the preface to his list, Caruba expressed a fear that Americans cherish their freedoms, but take freedom for granted, inferring that they are asleep at the switch when it comes to defending their rights.

Give his fear some thought. Apply his concern to the events of the day, to the laws passed by our elected representatives, to the media headlines, to every attempt by government to dictate to you how you must live your life and what you must believe. In so many facets of our society, his concern is well-founded. Freedom is slipping away.

See you Trackside.


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