The wages of sin (taxes) again

posted at 10:05 am on October 6, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Ah, politicians and their sin taxes. It’s like kids with big bags of candy the day after Halloween… they just can’t help themselves. When they want to raise revenues but fear the wrath of the voters, the surest path to some quick cash has traditionally been taxing “bad things” which will raise the least objections from the populace. (Why they don’t simply outlaw these things if they are so “bad” is never explained.) But does it actually produce the desired effect of bringing more money into the government’s coffers?

This experiment has been running for some time now in Cook County, on the outskirts of Chicago. Intrepid county politicians decided to cash in on the sin tax craze back in 2006, going after smokers by tacking on a fee of ten cents per cigarette. (Or two dollars per pack.) This has had some predictable, if disappointing results.

In 2006, the county collected about $200 million in cigarette tax revenue, but that dropped to about $126 million last year.

“There’s probably some people who have given up smoking, but I don’t think that accounts for $74 million (less),” [Sheriff Tom] Dart said.

When you increase the tax burden sufficiently on anyone, some will abandon the activity, but for many others they will eventually find ways around it. In this case, both smokers and businesses have begun exploring the increasingly lucrative black market trade for smokes. So much so, in fact, that the county is now spending even more resources and money to chase down the scofflaws and pay out “snitch fees” for people to turn in their neighbors.

Chicago-area stores profiting from under-the-table cigarette sales may see that business plan go up in smoke.

That’s because Cook County is stepping up enforcement of its $2-a-pack cigarette tax, offering rewards of up to $1,000 to anyone whose information that a store is skirting the tobacco tax leads to arrests, county board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart announced Friday.

[...]

After beefing up the investigative arm of the county revenue department and bringing sheriff’s officers in to assist in recent weeks, the county has hit some stores with more than $400,000 in fines for those selling cigarettes under the tax radar. In all of 2010, $1.6 million in fines were levied.

So let me get this straight. By implementing a sin tax to bring more money in, you’ve managed to not only slash the amount of revenue you’re collecting nearly in half, but the taxpayers also have to lay out thousands of additional dollars to pay a bounty for folks to turn in neighborhood stores and residents? Plus, as a bonus, you’re hammering the small businesses in the area far more than any huge corporate behemoths.

Genius. I would say, “only in Chicago,” but sadly this is going on all over the country.

UPDATE: Our friend Steve Eggleston points out in the comments that Wisconsin is pulling a similar maneuver, cracking down on “roll your own” shops. With the massive price increases on commercial brands, many smokers have taken to purchasing loose tobacco and rolling papers / machines to produce their own at less than half the cost. The government is now apparently going after them as well to make sure no smoker goes unfleeced.

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In Chicago, they need to tax bribes. That’ll make up the difference.

RBMN on October 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM

I used to live in Elmira, NY, and it was identical there. The cigarette taxes were insane so people would just drive 20 minutes into Pennsylvania and stock up. Pennsylvania got the money from out-of-state buyers and New York got hit in the wallet.

Competition breeds success… Weird.

Washington Nearsider on October 6, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Nobody creates more crime than the government.

Government is the disease masquerading as its own cure.

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

By implementing a sin tax to bring more money in, you’ve managed to not only slash the amount of revenue you’re collecting nearly in half,

This is how a National Sales Tax will work also, even Herman Cain’s 999.

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Related – Wisconsin Department of Revenue targeting roll-your-own tobacco shops.

Steve Eggleston on October 6, 2011 at 10:13 AM

This is how a National Sales Tax will work also, even Herman Cain’s 999.

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Plus, people with incomes less than XX, age over XX, etc would be exempt in no time at all.

tomg51 on October 6, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Maryland played this game, and I’ve gone from spending over $50 a week (most of which was tax) to about $40 a month (none of which is tax). The thing about eCigarettes is that you can buy the parts, and assemble them. In most places, you can save $ on smoking by rolling your own, for the same reason — the high tax is on the finished product.
There’s an increasing number of people who grow their own.
Ain’t just the hillbillies what hate the revenuer-man.

TABoLK on October 6, 2011 at 10:17 AM

In 2006, the county collected about $200 million in cigarette tax revenue, but that dropped to about $126 million last year.

LOLOLOL

Hey, I know, let’s raise taxes even *more* to offset the decline in revenue! You know, to $3 or $4 per pack – that will fix it, right?

/sarcasm off

Ok, and now someone explain again why liberals are so catastrophically stupid as to not get this and want to continue doing the same damn stupid thing with every OTHER form of taxation as well, even when evidence shows repeatedly that it results in exactly the same thing as this situation??

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM

The explanation is a lot simpler than bootlegging. An extra $2 a pack makes it worthwhile for smokers to stock up in neighboring counties. Happens with every product everywhere near a significant tax difference across jurisdictions.

New Hampshire funds a significant portion of its state budget with out of state money by being on the low tax side of the equation.

cool breeze on October 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM

By implementing a sin tax to bring more money in, you’ve managed to not only slash the amount of revenue you’re collecting nearly in half,
This is how a National Sales Tax will work also, even Herman Cain’s 999.

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Yeah, this concerns me about a sales tax as well, though I admit I’ve not done much research into it.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Ok, and now someone explain again why liberals are so catastrophically stupid as to not get this and want to continue doing the same damn stupid thing with every OTHER form of taxation as well, even when evidence shows repeatedly that it results in exactly the same thing as this situation??

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Taxes aren’t about raising revenue. They are about control.

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Can you order cigarettes through the internet? When I was a teenager, a long long time ago, my dad would send me to North Carolina to take advantage of cheaper prices, for two dollars a pack I could see where a little ride might be a savings.

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I wonder if mail-order cigarette companies aren’t doing well nowadays, lol.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

And for whatever percentage have quit smoking, there should be a corresponding decrease in healthcare expenses…Right?

Larr on October 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Doesn’t the same thing happen when cities do the red light cameras?

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Taxes aren’t about raising revenue. They are about control.

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM

To an extent, perhaps. Government can exert control without taxation.

It’s also about revenue.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

They’re idiots.

forest on October 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Can you order cigarettes through the internet? When I was a teenager, a long long time ago, my dad would send me to North Carolina to take advantage of cheaper prices, for two dollars a pack I could see where a little ride might be a savings.

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Yep, google “mail order cigarettes”, hehe.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Heh…it gives proof to the old saying: A fist holds less than a gentle hand.

