Even if you hate all tobacco products, hate all tobacco users, and want to raise taxes on tobacco products through the roof, there is no getting around the fact that this is a blatant, glaring, flashing-neon-sign violation of Biden’s oft-repeated no tax increase pledge. Tobacco users who make less than $400,000 per year are not exempted from the tax increase.
As the Tax Foundation noted, “As a source of general fund revenue, the tax is exceedingly regressive. The vast majority of smokers have lower incomes, and tobacco is one of the few goods that have an inverse relationship with income in that consumption increases as income decreases.”
If you don’t like the Tax Foundation’s analysis, turn to the progressive Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Their data show that hiking tobacco taxes does not affect the top 20 percent of incomes in the U.S. in any measurable or significant way, but it would hit the poorest 20 percent of Americans more than any other demographic, increasing their taxes by four-tenths of one percentage point. “Unlike the personal and corporate income tax provisions discussed above, tax increases on tobacco and nicotine would clearly fall most heavily on low-income smokers,” the ITEP admits.