Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nanny state mentality vs economic realities

Australia had a meeting of the health minds... and left to their own devices, they concocted a plan for their utopian future for Australians' future generations...


1: anyone born after 2008 would be banned from buying cigarettes

2: junk food would be taxed

3: everyone in the nation would be mandated to take a fitness test by 2020

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said one idea put forward in a submission was an annual national fitness test where citizens would receive a financial incentive if they pass.

Health stream participants in the 2020 summit also discussed increasing public education about how death can be a "positive experience" to avoid patients panicking when they reach hospital emergency departments.

Health participant, Meredith Sheil, a former Westmead Children's Hospital pediatrician, said many participants had suggested a ban on cigarette sales by 2020.

"A lot of the health submissions suggested a ban on smoking by 2020," she said.

"You would say, 'OK, from now on everybody born after 2008, you are not allowed to sell cigarettes (to)'."

The brillant minds figured that they can make healthy food cheaper by taxing junk food. Might I point out that increasing one food substance over another with higher taxes is NOT not reducing prices of "healthy" food. It's just makes one yet more expensive. It's all relative by comparison.

But right when you think it can't get worse for intrustive Aussie government legislation, it does. They also talked of "sharing patient medical records nationally, to allow a hospital in a regional area to effectively treat an inner-city patient."

Uh... has anyone noted the increased hackers' abilities of late?? That's what we'd all like... putting a database of health records online to invite hackers. Uh huh...

So why would we care about what some nanny wackos in Australia think? Well, there's few socialists that have a lick of originality in their blood. So if one nation goes that route, another nation - most especially a generation of Obamabots - might also eye the same path. Needless to say, the American smoker has been a national pariah for some time now. And we're in the midst of an election where the leading DNC candidates are jumping all over themselves to promise universal health care. That funding has to come from somewhere.

But what about the economic realities of this utopian world of non-smokers?

In a simple word... disasterous. But only until they can find another group of Americans to transfer the tax loss to.

Let's start with just how much individual states rake in from those they so love to demonize. A quick glance at this
Jan 2008 chart with the amount of tax cents PER PACK of cigarettes gives you a sober reality check. Mind you... this doesn't include the local county or city taxes that can also be added.

The 51st lowest (they count DC as an add'l district/state in the stats) is South Carolina at 7 cents per pack. They are followed by the lowest tax rate by Missouri and Mississippi at 17 and 18 cents per pack respectively. Kentucky and Virginia are tied at 30 cents a pack. Followed by Florida at 33.9 cents per pack. Seven states in all with 34 cents per pack or under in state taxes.

By contrast, the big three are New Jersey (257.5 cents per pack), Rhode island at 246 cents per pack, and Washington State with 202.5 cents per pack.

In all 51 state/DC districts, 25 have at least $1 per pack tax rates. Six more range between 80 to 99 cents per pack.

When you combine the highest state/local tax combination, look no further than Obama's home town, Chicago... a whopping $3.66 per pack total.

Facts are, according to
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids: via CNS News:

43 states and the District of Columbia have increased cigarette taxes since January 1, 2002, more than doubling the average state cigarette tax from 43.4 cents to $1.073 a pack

Yes folks... targeting the despicable smoker in the nation is big and easy business. No one cares if they raise taxes on smokers, save those low life smokers themselves. Afterall, they're subhumans that care little for their bodies.

The point? There's unbelievably big bucks in each state's budget that's absconded only from smokers. And if you eliminate them, just what do you think the state legislators are going to do? Cut back on their budgets?

If you do, there's most definitely a bridge to nowhere that's just awaiting your offer to purchase.

Fact is there's a rush by many states to fund socialized health care using tobacco funds. They increase the taxes per packs (even more than now), and put the extra cash against the state funds for the program. There's a similar analogy to high gas prices and taxes. But let's not confuse the issue on just who is actually raking in the cash on high fuel prices...

But back to tobacco. The devil in the details behind SCHIPs legislation had much to do with tobacco tax revenue. And according to the Heritage Foundation, states were facing a budget loss of at least $1 million annually, with 17 states facing over $10 mil in tax revenue. It was worse under the Senate version... $1.4 mil annually, with half the states losing over $10 mil annually. California, Ohio and Pennsylvania would lose over $50 mil.

Increasing the tax to support new and ever more expensive programs, combined with the peer pressure to stop smoking, is a recipe for economic disaster. One increases demands for revenue while the other results in less smokers to provide that newly needed revenue. So much for that socialized health program funding. Now where do they turn? DOH! There's no hiding from the money grubbing elected official.

But it doesn't end there. What about that dreaded "big tobacco" industry itself - almost as much a demon as "big oil" in today's society? Those tobacco companies not only employ 100s of thousands of Americans, but they also are frequently backers for state bonds. What happens to all those newly unemployed for a non-smoking world? Let's not forget the farmers now out of a marketable crop. Thus you will notice most of the low tax per pack states tend to be states that have vast tobacco farms.

Last but not least, what happens to the bonds when the sources backing them are no longer in business?

But let's not just stop there. How about our trade deficit? A real "hot button" in today's 2008 prez campaign.

According to a
1997 report from the Friends of Tobacco... a name I'm sure most will find not so endearing:

The output of cigarettes from U.S. factories was 725.6 billion. Of the total, 11.5 billion cigarettes were shipped to overseas forces, including Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions and 220 billion to other countries.

From 1993 to the 1997 report, there was a $2.9 billion decline in tobacco purchases. We're already losing cash from the smoking subhuman.... how much more can we do without it affecting all the healthy denizens in their wallets?

Yet the US is only #2 in the tobacco producing world. The first? China, of course... producing 2.3 times more than the US. I doubt they will be prodded into feel good health legislation anytime soon.

Too few think of the repercussions of legislation on economics. And that includes those entrusted with writing and passing that legislation - Congress. They won't be reducing their spending any time soon - regardless of which side of the aisle they occupy. So when the money dries up, they merely look for new and more inventive ways to make up the difference on everyone.

The lesson to be learned is... love your fellow neighbor smoker. And don't forget to say thank you! He/she is keeping the US economic merry-go-round fueled, and keeping the taxes of the non-smoker low. The day you force them to adhere to your health standards is a day your pocketbook will rue forever.

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