CPT. Charles on October 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM

In this case, both smokers and businesses have begun exploring the increasingly lucrative black market trade for smokes.

Yeah? Someone hook me up. My Parliament habit is getting expensive.

Vyce on October 6, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Fail.
Just fail.

Count to 10 on October 6, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Cindy – look at http://www.thenewspaper.com

They have a daily email about cases/events involving redlight cameras and the OVERWHELMING opposition to them….I never knew there was so much fraud..

Larr on October 6, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Almost as if the “purpose” of the tax wasn’t really to raise revenue….but to get neighbors ratting each other out and/or building a bigger police apparatus…? Are the lefties really as “stupid” as you think they are?

SwabJockey on October 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Don’t you wish we could just hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete sometimes…

golfmann on October 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Doesn’t the same thing happen when cities do the red light cameras?
Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

What do you mean?

Count to 10 on October 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM

This is a great problem to have.

ernesto on October 6, 2011 at 10:32 AM

$126M in revenues? Still? I would have thought it would a lot less than that. I’m a bit disappointed in the Illinois smokers. Put another check mark in the lost column of American Ingenuity.

Dusty on October 6, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Being raised by two chimneys nipped the possibility of that habit in the bud early on but I must say I am glad they can get around this. There is something underhanded about taxing something injurious but not having the guts to ban it. Between the taxes and geographical limitations put on smokers, they have been made second class citizens and that doesn’t square with me.

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Quite a few municipalities have gotten rid of the camera programs because they are costing the city more revenue than they earn. Most recently Los Angeles city council voted to do away with redlight cameras..

Larr on October 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Government can exert control without taxation.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Will smoking be permitted on the High Speed Trains to the re-education camps??

Naturally Curly on October 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

It gets more stupid.

At the federal level, SCHIP increased taxes on nearly every tobacco product, including rolling papers, paper tubes for roll your own, etc.

RYO tobacco tax increased from $1.09/lb to a whopping $24.78/lb. However, the tax on pipe tobacco only increased from $1.09/lb to $2.83/lb.

There is no difference, other than flavoring, between pipe tobacco and RYO cigarette tobacco. So, manufacturers reduced the flavorings, called RYO tobacco pipe tobacco and avoided the tax.

BacaDog on October 6, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Can you order cigarettes through the internet? When I was a teenager, a long long time ago, my dad would send me to North Carolina to take advantage of cheaper prices, for two dollars a pack I could see where a little ride might be a savings.

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I’m not sure if you can order over the Internet, but running tractor-trailers of cigarettes from the Carolinas to New York City was a lucrative Mob activity for decades.

This has probably been circumvented a bit, though, by tIndian reservations selling cigarettes exempt from state and local taxes. Just drive a few hours from NYC to the reservation, buy in bulk, and drive back.

teke184 on October 6, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Intersting..googled roll your own and went to look…websites are blocked by corporate fire-wall…

Saw a sign at gas station yesterday 44.50 for a carton of Marlboros…I remember 2.00 a carton to sell in our geedunk….

Larr on October 6, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Count to 10 on October 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Some cities install cameras at red lights so that they can ticket car owners if the car runs a red light, it doesn’t take long for the revenue to dry up and the service become a drain on budgets. There are varying reports on whether statistically it lowers fatalities. I know that Virginia Beach has installed them and than dismantled them a couple of times.

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:41 AM

The worst part is that entire social programs have become dependent on sin taxes, and when the revenue inevitably drops the pols decide to raise taxes somewhere else to recoup the shortfall.

Bishop on October 6, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Larr on October 6, 2011 at 10:29 AM

They hope they get people like my oldest son who made a legal right turn on red after a complete stop, they even had the video available to watch in case he wanted to contest it but of course it was easier just to pay the fine.

Cindy Munford on October 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Will smoking be permitted on the High Speed Trains to the re-education camps??
Naturally Curly on October 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Of course not, you need to be in good health before your daily beatings commence and you’re shoved into a mine to work, never again to see the light of day.

Bishop on October 6, 2011 at 10:44 AM

There is no difference, other than flavoring, between pipe tobacco and RYO cigarette tobacco. So, manufacturers reduced the flavorings, called RYO tobacco pipe tobacco and avoided the tax.

[BacaDog on October 6, 2011 at 10:35 AM]

Actually there is a difference in the cut. Pipe is closer to shag, and less of a ribbon, which has always been the case with the different uses. That is why the category is changed. Also, not all pipe tobacco is okay as a cigarette tobacco and you need to get the proper pipe tobacco.

Dusty on October 6, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Road trip!
I remember driving the 25 miles to Canada in college to purchase the 6+% Molson Brador malt liquor that wasn’t exported to the US. Add students to increase the allowable haul.

tomg51 on October 6, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Two reasons why a national sales tax, such as in Herman Cain’s 999 or the broader Fair Tax, won’t result in such behavior:

1. It’ll be national. The problem with a county/state doing this is that people who live there can go elsewhere pretty easily to avoid it.
2. Retail stores and other places that charge for services already collect sales tax. Any avoidence of sales tax has/is already occurring.

Also, the national sales tax only affects new purchases. While not applicable to tobacco the urge to avoid the tax will be lessoned by the fact that used goods can/will be sold national tax free.

Rufus on October 6, 2011 at 10:47 AM

To an extent, perhaps. Government can exert control without taxation.

It’s also about revenue.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

If it was only about revenue, they would lower taxes.

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The best part is these libs are proving the point that when you tax something you get less of it.

Heck, part of the stated reason for these taxes was to curb use of the tax target.

I guess in their world less millionaries would be better, even if that means less wealth overall.

reaganaut on October 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I would expect purchase of new items over the internet to be the next new tax, in states where it isn’t already taxed

tomg51 on October 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Most of the people I know still go to the Reservations to get their cigarettes, which is about a quarter of the cost at the corner store.

Dusty on October 6, 2011 at 10:51 AM

I don’t know… I mean, yes, the governments are stupid to be relying on this funding. If so, then they deserve what they get.

I’m in an odd situation: Utah. One of the most conservative states in the Union, also probably the least smoking state in the union. And high tobacco taxes. I don’t think we fund much of anything that relies on the taxes, though they are a nice bonus. Here, it’s genuinely an attempt to get people to stop smoking. But that’s a cultural thing for the state. I actually live in a small town and when I smell cigarette smoke it disgusts me (plus my daughter has asthmatic reactions to cigarette smoke, so I have to keep her away from it).

