The shakedown begins today

Normally, I don’t like to let other people speak for me, but today I read this column by Howie Carr of the Boston Herald, and it’s as if he had read my mind. This is one of those rare times when I can honestly say that I absolutely, positively agree with everything he says here.

But before I hand it off to Howie, I want to make a few points of my own. First, I am not trying to defend cigarettes. Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock for the last forty years knows that cigarettes are bad for you. But it’s unfair and just plain wrong to keep picking the pockets of smokers simply because they have become a politically impotent minority. Funny how you never see anyone suggest an increase in the tax on booze.

It simply amazes me how proponents of this tax manage to say–with a straight face–that this increase will simultaneously decrease smoking and increase revenue. Those who think they can tax tobacco out of existence are sadly deluded on two counts. First, there are three things that humans have always done: drink, smoke, and gamble. They have always been willing to spend money to do these things, and they have always been willing to break the law to do these things. Laws prohibiting these things have never actually stopped them, merely driven them underground and into the hands of criminals.

Secondly, they are truly deluded if they think the government really wants to eliminate smoking. Tobacco taxes are an integral part of any state’s budget. Without tobacco taxes, there would be a serious shortfall that would have to be made up with–guess what?–more taxes.

But there is such a thing as killing the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. You can push people too far, and, judging from conversations I’ve had with people, we in Taxachusetts may very well be at that point. Governor Tailpipe tells us that it will raise $1.74 million in new tax revenue. Yeah, for New Hampshire. Live Free or Die? Well, New Hampshire may not be free, but they’re a hell of a lot cheaper than Massachusetts.

Howie mentions that the vote was 93-52, with 33 Democrats joining the 19 lonely Republicans in our state House. Had there been a Republican governor in the Corner Office instead of Governor Tailpipe, a veto could have been sustained.

Where have you gone, William Weld? Our Commonwealth turns it’s lonely eyes to you.


8 Responses to “The shakedown begins today”

  1. July 3, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    This is one thing we can agree on. This is bullshit and the fucking liberal douchebags know it.

    OK, I’m sensing anger here. 😉

    Sad on so many different accounts.
    Tailpipe’s head is so up his ass it ain’t funny.

    Nice to see there are some things we can agree on.


  2. July 4, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    I have to put in my two cents which in Massachusetts ain’t worth S***.

    Rest assured, if it were, Massachusetts would find a way to tax it. But your two cents worth is alway welcome here.

    I so agree with you. I don’t smoke but I can’t condone a tax like that on cigarettes. Mr. Tailpipe also wants to give a break to illegals so they can go to college illegally. My daughter who is smart as a whip didn’t go to college because of the expense.

    A sadly ironic, yet all to common situation. Luckily, there are still financial aid programs for people who live here legally. Hopefully your daughter can get some help from some of them.

    I used to listen to Howie everyday on my way home from work.

    Howie’s an interesting cat to be sure. I don’t always agree with him, but I love how he speaks his mind and doesn’t care about pissing off the politically correct.

    Mr. Tailpipe is a wuss.

    That’s putting it nicely.


  3. 3 jw
    July 5, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I don’t pay tax on smokes here in central N.Y.
    I just take a little jaunt down to the reservation. A carton? $20.00.
    I reckon they will try and find someway to prevent non Native-Americans to be taxed on that too, though.

    They already are.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  4. July 5, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    This is a sore spot for me too, Smith. You think taxachusetts is bad, try living in the land of nuts and twigs. They have whole cities where it’s illegal to smoke. Can you believe that?

    Unfortunately, yes. I have no problem believing it. Massachusetts will always remain the SECOND goofiest state in the country until the happy day when the San Andreas fault gives way and California slides into the Pacific. (Hopefully you won’t be living there when that happens. I WOULD miss you.) 😉

    And yet….we have legal ‘medical’ marijuana and now legal gay marriage???? Where is the fairness in that?

    I have always found it supremely ironic that the people who are trying to outlaw tobacco (and that really is their ultimate goal, make no mistake) are usually the same ones who want to legalize pot. Not only is it unfair, it’s also hypocritical and just plain stupid. Being a Libertarian at heart, I really have no problem with either pot or gay marriage, as long as I’m left free to enjoy my pipe and cigar. Is that really asking too much?

    And you’re right they want their cake and to smoke it too. Jack up the taxes, effectively discouraging people from smoking yet, using it as a huge source of revenue. Well which is it? This stuff is just like the global warming crap – just another political football used to extort money from the masses who believe whatever they are told.

    Not much I can add to that, except to say that I agree with you 100%


  5. July 5, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I would like to add a couple of things too add to the list of things that people have always done. Smoke dope and screw.

    Very true. I was going to include those, but I was trying to be succinct. But you are, of course, quite correct.

    Legalize pot and prostitution and you can alleviate room in prisons for the criminals that deserve it. Spread the sin taxes around a little bit and cut down on some health risks by testing, licensing, and over site of health standards in prostitution. Shouldn’t a prostitutes puss be as clean as an all you can eat buffet?

    As with WC’s comment, not a whole lot I can add to this except to say I’m in total agreement with you.


  6. July 8, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    T-bone? Where the hell is T-bone????? :mrgreen:

    That’s MR. T-Bone to you, Sunny Jim.

  7. 7 Sam
    July 9, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Not much to add that hasn’t already been said. Great post, Smith. You always speak my language.

    Thanks, Sam! Yes, I think you and I are pretty much on the same wavelength on most things. 😉


  8. 8 anonypop
    July 12, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Increasing Tax on smokers is world wide. In Australia the Bastard polies do it all the bloody time. They all have the same catch cry “Smokers put a large burden on the health system” What a load of bullshit. If the same bastards put all the money they collect from tobacco taxes back into the health system Australia would not only have the best health system in the world it would be completely free.
    As far as booze goes, thats starting to get the same rap as Passive Smoking. But i have to ask you, when was the last time you heard of a smoker having one too many and going home and bashing his wife and kids? Oops! A smoker had 10 smokes and got in his car and killed a bus load of kids on a trip to see the wonders of the world? Not bloody likely. Pollies all round the world only fight the fights they think can get them another term in office. They should be fighting the fights to make the world a safer and happier place. If that means making the middle east a hole in the ground and part of Asia so be it. Feed the poor and fight the fights that matter not the the bloody easy ones that will get you reelected. Freedom for all not just the selected few. Equal rights for all men and women, all over the world. Why is it so important that in the civilized world men and women are equal as long as oil or religion is not involved? Fuck religion and oil. Both of these are only being used to control the masses anyway. History always finds a way of repeating itself, and as long as the world pollies and dictators and so called holy men are only looking at ways to keep power for themselves, taxes and bullshit will be number one and freedom and equality will be a very distant second.

    Hey ‘pop! Thanks for stopping by!

    I must say, this is one of the most inspired rants I’ve ever read. I completely agree with every word you’ve written.

    What else can I say? It is an honor to make your acquaintance! 😉 I hope you’ll be a frequent visitor.


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