Obama administration to “rethink” Christmas tree “fee”

posted at 2:30 pm on November 9, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

This didn’t take long.  Jake Tapper reports that the Obama administration will, er, rethink its Christmas tree “fee” and promotion board:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees,  sources tell ABC News. The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009, was first announced in the Federal Registry yesterday and has generated criticism of President Obama from conservative media outlets. The well-trafficked Drudge Report is leading with the story, linking to a blog by David Addington, a former top aide to then-Vice President David Addington, at the conservative Heritage Foundation assailing the president thus: “The economy is barely growing and nine percent of the American people have no jobs. Is a new tax on Christmas trees the best President Obama can do? And, by the way, the American Christmas tree has a great image that doesn’t need any help from the government.”

The White House initially tried pushing back on the notion that it was taxing trees:

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told ABC News that despite some media coverage, “I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama Administration is not taxing Christmas trees. What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.”

Obviously that argument didn’t work, which is why the White House hit reverse on the Grinch fee.  The reason why it doesn’t work is because the government doesn’t need to be in this process at all.  The National Christmas Tree Association can run its own ads and do its own promotion if it wants to boost the sales of “live” Christmas trees.  Trade groups do this all the time.  The reason that the NCTA wants government to collect the “fee” and run the promotion is to force compliance from tree producers who might not want to shovel money into the NCTA.

Not only is this belated delay the right move, the government should get out of the advertising industry altogether and let producers promote themselves.

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The entire 1996 law needs to be repealed. And Newt should explain himself over this. It happened on his watch.

rbj on November 9, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Another victory for the Tree Party?

J.E. Dyer on November 9, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Rush is theorizing it is because liberals don’t want any govt promotion that is PRO-Christmas or Christian.

jeffn21 on November 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Meanwhile, via Rand Paul & Drudge …..
the Dems have walked out of the Super Committee, en mass.
Developing.

Adults in charge !!! Arrrrgh.

pambi on November 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM

What a bunch of amateur dopes we have running this country. I’m so disgusted.

JAM on November 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Adults in charge !!! Arrrrgh.

pambi

Dude, just like the WI fleabaggers! “We don’t want to make the hard choices and most especially don’t wanna go on record making them, so we’re gonna take our ball and go home!”

JAM on November 9, 2011 at 2:38 PM

OT: Deported person returns to murder supervisor

ConservativePartyNow on November 9, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Why stop with the 1996 law? Is there a reason in 2011 that we need a Federal Department of Agriculture?

cthulhu on November 9, 2011 at 2:38 PM

barack grinch!

ConservativePartyNow on November 9, 2011 at 2:39 PM

The reason why it doesn’t work is because the government doesn’t need to be in this process at all.

The reason why Obama is renegotiating this deal is because ~$4 million bucks isn’t enough. (27 million trees sold in 2010 @15 cents each additional tax)

In a ~4 trillion dollar federal budget, 4 million bucks isn’t enough to get out of bed. Amp it up about a thousand times and Obama might be interested.

Skandia Recluse on November 9, 2011 at 2:39 PM

He signed it originally because he thought it was satire.

HitNRun on November 9, 2011 at 2:41 PM

He’s still a Grinch

NoFanofLibs on November 9, 2011 at 2:41 PM

So, the problem is the NTCA, not the administration.

bridgetown on November 9, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The entire 1996 law needs to be repealed. And Newt should explain himself over this. It happened on his watch.

rbj on November 9, 2011 at 2:33 PM

What’s to explain? It’s about the $$$$$$$$$$$

bridgetown on November 9, 2011 at 2:43 PM

A stupid J*ck*ss,er,Donkey,has no brains,
as in Hopey!!

canopfor on November 9, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Too bad – it was the only way they’d use the word Christmas!

Wander on November 9, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Climb down?

how appropriate.

ted c on November 9, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I would suggest not all tree sellers are members of this association and such a tax would make all of them contribute to something the association should have done on it’s own.