Taxing something means less of that something. I would love for smoking to just go away; there is no benefit to ingesting tobacco of any kind. The “calming of the nerves” bit that it has for people can be replaced by something else.

I personally would prefer all “sin taxes” to be dedicated to addiction recovery centers, etc. As for banning them just outright… that’s not possible, since too many people are still addicted to it. Get people off of the tobacco habit, and then we can ban it.

Look, those who smoke SHOULD quit! Or chew. There’s no reason to dump money down a drain, be unhealthy, addicted, etc. The same goes for all addictions, by the way. I personally don’t care about sin taxes, since I completely avoid them. It’s an easily avoidable tax. I don’t know why people just don’t give up the habit. I commend those who try to stop and have issues, that’s understandable. But people who are proud of their addictive, costly habit that is killing them and possibly those around them? Why?

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I thought we were all short of money…

If taxing something discourages it, why do they keep wanting to keep wanting to increase income taxes?

IlikedAUH2O on October 6, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Take it from me. Harnessing the power of the stupidity of the left, and how it pisses you off (along with a little Chantix ;-)) really can be enough motivation to kick the habit after 30 years.

1 year, 1 month, 4 days, 3 hours, and 13 minutes, but who’s counting.

MNHawk on October 6, 2011 at 10:57 AM

[MNHawk on October 6, 2011 at 10:57 AM]

Good for you. Congrats.

Dusty on October 6, 2011 at 11:03 AM

They’ve done the same with liquor. People near the state lines merely cross over to make their purchases. And Tribal Land and internet sales are also up.

Kalifornia gives a prime example. Meathead Reiner gets a proposition passed, establishing “California First Five”. It’s a program for “educational opportunities” for 1-5 year old children. Naturally, Meathead got appointed to Chair the “advisory board”. No cost to taxpayers. Just a 50 cent tax on each pack of cigarettes. And the money came pouring in. So much money, Meathead treated it as his own personal stash. When several more do-gooder liberal propositions were proposed, Meathead provided funds to push the propaganda … er …. infomercials to gain support for them. Of course none of those propositions had anything to do with “First Five issues”. When caught, Meathead lost his Chairmanship. Even the libs couldn’t cover his fat ass on that one. But he never saw the inside of a jail for malfeasance or misappropriation of public funds.

Now with the Kalifornia budget crunch, Moonbeam has no problem “borrowing” money from the “First Five Fund” to prop up the rest of the sagging budget. Any bets that those “borrowed funds” will ever be repaid?

GarandFan on October 6, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Plus these jurisdictions need to hire more cops and bureaucrats to chase down and process criminal claims, which means additional government employee union members. Moreover, thinks the left, it is always great to get a larger percentage of the population to violate the law, for that helps stamp out the old-fashioned, dead-white-men generated belief in the virtues of a society that respects and obeys laws.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 6, 2011 at 11:04 AM

But people who are proud of their addictive, costly habit that is killing them and possibly those around them? Why?

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Why can’t you just leave people alone and stop trying to tell them how to live their lives?

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Will smoking be permitted on the High Speed Trains to the re-education camps??
Naturally Curly on October 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

They’ve thought of that, and instead of individual cigs they will pump tobacco smoke into the cars. Breathe deep.

BobMbx on October 6, 2011 at 11:12 AM

But people who are proud of their addictive, costly habit that is killing them and possibly those around them? Why?

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Give me a list of things that people ingest voluntarily that do not have risk associated with them.

I’ll be waiting.

BobMbx on October 6, 2011 at 11:13 AM

I personally would prefer all “sin taxes” to be dedicated to addiction recovery centers

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Congratulations for coming up with both a new name and a new source of funding for re-education camps in the all encompassing nanny state. /

cool breeze on October 6, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I am a smoker who lives in Wisconsin. When Gov Doyle approved the last tax increase raising the price to over $7.00 a pack, I began buying them in Illinois (Not Cook County)….saving around $20.00 a carton.

shineboxjed on October 6, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Nobody creates more crime than the government.

Government is the disease masquerading as its own cure.

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Truer words never spoke.

esnap on October 6, 2011 at 11:38 AM

I personally would prefer all “sin taxes” to be dedicated to addiction recovery centers

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Congratulations for coming up with both a new name and a new source of funding for re-education camps in the all encompassing nanny state. /

cool breeze on October 6, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Sign me up and make sure i dont get any sugar, starch or Fat.

I want to look just like the FLOTUS.

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2011 at 11:39 AM

To an extent, perhaps. Government can exert control without taxation.

It’s also about revenue.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

If it was only about revenue, they would lower taxes.

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Fail again; I didn’t say it was *only* about revenue. And your retort presumes they understand economics, all evidence to the contrary.

My point was that if it was *only* about control (as you stated originally), they can achieve that without taxation of any kind if they want. Therefore, it is – as I said – “also about revenue”.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM

They’ve done the same with liquor. People near the state lines merely cross over to make their purchases.

GarandFan on October 6, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Yep, I’ve lived in two places in Texas that are the same – one rural, one urban. City disallows sale of alchohol in stores. Oddly enough, not far away, within the first mile of crossing the city lines you’ll find multiple liquor stores who have been there for years and busy all of the time.

Midas on October 6, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I personally would prefer all “sin taxes” to be dedicated to addiction recovery centers, etc. As for banning them just outright… that’s not possible, since too many people are still addicted to it. Get people off of the tobacco habit, and then we can ban it.

Look, those who smoke SHOULD quit! Or chew. There’s no reason to dump money down a drain, be unhealthy, addicted, etc. The same goes for all addictions, by the way. I personally don’t care about sin taxes, since I completely avoid them. It’s an easily avoidable tax. I don’t know why people just don’t give up the habit. I commend those who try to stop and have issues, that’s understandable. But people who are proud of their addictive, costly habit that is killing them and possibly those around them? Why?

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Look at you, rubbing your greedy little Nanny Stater paws together at the prospect of banning tobacco. You know why people don’t give up the habit? Because it’s enjoyable, that’s why. There’s nothing like firing up a nice Arturo Fuente (especially the Opus X, when I’ve got the scratch for one) or an Oliva (I happen to like Serie V the most out of their lineup), or for something different a nice Virginia-Perique tobacco from my Radice pipe. Fine tobacco is no different from fine wine, a top shelf scotch, bourbon or brandy, a properly fresh roasted and brewed coffee, the best teas, a nice homebrew or microbrew beer, or a nice meal at a restaurant.

