The unelected and unaccountable sages at the World Health Organization (WHO) can’t seem to help themselves or resist the temptation to try to regulate the behavior of everyone on the planet. This is a shame, really, because a group like that could actually do some good if they stuck to trying to get basic supplies and medical care to people in remote, poverty stricken countries. But rather than devoting themselves to such laudable goals, they’re once again pushing to get every government on the planet to jack up sin taxes on tobacco.(This is something they’ve tried before, as I wrote about in 2012.) And the new proposal is a whopper.
The World Health Organization announced potential plans to institute a global tobacco tax, but economist Arthur Laffer expressed significant skepticism about the idea in a new study.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Raising taxes on tobacco in support of the reduction of tobacco consumption is a core element of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international treaty that entered into force in 2005 and has been endorsed by 178 Parties.”
“Raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to reduce use and save lives,” added WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “Determined action on tobacco tax policy hits the industry where it hurts.”
How much of a tax are we talking about? It’s seventy percent. For the moment, the United States is not part of the “178 parties” they have signed on for the deal, but there are still those here in America who would like to make it so. You can click through the link to see some of the details of the Laffer response, including the general futility of such a tax scheme in terms of revenue and the inevitable rise in black market activity which would follow (which we’ve discussed at length here). But aside from that, here are a few items to ponder in terms of how nations already tax tobacco products.
• Tobacco is already one of the highest taxed products in the world.
• Tobacco taxes make-up, on average, more than half of the price consumers pay for a pack of cigarettes.
• Tobacco taxes represent an essential source of revenue for most countries.
• Many governments already review and systematically increase tobacco taxes on an annual basis.
Do you really want the WHO sticking its fingers into American tax policy and exporting our tax revenue into its international coffers? Are we to allow outside agencies to set American revenue policies? We need to find out where America’s elected leaders stand on this and kill off this nonsense before it takes root.