Similar to a union enforcing all to join a closed shop and pay dues.

CommentGuy on November 9, 2011 at 2:47 PM

O/T—-Internet ShutDown Thingy!
===================================

@marcambinder
Ok, well, the national EAS test had some issues. FEMA et.al. is doing a post-mortem at the moment.
8 Min ago.
*************

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on November 9, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Is NCTA an Obama donor?

If so, there’s your answer.

Chicago style writ large.

coldwarrior on November 9, 2011 at 2:47 PM

LOL

visions on November 9, 2011 at 2:49 PM

The XmasTree fee proposal shows how easily crony capitalism spreads and how it needs to be exposed and rooted out.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 9, 2011 at 2:52 PM

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told ABC News that despite some media coverage, “I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama Administration is not taxing Christmas trees.

BS. Tom Vilsack, Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture, is in charge of this program.

LASue on November 9, 2011 at 2:54 PM

rethink = double the fee and call it a “Holiday Tree?”

tom on November 9, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Speaking of Grinch who stole Christmas,and its never is a Lib,
from da archives!!
==================

Newt Gingrich as Uncle Scrooge
Dec 19 1994
*******************************

http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19941219,00.html

canopfor on November 9, 2011 at 2:57 PM

requested by the National Christmas Tree Association

who cares, let’s blame obama anyway.

morons.

sesquipedalian on November 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

The reason that the NCTA wants government to collect the “fee” and run the promotion is to force compliance from tree producers who might not want to shovel money into the NCTA.

Ding ding ding!

JetBoy on November 9, 2011 at 3:00 PM

From NCTA’s website:

NCTA Focuses its Work on Three Key Areas:
*** Federal Representation
a. Lobbying the U.S. Congress on issues vital to Christmas Tree professionals
b. Working with Federal Agencies on issues vital to Christmas Tree professionals***

LASue on November 9, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Breaking: There is a National Christmas Tree Association.

Ferris on November 9, 2011 at 3:01 PM

To add: It takes a whole lotta balsam to tax Christmas trees…

JetBoy on November 9, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Another victory for the Tree Party?

J.E. Dyer on November 9, 2011 at 2:33 PM

LOL!

Course, I don’t want to be considered a sap for laughing at that.

Chip on November 9, 2011 at 3:02 PM

To add: It takes a whole lotta balsam to tax Christmas trees…

JetBoy on November 9, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Doesn’t the government needle us enough already?

Chip on November 9, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Since when did the executive branch gain the ability to levy taxes? Isn’t that a function of the legislative branch?

paulsur on November 9, 2011 at 3:06 PM

who cares, let’s blame obama anyway.
morons.
sesquipedalian on November 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

At which point the POTUS should have said “Do it yourself like other trade groups”.

I know you’re trying but really, HA members can only carry you for so long.

Bishop on November 9, 2011 at 3:06 PM

BWAAA-HAAH-HAAAHAAHAHHAHAAH

Putting a tax on Christmas?!?!?

0bama’s people make Gordon Block look like a friggin’ GENIUS!!!

cane_loader on November 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM

sesquipedalian on November 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Yeah, it’s not like Obama doesn’t want to raise taxes every 5 minutes anyways.

Chip on November 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Since when did the executive branch gain the ability to levy taxes? Isn’t that a function of the legislative branch?

paulsur on November 9, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I believe you’ve gotten to the root of the problem.

Chip on November 9, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Course, I don’t want to be considered a sap for laughing at that.

Chip on November 9, 2011 at 3:02 PM

And I pine for change in DC.

DanMan on November 9, 2011 at 3:09 PM

who cares, let’s blame obama anyway.

morons.

sesquipedalian on November 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

First off, not all tree sellers are members of the trade group that requested this.

Secondly, it’s crony capitalism to promote one business over another with taxpayer funds. Do you really think $4 million would cover all the expenses and advertising?

Moron.