There are endless choices, tastes, styles and different nuances to each cigar or fine pipe tobacco, everything from what type of tobacco is used, to when it was harvested, how it was raised, where it was raised, the soil, the weather that year, how it was aged and processed, how long the finished tobacco is aged (just like a wine or whiskey, the characteristics of tobacco change with aging), how the cigar is shaped and made, what the blend of the finished product is, how strong or mild it is, how bold or mild the taste is. These are things that I and many others cherish. I’m not addicted to tobacco, I could never smoke again and be totally cool. I’d miss the experience badly though.

Culturally, this appreciation for the finer “sinful” things is something that is probably foreign to most Utahns due to religious restrictions and institutions (Mormons are nice folk, but they’re the most clean-cut mofos I’ve ever dealt with, I’m too filthy and foulmouthed to ever be a Mormon, and make no apology), so I don’t expect that you’ll fully understand. Nanny Sin Taxes and Bans make it much harder to enjoy these finer things in life, and don’t think it won’t be YOUR ox that gets gored next after they’ve imposed their Nanny Ban, liberals and Nanny Staters are at their core religious zealots, they’ll find some new “Other” to lash out at and ban. They use people like you to divide and conquer. Don’t be their useful idiot.

doubleplusundead on October 6, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Everytime I hear about cig taxes I remember Fat Tony and Bart:

Bart: Uh, say, are you guys crooks?
Fat Tony: Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?
Bart: No.
Fat Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?
Bart: Uh uh.
Fat Tony: And, what if your family don’t like bread? They like… cigarettes?
Bart: I guess that’s okay.
Fat Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?
Bart: Hell, no.

orbitalair on October 6, 2011 at 12:01 PM

And for whatever percentage have quit smoking, there should be a corresponding decrease in healthcare expenses…Right?

Larr on October 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Yep, but only if your belief is that people don’t naturally die on their own.

If you think everyone dies eventually of something; then in total health costs over a lifetime, compared to taxes paid… smokers cost less money. Mostly because they live shorter lives, and miss out on extending the really expensive years at the end.

But if you assume nobody grows old and some people will never die if they just do everything right, then stopping smoking will lower health care costs.

Like all government-run accounting the “savings” are based on falsified numbers with unrealistic assumptions that fly in the face of any real world examples you might find. But I guess we can pretend that this is a cost saving measure if you want.

gekkobear on October 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

This is how a National Sales Tax will work also, even Herman Cain’s 999.

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

You miss the entire point of both a national sales tax or Cain’s plan.

The point of both is not to raise MORE revenue, but to directly tie tax revenue to the speed and volume of the economy and by extension limit the amount of money politicians can extract from the taxpayers via the point of a gun.

The tax code as it stands is a colossal mess of provisions designed to create winners and losers, each and every special interest can lobby to change the tax codes to benefit them. Eliminate the loopholes and special tax status for favored groups and individuals and most importantly:

Divorce the government from any input or influences on a persons take-home income.

Tie tax revenues to the speed and volume of the economy and you create a system where big government statists MUST work to improve the economy rather than the current system where to advance a big government agenda big government statists must loot the economy.

Have you actually read the points of the 999 plan?
http://www.hermancain.com/999plan

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 12:31 PM

doubleplusungood: Liberals are already after my faith, in the guise of “hate speech”, thank you very much. And I will make no apologies about being a “clean cut Mofo” as you put it. I may be missing out on the finer “sinful” things of life, as you put it, but I will also most likely be missing out on lung cancer, other forms of tobacco cancer, etc.

But even were it not so, addictions in general are just bad. We “Mormons” are also commanded to abstain from coffee and tea, and for the most part, we do. Why? To be honest, I don’t know, just that we are commanded to. And when I see people who cannot function without their 3rd cup of coffee, I am so grateful that’s not me. And there’s nobody, Mormons included, who mention anything about taxing, banning, or otherwise doing anything to coffee.

The problem with tobacco products in general is they are highly unhealthy and highly addicting. I almost got addicted to second hand smoke once. It’s easy to say that tobacco is a choice, but I’m sure we all know people who cannot stop. The guy across the street from me–smokes 3 packs a day. I’ve seen the ambulance there 4 times in two years. Heart attacks, etc. The doctors have told him he MUST stop smoking if he wants to live more than a couple of months. Will he? Probably not. Hell of a way to go.

And it’s easily avoidable, if you never start! But he can’t stop, because he’s addicted, very much so. I don’t want that to happen to anyone. There’s a reason it’s called “sinful” and it isn’t because it’s good to do.

I’m sorry, I know it is fashionable to hold on to smoking, drinking, etc. as a conservative principle, but in many ways these activities are far worse than any liberal idea around. Same with illicit drugs, or abuse of prescription drugs, etc. They make you slaves to appetite and cause massive distortions in behavior, either as a result of the “fix” or in order to afford the “fix.” Slavery is a liberal proposition. Slavery to bodily appetites is just as bad as slavery to government, to an actual slave holder, etc. And while it may be easy to think “moderation”, the nature of these things makes it far to easy to be a slave to them.

It’s also why I’m not a libertarian. Yes, you have freedom from government… only to enslave yourself to your appetites. Nice choice! Freedom only really means something in the context of self discipline.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Get people off of the tobacco habit, and then we can ban it.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

And alcohol too, and skydiving, and anything else people enjoy. WE MUST BAN FUN FOR THE GOOD OF THE NANNY-STATE FASCISTS…

Wait, is that the reason? I don’t recognize the nick here; are you really my mother who still finds it necessary to try to make all my choices for me?

I’m not 5 years old any more, I don’t need you to be my parent, I don’t need you to make all my choices for me, and I’m capable of living my own life.. I’m not even sorry that you think I’m doing it “wrong”.

The only ban I want is on government loving fascists looking for control over all society “for their own good” like you. Or did you think that this would stop with cigarettes and nobody else would use the power you’re trying to create and grab for their own pet peeve removing even more choices?

Can you explain to me why freedom and choices are bad, and basically being a slave of the state with all your choices made for you by law and government is good?

I’m not sure I get when slavery because the good that all citizens should aspire to… when did that happen?

Oh, and are you sure that the people controlling the lives of all citizens will be making choices you’d agree with? Well you must since you’re looking to remove choices and only the government gets to make these choices.

That’s a lot of faith in government… are you sure that the government always makes the absolute best choices for everyone everywhere? If not, why put them in charge of making choices for everyone everywhere?

