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Cigarette Tax Hike: Worthless, Exploitative, or both?

April 5th, 2009

Cigarette smoking is a disgusting habit; It smells bad, stains your teeth, damages your body, etc - But that doesn’t make increasing the tax on the habit a good idea. If we stop and look at the effects of increasing the tax on cigarettes we are left with only two possible outcomes; Neither of them are good and at least one of them is immoral. Of course, that didn’t stop our legislators.

People Finally Quit The Disgusting Habit That Is Killing Them

People are very cost sensitive right now and this could certainly happen. People could, in mass, stop smoking because they can no longer afford their 2 pack a day habit, or maybe they just cut back to 1 pack a day. Either way, though, the result here is that the government won’t make much extra money through increasing these taxes because they will have less people paying the tax. This makes it a silly policy that has no reason for existing.

People Won’t Be Able To Kick It

I believe this is what our government is anticipating. It is the only way in which this policy decision makes sense. So, in this scenario the government will make more money, good for them. However, that way in which the government is exploiting it’s citizenry’s physical addiction to a drug in order to milk them for more money is more disgusting than that picture of the blackened lung though show you in elementary school. Why do we put up with this? I think it is because most people don’t recognize it for the exploitative act that it is. It’s time we start educating them.

The Take Home Message

Here is the take home message. Obama isn’t reducing the taxes on the poor. He said he would, he said he wouldn’t increase any of the taxes they pay. Most people won’t call him on this because they won’t believe that the cigarette tax is the same type of thing he was talking about, and it’s probably not,  but how many people will recognize what this tax hike is really all about? I will, maybe you, the guy or gal reading political blogs in your free time, will also - but we are in the extreme minority.

All we need to do is to take a look at this chart from the NY Times that breaks down smoking across various income brackets. Once we recognize that the majority, by far, have an income below than the national household average. It’s easy to recognize that Obama and our legislators have reduced income taxes on the poor and increased a different tax they pay willingly (thanks to their addiction) in hopes that no one would notice.

Turning Around The Republican Party

People, especially blacks, have a tendency to think that the republican party wants to exploit them and that this is why some of us are against things like unions, minimum wage, etc. That might even be true for some Republicans but not for most. It’s time we start looking back through history and remember that the republican party had always, until the last few decades, been the black man’s party. The Republicans told blacks they could achieve anything they wanted if they worked hard. The Republicans told blacks they didn’t need to depend on the state to take care of them.

This is the message the republican party has to start getting out there. Republicans have to call out the Democrats on this kind of crap legislation - they will also have to call out a few of it’s their own on this issue. And every other issue like it. We have to start calling out Democrats on bad legislation, hanging republicans that vote for it out to dry, and stop the stupid partisan whining about the unimportant things. Mostly, we need to regain the trust of the American people.

  1. April 14th, 2009 at 11:05 | #1

    Ugh…another Republican who speculates. Look, most blacks do NOT rely on the state for help. If you did your research, you would realize that the majority of people who are seeking public assistance are single white women. Same goes for affirmative action. And the major reason behind this is because most people cannot make ends meet, with or without kids. Why not have the state help with food or utilities. Now, I realize that people do depend on the state a bit too much. But this is the exception, rather than the rule.

    JD’s last blog post..Discrimination in the Hospitality Industry

  2. April 14th, 2009 at 12:26 | #2

    “majority of people who are seeking public assistance are single white women” - that’s because there are more white women. that doesn’t mean that as a percentage many blacks don’t rely on the state.

    “Why not have the state help with food or utilities.”

    because it is not my job to take care of you or anyone else. it is my job to take care of me.

    And you should probably do a little less assuming, the author of the article is not a Republican, he merely mentioned things that the party needs to do to become relevant again.

  3. April 14th, 2009 at 18:59 | #3

    A) am not a republican.
    B) didn’t say blacks were depending on the state. Only that the republican message has always been that they didn’t need to.
    C) am black.

    Moreover, the fact that single white mothers may be the largest NUMBER of users for a particular social program is irrelevant. It’s a matter of percentages. Poverty, and therefore eligibility for these programs, strikes a much larger PERCENTAGE of African Americans, and minorities as a whole, than it does whites. There may be 20 million white women using a social service and only 10 million black women. There are only 40 million blacks in America though, and 230 million whites.

    The actual numbers, from a site often cited by people trying to make this point is:
    White 38.8%
    Black 37.2

    There exists a pretty glaring problem here since blacks only make up about 13% of the population…

    But that’s not the point. The point is that larger percentage of blacks are living in poverty than whites.

  4. JD
    April 15th, 2009 at 16:11 | #4

    a) The white population, according to the 2008 census, was 199.1 million, not 230 million.
    b) Explain how people can take care of themselves if they have been laid off and have no means of income WITHOUT delving into things illegal. Would you tell the 37+ million people in this country, mainly children, that go hungry every day?
    c) Public assistance only constitutes 1% of the nation’s budget, whereas defense and other things make up a larger portion. Secondly, social security and gov’t subsidies that they give out to corporations and corporate farms are also considered public assistance. Why no outrage there?
    d) Why are a larger percentage of blacks living in poverty than whites?
    3) “viewpoint” should have been inserted somewhere

  5. April 15th, 2009 at 17:10 | #5

    I don’t think you’ve been reading this site very long if you haven’t detected our outrage at all gov’t subsidies. Including corporate subsidies, bailouts, corporate tax breaks, the ridiculous levels of defense spending, etc.