BierManVA on November 9, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Excuse me, Mark Block.

MENSA president.

cane_loader on November 9, 2011 at 3:10 PM

And I pine for change in DC.

DanMan on November 9, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I don’t understand why this administration is going after this sector – aren’t they supposed to be ever-green?

Chip on November 9, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Think of it as a noble tax as it’s fir the children

Ditkaca on November 9, 2011 at 3:17 PM

sorry…that was a stretch

Ditkaca on November 9, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I think the real reason for this change is that Obama’s heart grew three sizes this morning.

BlueCollarAstronaut on November 9, 2011 at 3:23 PM

TOO LATE!!

I already pushed out the e-mail to my religious, bitter clingers in the key 2012 swing states…

WINNING!!

Khun Joe on November 9, 2011 at 3:37 PM

When is a tax not a tax, when the gov tells you it’s not a tax.
Good lord.
nothing to see here, move along.

ColdWarrior57 on November 9, 2011 at 3:41 PM

“Commerce Clause, Not Santa Claus!”

crr6

OT: Speaking of Kollege Kids, an update on a story I posted earlier this year:

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/11/09/man-who-faked-way-into-harvard-cited-school-on-job-resume/

A Delaware man convicted of fraud for faking his way into Harvard has been ordered held without bail after admitting he violated his probation by citing Harvard on a job resume.

Last year, Adam Wheeler was sentenced to 2½ years in jail, with all but one month suspended, and 10 years’ probation after pleading guilty to identity fraud and other charges.

Prosecutors said he got into Harvard by falsely claiming he attended exclusive Phillips Academy prep school in Andover and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Under his probation, Wheeler was barred from representing himself as a Harvard student or graduate.

Wheeler’s lawyer acknowledged Wednesday that Wheeler had violated his probation.

Story doesn’t mention that Wheeler made it almost all the way thru 4 years at the “University” before he was caught!

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 3:47 PM

From NCTA’s website:
NCTA Focuses its Work on Three Key Areas:
*** Federal Representation
a. Lobbying the U.S. Congress on issues vital to Christmas Tree professionals
b. Working with Federal Agencies on issues vital to Christmas Tree professionals***

because you need the gubment to oversee an act as difficult as cutting down a tree and selling it

would there be a surcharge for a tree like the one at roc center?

Sonosam on November 9, 2011 at 3:53 PM

morons.

sesquipedalian on November 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Shouldn’t you be Off To See The Wizard or something?

Or should I say, “Ease On Down The Road”?

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 3:59 PM

sesquipedalian on November 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM

PS, nice to see you defend an Evil Corporation Lobbyist Group like the NCTA. Wonder who they give their political donations to?

A visit to their website would suggest they’re Dem-Friendly, as they have all sorts of Green sections as well as all sorts of sections especially for Union Teachers.

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 4:01 PM

This is like a fat guy bragging that he ordered a Diet Coke with his super-sized Double Whopper meal.

RadClown on November 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM

1985 McDonald’s commercial. William “The Refrigerator” Perry had 4 McDLT’s (a Quarter Pounder with lettuce and tomato served in a split box) two larger fries and a Diet Coke.

Why the hell am I still awake?

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on November 9, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Now I am thread jumping. I need some Nytol or something. I can’t get my brain to slow down and I am having 80′s flashbacks as well. HELP! The 70′s are coming fast!!!!

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on November 9, 2011 at 4:06 PM

We can still say, “He was for the fifteen cent per live-cut tree (NON)tax, before he was against it.”

listens2glenn on November 9, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Obama caved to massive pressure from the Easter Bunny.

hepcat on November 9, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Dang! And I just had my ‘Winter Solstice Plantae’ sign printed!

stvnscott on November 9, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Before everybody gets too excited, I think a Christmas Trees Tax is already in the 2,700 pages of Obamacare.

hepcat on November 9, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Law Prof Althouse:

In the case of the Department of Agriculture’s new Christmas Tree Promotion Board, the government is involving itself with a particular crop and using the name of the crop that is used by those who are in the business of growing that crop.