But it’s a good plan as long as the government never makes any mistakes, the government never has any corruption, the government is only ever populated by the “correct” people to make these decisions, and that people will enjoy having freedoms and choices stripped away until they’re wage slaves for the government… which I think will be the 12th of Never.

But if you can get all corruption, incompetence, sloth, and stupidity out of government then I’ll rethink my objections. Until then, quit working to give government idiots more power to remove choices from people and remove freedoms from the citizenry.

Just give us a post once you’ve gotten corruption, sloth, incompetence, and idiocy removed from government and we’ll consider your proposal. Deal?

gekkobear on October 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

It’s also why I’m not a libertarian. Yes, you have freedom from government… only to enslave yourself to your appetites. Nice choice! Freedom only really means something in the context of self discipline.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

So lets make everyone slaves, take away their choices and freedoms, and make their choices for them “for their own good”.

What could go wrong? this is a great idea. I love the idea of a new over-caste for society making choices for the little people, forcing them to make the “right” choices and banning anything we think they shouldn’t do.

See, people need slave-masters to control them so they aren’t run by their desires or something. Sure they’ll be unhappy, but they’ll be making the “correct” choices; and being a slave is a small price to pay for that… or something.

I don’t remember the exact quote, so I’ll paraphrase.

If you end up under a fascist government, hope for the dictatorial ones; the dictator might sleep, he might relent, he might die…

But a fascist controlling government working “for your own good” will never falter in their quest to control your every action; knowing that they know best for you and you will never be free again.

Sound familiar Vanceone? It’s what you’re proposing after all.

gekkobear on October 6, 2011 at 12:38 PM

It’s also why I’m not a libertarian. Yes, you have freedom from government… only to enslave yourself to your appetites. Nice choice! Freedom only really means something in the context of self discipline.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

You have made a common error.

You are confusing Libertarian with Libertine. The two are not the same.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

In the case of tobacco, the Government giveth, and the governments taketh away.

unclesmrgol on October 6, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Jazz, you said:

… Cook County, on the outskirts of Chicago.

My beloved city of Chicago resides completely inside Cook County. The county also includes a number of surrounding suburbs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cook_County,_Illinois

They LOVE taxes here in Chicago / Cook County. And not just sin taxes either. Those of us who have cars just drive outside the county to avoid paying the confiscatory taxation.

FlatlanderByTheLake on October 6, 2011 at 12:48 PM

You are confusing Libertarian with Libertine. The two are not the same.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

True. Libertarians are a subset of Libertines.

unclesmrgol on October 6, 2011 at 12:48 PM

gekkobear:

So you are against law, then? I am pointing out that law is not a bad thing. You have the freedom to choose, but not the freedom to then ignore the consequence of your choice. Your position is totally antithetical to the nature of a good society. People function best when self governed. I hope you admit that.

What does an addicting substance do? To those who are addicted, can they govern themselves? Look at the gay rights people: they claim the laws should be changed in their favor because “we were born that way.” Yet, I think many if not most were abused at some point and now are so addicted they cannot conceive of any other way.

Laws on conduct and behavior have always been important. Look at the laws regarding adultery and no fault divorce… we demolished them, now we have enormous problems with marriage and families in general. Alcohol, tobacco, etc all put stresses on families. Like I said, my little girl has asthmatic reactions to cigarette smoke–and even the smell. If me or my wife started to smoke, we would physically be hurting our daughter and quite probably be guilty of some form of child abuse. Should I therefore be allowed to smoke without any consequences? Just my daughters health, that’s all. No big deal, right? And I can quit any time, right? Just like the meth addict….

Your argument is an argument that would legalize any and all forms of substance abuse. Why not take 200 pounds of heroin–it’s your life, right? So what if you die? Your life, right? You can’t hurt anyone else, such as family members, your employers lost productivity and output, etc. Right?

My wife works as a preschool teacher. Half, if not more, of the teachers there smoke. What a great example to the kids! How great the teachers smell when they come back in from the smoke break. A great environment. Somehow, they all complain about money problems too. Maybe if they cut out smoking…. nah, that won’t help!

I’m not proposing people be put in jail for smoking. That’s your “fascism.” I already know that I’m much more likely to go to jail for opposing gay marriage than you are for smoking. But to say that we should not have any attempts to get people to change their self destructive behavior? Come on man.

Whereas you are arguing to legalize meth, cocaine, heroin, and any and all self destructive behavior in the name of “choice.” Sound familiar? What you are arguing destroys choices, in reality.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Any fat Mormons? Any that lack good exercise habits?
Is that, perhaps, something which might benefit from some governmental oversight, with a little punitive persuasion?

a capella on October 6, 2011 at 1:04 PM

This is how a National Sales Tax will work also, even Herman Cain’s 999.

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

What evidence do you have to support that assertion? How many businesses right now are scamming the system regarding State sales taxes? Why would that be any higher if a National Sales Tax was instituted?

If you don’t want a national sales tax, just say so. But don’t create false arguments.

BierManVA on October 6, 2011 at 1:06 PM

But people who are proud of their addictive, costly habit that is killing them and possibly those around them? Why?

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Why can’t you just leave people alone and stop trying to tell them how to live their lives?

fossten on October 6, 2011 at 11:10 AM

+ eleventy billion

98ZJUSMC on October 6, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I almost got addicted to second hand smoke once.
Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Most of your post is substantive but the above is utter Bulls#it.

BierManVA on October 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM

While I am sure there are plenty of businesses that are “scamming the system,” I would attribute a massive amount of that drop in revenue to people just going to Indiana to get their cigarettes.

It’s really fairly common, particularly among street hustlers, to sell “loose squares,” individual cigarettes out of the pack, for cash. They don’t get them from inside the state because the margins aren’t high enough. They buy cartons at a time from Indiana and just go around selling them for big markups.

When I was in college and it was easier to do so in the golden days of internet piracy, a lot of guys used to order their cigarettes online from overseas companies.

Anything with a “sin” tax is commonly known to be cheaper wherever the tax is lower, or just doesn’t exist. People aren’t stupid.

aic4ever on October 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

True. Libertarians are a subset of Libertines.

unclesmrgol on October 6, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I don’t think you could successfully argue that point.

Perhaps if you reversed it, you may be able to successfully argue it.

I would suggest that their own demonstrable connection is first 6 letters.

