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Tobacco and Taxes

October 21, 2009

Glenn Beck’s article “What If Americans Didn’t Pay Their Taxes?” is genius. Well no, not genius, just common sense! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Obviously people have but I’ve rarely seen it explicated so simply yet potently and slipped past the media filter.


I’d like to tell a story about taxes here in Seattle.


In Seattle I am participating through my “citizen buying power” (what limited I have) in what you are describing. I smoke cigarettes; have since I was 15. It’s a nasty habit and I’m gradually quitting but it’s a tough addiction. You know, it’s funny, if the government really wanted people to quit, tobacco tax revenues would go not only to smoking prevention but to smoking cessation. Why are the two stop-smoking staples – nicotine gum and nicotine patches – so expensive? Why? They should be given away for free if the government were truly serious about stopping people smoking. This is part of what I find so disgustingly hypocritical. So I guess they’ve got us just where they want us, huh? Yup. It’s sick.


I got laid off from my job in February 2009 and have been unemployed since. How can I afford to spend $7 a pack? Well, I can’t afford to spend $7 or $8 a pack, and neither can thousands of other Washingtonians who are saddled with outrageous, oppressive tobacco taxes.


Limited-income folks who smoke tobacco used to be able to get by with just buying rolling tobacco – Class J tobacco – but after the ’08 elections the taxes suddenly hiked around 200%. I could not effing believe it, but there it was. No more cigarettes for you! bad doggie!


So you are aware of Seattle’s Chinatown – well there is now a (relatively) booming market there – at under 50% the normal U.S. price – for imported Marlboros, just southeast of downtown and Pioneer Square. I’ve been waiting for the authorities to crack down on this squandering of their revenue source (and a precious federal and local revenues source it is) but so far so good.


Maybe Chinese smugglers are making a profit here but then again so is Philip Morris, an American co. with lots of American shareholders and employees so there is good and bad. 


Point is, taxes are becoming an ever-more oppressive, intrusive act of economic violence against the American people and I will do everything I can to push back.


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