That is, the Department of Agriculture is going about its usual business — which you are welcome to view as too intrusive — and not giving special hands-off treatment to this crop that happens to have an end-use in activities that have some connection to a particular religion.

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Why stop with the 1996 law? Is there a reason in 2011 that we need a Federal Department of Agriculture?

cthulhu on November 9, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Well that is the problem. I think there is some common ground between the Occupy nuts and the Tea Party. We both hate it when people payoff lawmakers to take our money and spend it in a way to benefit the people who gave the money. An example is this, or GE and the curly Q light bulbs, or TARP.

The differences are when the TEA party says the same applies to Unions. Also, the TEA Party knows that you cannot prevent people from giving money since that is free speech. But you can prevent the govt from forcing people to do anything like buy a curly Q light bulb. (That one really pisses me off, anything that comes from the environMENTALists just makes my blood boil.)

If the left wants to stop govt subsidizing of gasoline, that is fine, but we also need to stop subsidizing electric cars, wind, solar, etc. Global Warming is such a crock!

jeffn21 on November 9, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Dang! And I just had my ‘Winter Solstice Plantae’ sign printed!

stvnscott on November 9, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Next thing you know, O’bama will want to tax Festivus Poles…

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Obama administration to “rethink” “Christmas” tree “fee”

hahahahahaha! Idiots.

disa on November 9, 2011 at 5:03 PM

A caller to Dennis Miller’s show today opined that the “Christmas tree” tax could not be imposed by the administration because it doesn’t believe in Christmas anyway, only the “holidays.” Not a bad observation.

Erich66 on November 9, 2011 at 5:17 PM

President Unprecedented might want to start REthinking these things before he thinks of them. Such powers should not be outside his range of awesomeness.

curved space on November 9, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Just heard an interview on WBZ Radio in Boston with the head of the Vermont Christmas Tree Farmers.

Now remember, Vermont is a Blue State, with an avowed Socialist representing them in Congress, as well as a bald guy who leaks like a sieve. Their former Governor was a guy named Jet Screamer, who later went on to be the Head of the DNC.

Anyways, this dude was highly critical of the O’bama Christmas Tree Fee, saying that all it would do is create an additional layer of Government Bureaucracy to waste money.

He said this issue should be handled at the State Level, or even at the Regional (in his case New England) level, meaning a cooperative effort between the State Tree Growers themselves-not the Government Bureaucracy.

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 5:46 PM

. The reason why it doesn’t work is because the government doesn’t need to be in this process at all. The National Christmas Tree Association can run its own ads and do its own promotion if it wants to boost the sales of “live” Christmas trees.

Wait a minute. Oh it is on the tip of my tongue. Errr. What is that word…you know when government and business mixes? Oh I know that word only comes into play and a GOPer is in charge.

Fascism. That is what I was thinking of.

CW on November 9, 2011 at 5:59 PM

NCTA went rent-seeking and of course Obama thought it a nice idea, for his reelection campaign…just send me half the collections on the fee and all is well…

There is no bottom for Obama, and I am embarassed for the clods at NCTA that they would use the feds to pump their piggybank. Occupy NCTA!!!

What do we need an NCTA for anyway, why don’t they all go get real jobs?

Harry Schell on November 9, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Obama
I will niot raise taxes to the people making under 250,000 by a dime.
No It was 15 cents

Now Obama can crow about cutting taxes by walking away from this tax

seven on November 9, 2011 at 7:27 PM

For you folks who do Christmas Music mashups for your family and/o friends, be sure to sneak this one in. RIP, Wild Man!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c20MP-rFOw4

Del Dolemonte on November 9, 2011 at 9:38 PM

no dreidel tax? no festivus pole tax? no kwanzaa Unity cup tax?

mittens on November 10, 2011 at 8:34 AM