Monday, March 30, 2009

Tax the Rich, Tax the Poor, and Lie About It

President Obama who promised only to tax the "rich" (as he defines it) is now dictating the largest federal tobacco tax increase ever. Everyone knows that such a tax hits poorer people far more than the middle class or rich people. New York Times, do you care that poor people are taxed much more than rich people? At least his tobacco tax won't go into the hands of trial lawyers. Now get this, Obama's "stimulative" Make Work Pay gives eight bucks a week to workers (and CEOs alike I guess) which will be burned up in a two packs a day smoker's lungs. So Mr. Obama thanks for stimulative cigarette smoking and burning the poor guy, ince slightly more than half of today's smokers (53%) earn less than $36,000 per year.
(Article in The Wall Street Journal, Monday, March 30, 2009, page B5:)

WASHINGTON -- Tobacco users are facing a big financial hit as the largest federal tobacco tax increase ever takes effect Wednesday.
Tobacco companies and public-health advocates, longtime foes in the nicotine battles, are each trying to turn the situation to their advantage. Major cigarette makers raised prices in recent weeks, partly to offset any drop in profits once the per-pack tax climbs from 39 cents to $1.01. Medical groups, meanwhile, see a tax increase in the middle of a recession as a great incentive for smokers to quit.
President Barack Obama signed a health initiative soon after taking office to increase the tobacco taxes to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children. Other tobacco products, from cigars to pipes and smokeless tobacco, will also see similarly large tax increases. For example, the tax on chewing tobacco will go from 19.5 cents per pound to 50 cents. The total expected to be raised over the 4½ year health-insurance expansion is nearly $33 billion.
Separately, Congress is considering legislation to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. That could lead to reformulated cigarettes. President Obama, who has struggled with his own cigarette habit, said he would sign such a bill.
Prospects for reducing the harm from smoking are better than they have been in years, said Dr. Timothy Gardner, president of the American Heart Association. "Every time that the tax on tobacco goes up, the use of cigarettes goes down," he said.

And speaking of taxes. Today is April 15, 2009. Tax Day. Let's see I have, of course, read the 70,320 pages (up 2-1/2 times, or 44,020 pages from 1984) that is almost 4 million words (up from 1.4 million in 2001!) and spent nearly the average 24 hours on the 1040 and related schedules...well, no, as with 60% of Americans I hired it out. The total cost: $90 billion a year. No, that's not just me, it's everyone. Now simplification so the average person knows what he is paying on, how much and where it goes. The flat-rate tax? The consumption tax? No so fast, say the politicians. Now I can reap campaign cash for making or only threatening to change the tax code. Why should I change that gravy train? And they don't. Extortion, you say?

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