I’m not exactly interested in producing a logical argument about that at this time, so we can agree to agree even if we differ on the basis for that agreement.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Any fat Mormons? Any that lack good exercise habits?
Is that, perhaps, something which might benefit from some governmental oversight, with a little punitive persuasion?

a capella on October 6, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Yes, there are fat Mormons, and Mormons that lack good exercise habits. No, government shouldn’t get involved, since 1) unlike smoking, alcohol, etc. people have to eat to exist, and genetic dispositions have influence here. Genetic predispositions to alcohol addiction (I suspect I’m one, in fact) don’t matter if you never take a drink. Second, members of the LDS church are in fact encouraged rather strongly to take good care of our bodies, and to exercise. It’s not all prohibitions. And in any case, Obama and his inflationary money policy is taxing our food more and more anyway, so I think your point is moot. We’ve been strongly encouraged by our leaders to grow our own food as much as possible, so I think that yes, we are trying to solve both the bad eating and the governmental interference problem in one stroke.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 1:21 PM

They LOVE taxes here in Chicago / Cook County. And not just sin taxes either. Those of us who have cars just drive outside the county to avoid paying the confiscatory taxation.

FlatlanderByTheLake on October 6, 2011 at 12:48 PM

It depends where your car is registered. If you register a vehicle in the City, no matter where you buy it you have to pay sales tax on it to the City. Buy it across the country? No matter. If the address you register it to was your main address at the time you bought the car, you’re getting a tax bill in the mail after registering it eventually.

We get taxed beyond that just for the privilege of having a car via the required City sticker. While a lot of towns do this for like $20/year or something like that, it’s well over $120/year now in Chicago, and they’re making it even more if you have a “gas guzzler.”

Personally, I haven’t purchased a City Sticker since 2004 when I had to park on the street. Since I’ve gotten either garage or gated parking, I don’t get ticketed often enough to make it worthwhile. I get the $120 “no sticker” ticket maybe once every two or three years. Why bother buying the sticker once a year if it’s cheaper to just pay the ticket once every two or three? But I suppose I’m just scamming the system.

aic4ever on October 6, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Dude, I have to ask before I begin.

Is your post above a joke? Did you bother to logically asses the validity of your arguments before you wrote them down?

I’m prepared to decimate your arguments, but I want to give you a moment to reflect back on them and withdraw any you aren’t prepared to support.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Most of your post is substantive but the above is utter Bulls#it.

BierManVA on October 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Au contraire, my good fellow. Let me tell you. In college, I had several good friends who smoked. They went outside all the time to have their smoke break. Usually that would interrupt our conversations, so I would go out with them.

Worked great until I caught myself one day coming back inside and thinking I should go back out to smell the smoke. We’d finished our conversation and I had to be somewhere. But I was rather shocked to find out I wanted to be near where I could smell and breath the cigarette smoke. I had always hated cigarette smoke smell, so it was very surprising to me. That’s when I stopped going outside with those friends during their smoke breaks. I didn’t want to risk it. It now is once again repulsive. So I think I was almost addicted, and if I hadn’t been careful, could very well have gotten hooked.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM

People function best when self governed. I hope you admit that.

I do, but perhaps “self-governing” doesn’t require nanny busybodies making choices for people… do people function best when “self-governed” by others, making their choices for them, and taking those choices away?

Look at the gay rights people: they claim the laws should be changed in their favor because “we were born that way.” Yet, I think many if not most were abused at some point and now are so addicted they cannot conceive of any other way.

Well lets treat it like smoking and have “gay ban” then, right? Sure we’ll need to work at getting some people recovering first, but then we can have a ban on behavior you think ins inappropriate, like smoking, or being gay, or whatever.

I’m not proposing people be put in jail for smoking. That’s your “fascism.”

So you want a “smoking ban” you’re for banning this inappropriate behavior… but you somehow think there won’t be punishment for breaking that “ban” on the behavior?

YOU are the one who promoted a ban.. how would a ban work without any sort of punishment; since I can’t go to jail for smoking… let me guess, a huge fine and I go to jail for not paying the fines?

Or admit and accept that your call for a ban WOULD send people to jail for smoking.

Whereas you are arguing to legalize meth, cocaine, heroin, and any and all self destructive behavior in the name of “choice.” Sound familiar? What you are arguing destroys choices, in reality.

But I’m not saying people shouldn’t go to jail for heroin use, just that it should be legal… see how stupid that sounds from this side? You want something banned and illegal; but no jail for breaking this new law, is that less idiotic?

You’re equating the two, you want a ban on smoking like the ban on heroin.. but you don’t want people to go to jail for breaking it… somehow.

You’re pushing for the government run state to control people; knowing that the control you’re working to give the government will result in fewer choices, fewer options, and jail time for breaking the ban…

But now you’re claiming you want people to be “self-governed” and don’t want them going to jail; as your actions and the bans you’re calling for would result in.

Why are you working on a plan that has an end result you claim you don’t want?

Either you believe a government-run ban on something can’t result in people going to jail for breaking the ban; or you’re actually ok with people going to jail for doing things you don’t like that don’t affect you… but you don’t want to admit it.

Be a man, admit the new bans on “Vanceone-determined inappropriate activity” will result in people going to jail because they do things you don’t like.

Or possibly rethink your earlier call for bans on all this activity… letting the government take over larger and larger sections of society in an attempt to control behavior.

I mean, “people work best when self-governed” don’t they? But we also need the government making minute choices in their personal life because you don’t actually believe that at all… do you?

Either call for “self-governed” and “people don’t go to jail just for smoking (or being gay)” or call for bans on behavior and admit you’re looking to send people to jail if they won’t change and conform to your specific choices and behavior that you’re trying to make the only “legal” choice.

Sorry, I don’t see a logical way for you to actually have both positions at the same time. Pick one.

gekkobear on October 6, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Dude, I have to ask before I begin.

Is your post above a joke? Did you bother to logically asses the validity of your arguments before you wrote them down?

I’m prepared to decimate your arguments, but I want to give you a moment to reflect back on them and withdraw any you aren’t prepared to support.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Well Jason, you’re self-evidently a nicer man than I am.

gekkobear on October 6, 2011 at 1:35 PM

This has probably been circumvented a bit, though, by tIndian reservations selling cigarettes exempt from state and local taxes. Just drive a few hours from NYC to the reservation, buy in bulk, and drive back.
teke184 on October 6, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I’m not sure (not being a cig smoker) but I think some tribes also sell online. Some googling should yield results.

whatcat on October 6, 2011 at 1:35 PM

They’ve thought of that, and instead of individual cigs they will pump tobacco smoke into the cars. Breathe deep.