    I’ll take care of children with my Tax dollars, but not adults. I don’t want to hear about their lay-offs - I passed 12 places that were hiring on my way home from work today. Jobs exist. You might not make as much as you did at your old job - You might need a second job - You might need to cut back.. but jobs exist.

    Also - You only make yourself sound stupid when you say things like, “2006 census” There was no census in 2006. There was a census in 2000 and there will be one in 2010. The ‘2006 numbers’ you quoted from Wikipedia are an estimate based on the last census which includes projected growth. Much as the 230 million figure would include the expected growth to date.

    Why are a larger number of blacks living in poverty? That’s a completely different issue which is caused by number of factors ranging from the fact that blacks started out 200+ years behind in their ability to increase the station of their families when compared to whites. Extreme ethnocentrism hurts the black community and it’s members ability to adapt to the greater culture. Poverty tends to beget more poverty. The list goes on and on. But none of that is relevant to this article.

  6. JD
    April 15th, 2009 at 17:16 | #6

    I make myself sound stupid? Well, excuse me. And what happened to not making assumptions? I got my numbers from this website: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/011910.html

    you know, the census website. And, according to the CENSUS website, my statistics were released in 2008. I should have said population statistics, rather than census.

    No, I have not been on this website for very long. However, from my experience, people who tend to last out against public assistance tend to be completely ignorant of where their money is actually going.

    I never said that the reasons for black poverty were relevant to the article. I just merely wanted your opinion.

  7. JD
    April 15th, 2009 at 17:17 | #7

    Also, I was referred to this site.

  8. JD
    April 15th, 2009 at 17:18 | #8

    Also, I highly doubt that the white population would grow 40 million in a matter of three years, assuming that I got my sources from “Wikipedia” (which I didn’t) and from 2006 (which I didn’t)

  9. April 15th, 2009 at 17:34 | #9

    JD, thanks for the great discussion. I really enjoy debating the issues. As far as the population goes, I suspect the number is closer to the 200 mil but we’ll find out next year. Suffice it to say though the point is there are MANY more whites than blacks.

    As far as taking care of people when they are laid off, that is way people shouldn’t be going into huge amounts of debt that they can’t afford, and should save an emergency fund that can last until they find another job.


    And they should work like crazy to find another job. I have no problem helping people out for a short period of time, but I have a huge problem with people who “live off the system”

  10. April 15th, 2009 at 17:36 | #10

    Sorry - I thought that said 2006 - and those are the exact estimated numbers Wikipedia lists for 2006. Which I’m guessing is what that census article is actually talking about - 2006 estimates released in 2008? Mostly this doesn’t matter. Point is, we don’t actually know how many people are in the US of any ethnicity because the census is broken AND we haven’t done one since 2000.

    Even if we use the 221 mill number, it still shows that a higher percentage of the black community is currently using various state sponsored assistance than the white population. When I referred to blacks in the article it was not to single them out. The fact is that minorities make up a larger percentage of the people in poverty, especially in urban centers, than whites.

    This is for a number of different reasons I think. What are your ideas? Why are so many minorities poverty stricken and how do we fix it? I don’t think it is a result of active racism. I think a lot of it is just the remaining fallout of historical racism that will take some time to recover from. I also think some of it is self inflicted because of the walls minority communities erect around themselves (psychologically and culturally) thinking they are protecting themselves when all they do is make outsiders feel alienated and make it harder for their children to relate well to the more ‘corporate’/white/upperclass (whatever you’d like to call it) culture.

  11. JD
    April 16th, 2009 at 10:14 | #11

    Clarky–thank you. I love engaging in debate without the name calling that is so prevalent in this country. I don’t mind helping out people, either, as long as they are working hard to find a job. This is dear to me because as I’ve stated before, most people seek assistance because they have either been laid off, downsized, or their jobs are not providing enough, and they are worried about providing for their children. HOWEVER, I hate going to the supermarket and seeing people flash their EBT cards as if it were a platinum credit card or something.

    I also agree with starting up an emergency fund (something I’m currently working on). In Asian and European countries, they tend to save more than spend. I think people were just so sure that the economy would just keep getting better and better so they wouldn’t have to worry about saving because credit would always be there.

  12. JD
    April 16th, 2009 at 10:22 | #12

    T.J.–I would have to disagree with the subject of active racism, though I must say I don’t think it’s the bigger issue–just read “Black and White on Wall Street” by Joseph Jett. I have noticed that since moving to NYC, I have been turned down for certain jobs based on my voice. Over the phone, I sound “pleasant” and “white,” but once I set foot inside an office or any building, it’s a completely different story. However, I don’t let it stop me from my ultimate goal, which is to achieve success so that I (possibly) help out the community.

    That being said, I agree with pretty much everything else that you have said. Because I chose to focus more on homework and studying rather than partying in school, I have been labeled as a “whitey” or an “Oreo.” Because I want to live in a neighborhood that’s less noisy, with less trash on the grounds, that makes me a sell out.

    I do believe it’s more of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Yes, there is racism out there in the world. Anyone who would say otherwise is completely ignorant. However, instead of doing something about it, many people just sit around and mope about how the white man is evil. Why not use that energy into something more productive? But if I point this out to people, I’m accused of “siding with them,” which doesn’t make any sense, considering many black leaders have echoed my same sentiments.