By Alan Caruba
Among those whom I detest the most in this world are people who insist that they know better than I what I should eat, drink and smoke. Whenever they get in a position of power, they cannot wait to impose higher taxes on everything I enjoy and, by extension, things that millions of other Americans enjoy as well.
Part of the history of the long Great Depression was an endless success of excise taxes on anything that gave people a bit of pleasure in those dreadful years between 1929 and 1941. For example, you couldn’t go to the movies without paying a tax on your ticket. In a pre-television era movies were one of the few escapes available to working folk along with cigarettes and the neighborhood saloon.
Excise (use) taxes on various commodities are sometimes also called “sin” taxes. Booze has long been subject to them, but a big chunk of the cost of every gallon of gasoline is also subject to an excise tax. A further hidden tax is the requirement to include ethanol whose production is subsidized by the government.
We are seeing so many of the errors and abuses of the Great Depression era repeated that it is testimony to the adage that those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat it.
My grandfather smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and lived into his 90s. My late Father smoked a pipe and I have smoked cigars for decades. My Father lived into his early 90s with no ill effects and unlike a lot of my more health-conscious friends I am in my seventh decade. The only exercise I get these days is as a pall-bearer at their funerals.
You might well imagine I was less than thrilled to read a headline saying, “Tobacco tax to increase nearly 160% this week.” Yes, by all means let’s punish people who actually enjoy smoking. By now the long campaign to demonize smokers and to attack the tobacco industry in general has opened the door to allow the do-gooders to impose a draconian tax for the purpose of funding yet another federal entitlement program to the others that are going belly up.
As the Associated Press put it, “Tobacco taxes are soaring to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children. President Obama signed that health initiative soon after taking office.” One assumes that smokers may be thinking of voting Republican in the 2010 midterm elections.
Any time you hear, “It’s for the children” reach for your wallet because it is about to get thinner and anything you enjoy will become more costly.
I, myself, will vote for any Republican candidate for any office, including those with four legs, prehensile tails, and feathers if they will promise to bring a stop to the destruction of the nation’s economy and a restoration of Constitutional limits.
A government that can tax the simple pleasure of smoking to extinction can and will tax anything people enjoy and even things that they need to function. What possible sense does it make to import some 60% of the oil we require despite vast reserves that remain off limits to our use, thanks to a long succession of Congresses?
The government long ago set its face against the exploration and extraction of any source of energy the nation requires. No drilling. No mining. No new coal-fired plants for electricity. And when was the last time a new nuclear power plant was built? Billions for ethanol! Billions for solar and wind! Billons for hybrid cars no wants to drive!
Obama has decided he knows how to manage our auto industry. There’s endless blather that people need to use mass transit, but in New York City the cost of using the subway or bus system will soon rival hiring a limousine to take one to and from work.
Nothing the government puts it hand to has ever made a profit, nor functions well.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is printing more money and rendering the existing supply increasingly worthless. Don’t blame the bankers. They have no idea what new crazed demand the government will impose on them next week. Don’t blame the retailers. They are busy liquidating their assets and laying off workers.
One of the reasons why everything costs more and why lighting up a cigarette will become a luxury are government entitlement programs combined with proposed government regulation that threatens to include the most essential gas on Earth, carbon dioxide, vital to the growth of all vegetation and all life. If Obama could tax oxygen, he would.
The real change Obama will bring to life in America was mirrored by life in the former Soviet Union where much of the population drank vodka every day just to dull the pain of communism.
It will likely take the generations that have passed through the socialist indoctrination of our nation’s school systems since the 1960s a long time to finally wake up to the realization that the rising cost of everything is the only “change” that Obama has to offer.
We can only hope they will not let themselves be duped into turning their children over to “volunteer” programs or even a vast internal “security” militia because, if they do, it will mark the end of freedom in America.
America already puts more people in jail every week than any other nation on Earth. The concentration camps that Rep. Alcee Hastings wants to build are just one step away from the bad old days of Auschwitz.