BobMbx on October 6, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Will it be tobacco smoke or “tobacco smoke”?

Will they want to “de-louse” them too?

VelvetElvis on October 6, 2011 at 1:35 PM

And Jason Coleman, I see nothing wrong with arguing that addicting substances reduce choice to the point that banning them leads to greater choice making capability.

If you wish to argue that being addicted makes you have more meaningful choices, go ahead. I’d love to see the argument that the lady snorting meth ten times a day is more free than I am.

If your argument is that the government shouldn’t be in the business of banning addicting substances, then go for it. Explain how the resulting increase of addicted people is a great idea. Or explain how the free and easy access of heroin, meth, etc. is not going to lead to increased addictions, abuse, and misery and death.

Perhaps you will argue that heroin is so bad that it should be illegal but tobacco is a harmless thing. I would say that tobacco and alcohol have caused more human misery than almost anything else in world history, including wars. From diseases, cancer, to broken up families, lost jobs, loss of productivity, there is very little good that ever has come from those two substances, let alone other drugs that are abused. I would also say that yes, they are legal now, but they are a waste and attempts to get people to stop consuming them are not bad!

Sin taxes, as they are called, are taxes that are completely avoidable. People are attracted by a sales tax instead of an income tax, because you can avoid the sales tax if you want by not buying things. (assuming that the sales tax is on specific goods and not a general tax). I see no problem with discouraging consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Please tell me the merits of encouraging the consumption of these substances. And if people are that committed to the “pleasure” then they won’t mind paying more for it, right?

Besides, if the taxes encourage people to develop the self mastery to break an addiction: great! That same self mastery will only help them out in other areas, including breaking people out of poverty cycles, etc.

My question to you people is this: why should we as a society encourage and support consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and celebrate it, instead of tolerating it as a necessary evil that hopefully will someday not matter as no one participates?

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 1:41 PM

I’m going to keep this simple, since Vanceone won’t stand by his original arguments but in turn substitutes new ones that are equally illogical.

Heroin — The item isn’t the problem, and a ban will do nothing but A) create a black market B)increase the price C)increase the crime and violence associated with A and B.

Where the state or any individual has a right or actually duty to step in is when an individuals ACTIONS cause direct harm to another individual.

If someone gets want to get high, then goes out and robs a store to get high. It is the act of robbing the store, not the heroin that is the problem. That A B are present increases the likelyhood that the robbery would take place. Thus A and B become the problem, not the heroin.

Take herion and substitute GUN and the logical validity of this argument becomes apparent and the illogical nature of your argument is exposed.

If someone wants to sit in their living room and smoke pot, shoot dope or eat bon bons, it is NO BUSINESS OF MINE and NO BUSINESS OF THE STATE BY EXTENSION.

Likewise if someone wants to collect 10 guns and hold them and love them and name them George, it is no business of mine nor the state.

If someone wants to rob me to buy heroin or buy guns, THEN I will take action and the state should too.

Prohibition is folly. No “item” should face prohibition and be a crime, only actions that deprive someone of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness should incur the intrusion of the state.

The rest of your arguments are similarly unfounded and illogical. You are speaking only on emotion about how you FEEL, and I’ll state this quite frankly. How you FEEL should have NO IMPACT on what I can or cannot due if my actions do not impact you directly.

————————-

“I got addicted to second hand smoke” BULL!

You were affected by the actions of your peers to engage in the same behavior they were for the purpose of “inclusion”.

Unless you can point your attempt to go sniff up all the smoke of complete strangers when and wherever you found them, your anecdote is devoid of substance.

If you’d like to defend any particular argument you have made above, restate it clearly and I’ll tear it apart, your shotgun approach of tossing out a stream logical fallacies to bog down the counter-argument is intellectual dishonesty.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Please tell me the merits of encouraging the consumption of these substances.

False argument. The state has no business discouraging or encouraging anything that arose naturally on this planet as a valid part of it’s ecosystem. Humans have consumed tobacco products for thousands of years for some VERY GOOD and perhaps poor reasons.

——————–

Alcohol- Without alcohol, there is a very good argument to be made that human transition from a hunter-gatherer society to a sedentary agrarian civilization would not have occurred when it did. Alcohol production and use predates permanent human settlement and there is ample evidence to suggest that the production of alcohol was a major driver of the transition from HG society to permanent settlements.

This evidence is present in most if not all ancient permanent
human settlements discovered to date. The evidence arises independently and across wide geographical divisions, and spans wide gaps in cultural identification.

That said, the state still has no business encouraging OR discouraging the manufacture, trade or use of either tobacco or alcohol.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Oh, this is easy. The communists figured out the solution to this one a long time ago.

Just build a wall around Cook County and don’t let anyone out. That way everyone has to stay and pay cigarette taxes! It’s for your own good, of course.

Next problem, please.

ZenDraken on October 6, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Ah, here we go to the heart of the matter: Jason, you are saying 1)A man is an island and his or her actions have no impact beyond themselves. Therefore 2) there is no legitimate interest that anyone else can have in said conduct.

This is incorrect. I would agree if your premise was correct, that your actions have no impact on anyone but yourself. And truthfully, the single person with no family, no job, and nothing to live for (I disagree about that, too, but whatever) living in a basement and drinking himself to death can do it. It’s a waste, but what have you.

But does the average person have a job? Outside of the Wall Street occupiers, I mean? Does that person owe his or her employer something, such as an employee capable of performing work in a good fashion? Hard to do that when stoned, drunk, or having to take a smoke break every 15 minutes. Let alone just not showing up because their high lasted longer than planned.

What about the spouse? Kids? Tell me that my actions in my house don’t affect my spouse and kids and I will show you a liar. Extended family? Community, church service?

What about loss of potential? Instead of growing and learning, you are sitting there stoned out of your mind. What about the loss to society? What about the sex you had when drunk and got pregnant– do your actions now impact that new life? Adultery that you commit at that party?

Truth is, your actions NEVER don’t matter to someone else. So your premise is a lie: others are interested and have legitimate interests in what you do. If you don’t think so, tell your spouse or girlfriend you are bringing home some hot blond to have sex with. If your marriage is normal, see how well that flies.

As for your fallacy of replacing heroin with a gun: well, we do have laws against suicide too. That’s the same thing: using heroin (or a gun) on yourself. Using a gun on yourself is pretty idiotic, though I agree that the state usually doesn’t bother to regulate that–it’s pretty self regulating, with immediate consequences.

Guns are inherently neutral, though. They can be used for evil or for good. Self defense, hunting–both good, useful, societal enhancing things. Name a good use for heroin. As far as medicinal marijuana goes, it is like a prescription drug, and abuse of prescription drugs is illegal too. But it’s the very rare person who needs marijuana. And for those who do, okay, they can have it under (good) doctors orders. Same for any rare case for heroin as well. But it’s unlikely.

Is it your business if your employees come to work drunk? If your wife is caught with a gigolo while high on heroin? If you find your bank account empty and only receipts to Marlboro there? Do not those things hurt you and your interests? Is it your business if the President is hitting the bong while looking at the nuclear football and having weird thoughts?

You explain to me how being a cocaine addict hurts no one but yourself, and I’ll listen. You are arguing that we should legalize home consumption of heroin, cocaine, and other drugs as long as no one gets robbed to do it. Defend that.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 2:25 PM

the surest path to some quick cash has traditionally been taxing “bad things” which will raise the least objections from the populace.

In today’s flavor of the day, “bad things” includes being wealthy.

ss396 on October 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM

One last thing and then I’m going to a meeting: Jason, you are arguing that government shouldn’t regulate morality. Classic libertine proposal. As long as I don’t hurt anyone, who cares, right? Stonerville, here we come! It’s all good, man!

Nevermind that addicts tend to ultimately become dregs and drains on society, costing the rest of us taxes and lost potential.

Tell you what, Jason: You can have your unlimited legal drugs as long as you agree that you will never get any tax supported benefits and charity of any kind to help pull your butt out of your drug induced haze and problems. That means you pay cash for all your health issues too. No insurance, because if my insurance has to pay for your drug costs, that hurts me. And that no one will give a damn if you lose power in the winter because you can’t afford your heating bill, or food. As long as we take your kids away, and your spouse, so you won’t hurt them. Give them to someone who cares more about helping others rather than toking up themselves. You can waste your life if you want, but don’t expect us to help you not be an utter waste of humanity.

And with that happy thought, I’m outta here.

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Ah, here we go to the heart of the matter: Jason, you are saying 1)A man is an island and his or her actions have no impact beyond themselves. Therefore 2) there is no legitimate interest that anyone else can have in said conduct.

Again, rather than offer a valid argument, you substitute another one, equally as faulty.

No, I never said (1) or anything of the sort.

Nor did I say (2).

If a man’s actions impinge upon another’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, there is cause for intervention. Falsely characterizing this statement as you have in (1) is dishonest.

Of course there is legitimate interest IF said conduct impinges upon another’s life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Until someone commits an action which impinges, there is no legitimate reason for intervention by others or the state.

Your spouse argument is valid only for the spouse, not for the state, and only if the spouse is harmed by the actions of the other spouse and only confined to the relationship within that particular family. Busting up your own marriage or family is your own action, and you suffer any consequences thereof. The state has no business acting to try and keep a relationship together or change how parties to a relationship interact with one another.

Your argument continues to be illogical and antithetical to a free society. If you want to argue for a not free society, go ahead, but don’t try to disguise what you are advocating with emotional appeals, false argumentation, misrepresentations of my statements and faulty logic.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 2:40 PM

If your argument is that the government shouldn’t be in the business of banning addicting substances, then go for it. Explain how the resulting increase of addicted people is a great idea. Or explain how the free and easy access of heroin, meth, etc. is not going to lead to increased addictions, abuse, and misery and death.

I don’t care. It’s not my job to care. If you have a moral obligation to care, fine, do everything you want or can on the private level, but to sic the government on people is evil and cruel, even more than the evil of addiction. What you do in your personal life is none of my damned business. If you want to sit around and do drugs all day and be a waste of space, awesome. You want to be a squeaky clean Mormon, awesome, I don’t, leave me the hell alone.

Your Nanny Tax and Ban is every bit as much a theft as Terry the Tweaker deciding that he needs to steal the radio out of my car to pay for his next hit. Unlike Terry the Tweaker though, you don’t have the cajones to kick in my apartment door and smack the bacon cheeseburger out of my hand, take my cigars and pipe collection, you send some government goon to do your dirty work for you.

doubleplusundead on October 6, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Vanceone on October 6, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Boy you really let your fascist flag fly with that last paragraph didn’t you?

I guess you’re just incapable of a logical argument, you keep up with those emotional appeals to authority.

So now you want to run the insurance companies, charities, energy companies, child services, and most fun of all. . . . wait for it.

As long as we take your kids away, and your spouse, so you won’t hurt them. Give them to someone who cares more about helping others

So you want to “take my wife” and give her “to someone who cares”?

WOW!!!! Just WOW!!!!

With that, I will stand back and rest, there’s nothing I need to say anymore to destroy your arguments. You did that plenty well and good yourself.

Cheap shot just for fun: You really are a Mormon, eh?

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 2:49 PM

They have done the same thing in NY and sales in Pennsylvania have never been higher – and of course the Indian Reservations. Retailers here have taken it on the chin – add in the gasoline difference and well….

StuckinliberalNY on October 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Road trip!
I remember driving the 25 miles to Canada in college to purchase the 6+% Molson Brador malt liquor that wasn’t exported to the US. Add students to increase the allowable haul.

tomg51 on October 6, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Awesome, we did exactly the same thing. Always fun to hope nobody at the border made us open the trunk.

eyedoc on October 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

As long as we take your kids away, and your spouse, so you won’t hurt them.

I bet this sounds even scarier in the original German.

doubleplusundead on October 6, 2011 at 3:36 PM

doubleplusundead on October 6, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Solange wir nehmen sie ihre Kinder weg und ihr ehegatte, damit man nicht verletzt.

Jason Coleman on October 6, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Our friend Steve Eggleston points out in the comments that Wisconsin is pulling a similar maneuver,

Oh, no…not in that awesome bastion of Conservative Republicaness with the even more awesome Scott Walker at the helm!?

Give me a break.

I’ve come to learn that the GOP is just as bad at raising taxes as the Dems. The GOP does it more surreptitiously by instituting vice taxes as pointed out in the article, but also by raising state licensing fees and by handing out tax breaks (which reduce revenue) in the guise of “promoting business and creating jobs”…guess what? It ain’t working.

I also understand that taxes may need to go up from time to time, but as the TEA Party is supposed to be pointing out, it depends on WTH they’re spending the money on.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 6, 2011 at 4:11 PM

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