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For a President that smokes…. Not So Smoker Friendly

It appears that both smokers and non smokers are feeling a little upset and put off by the latest government tax increase on cigarettes. Obama voted into play a tax hike on cigarettes that is geared to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Now no one has a problem with equal healthcare for children of all economical statuses but there is a feeling of unfairness that it must be paid by 1 group of persons. Plus any 5th grader can see the obvious flaw… but we’ll get to that later.

I’ve said for years that taxes on cigarettes suck but it’s part of the pain of luxury. I’ve mumbled like any other smoker and went along with it saying that I’d quit when it got too expensive. Well that time is at hand and the reasoning behind it is quite unjust. Not because “Waaaah, its not fair, blah blah I enjoy smoking…” but more because of WHY the taxes are being set and for what purposes.

They are funding SCHIP with this insane increase and they are saying that hopefully over a million smokers or more will quit due to the cost increase. 10 – 50 cents are high taxes. $1.00+ tax increase in one fell swoop is insane! Especially when it will be followed by another one nearly as large. But here are my personal issues with it:

* Everyone by now should know that I am anti-Socialism. I don’t feel I should HAVE to pay anyone else’s way, including their parents, siblings, kids, friends, etc. I may VOLOUNTEER to do so but being strong armed by Uncle SAM into it really presses my buttons. Well that’s what this tax is. I do not have children (yet) but I am forced through this tax to pay 10-20$ a carton for someone else’s child’s healthcare? WHAT?!!?! Ok, I’ll even say that a small tax increase would be ok but why are smokers the ones funding everyone else’s problem?!?!?! How about a 10 cent tax on cigarettes, 10 on gas, 10 on alcohol, 10 on designer purses, 10 on fast food items, etc etc.

The government could actually collect more revenue by nickel and diming across the board without picking one group to pay for it. Here’s the other plus: EVERYONE gets to pay for it in one way or the other. Wouldn’t it be nice to pop babies out at random and let someone else pay for their costs? “Hey, I don’t smoke so I don’t have to worry about it, GET IN HERE MARGERET, lets make s’more babies!” What’s next, Will buying Kerosene for heating eventually fund feeding some other person’s 9 kids through lunch ticket meal plans at school? Cmon!

* People say that smokers are a huge problem when it comes to the rise in healthcare costs. Taken from FoxNews.com, “smoking kills about 440,000 Americans a year and costs the nation 193$ billion in medical expenses and lost productivity. ” Well, there is no denying that smoking is bad for you. There is also no denying that it costs in the long run but there isn’t anyone that can honestly say it alone is the largest or main cause in surge in healthcare costs. What about the obesity rate of Americans? That is also driving up the cost in medical aid.

Taken from MSNBC

“Six in ten people in the United States are overweight, with a third crossing the boundary into obesity. The extra weight leads to at least 100,000 deaths annually. Obese people are at a much higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.”

“Even kids are getting fatter. Nineteen percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11 are overweight, up from 4% in the 1970s.”

“The economic cost of all this extra fat is immense. Direct medical costs are easiest to calculate, coming in at $93 billion, or 9 percent, of our national medical bill. But there are other costs as well that are harder to pin down.”

“Obese people miss more work, costing employers something on the order of $4 billion. Because people are fatter, airlines spend more on jet fuel, and the obese themselves spend more on gas.”

Now these figures aren’t recent, they’ve gone up but the information will get you a start. So why don’t obese people who are addicted to food have to pay an extra dollar per McBurger? Why don’t person’s who drink alcohol have to pay and extra dollar a beer? Why don’t, why don’t, why don’t. Folks, we could do this all day.

I’m not here to pick on anyone, I’m just bringing up the fact that one group is being directly discriminated against because America is TOO politically correct to call out these other groups. But the evil smokers….

O.K. ladies and gentleman now for the 5th grade logic you’ve all been waiting for… and I’m sure you’ve already thought this to yourself.

All of these non smokers are pushing for this bill because it suits their own interests. 1) It fully funds an expensive program that they themselves are not having to pay out for. 2) It helps decline the amount of smokers.

Here’s the question for all of those aforementioned persons: When smokers can no longer afford to smoke and you already have this 50-100 Billion a year program rolling… where is the government going to turn for money when the cigarette revenues are down? OMG! YOU! Yes, you will be there to pick up the tab and join the rest of us in funding everyone else’s healthcare.

If smokers are bringing down the healthcare industry with our large costs…. then lets tax cigarettes like we are about to and put it into a fund to pay for OUR OWN hospital bills. Well there’s an idea! No, I didn’t think of that one. But apparently no one on Capital Hill did either.

Other Notes: (Taken from heritage.org)

While a tobacco tax is a politically popular funding source, it has several significant shortcomings:

· A tobacco tax disproportionately burdens low-income Americans, lacks long-term stability, and ultimately results in significant shifting of health care costs onto others.

· With the number of smokers already declining, a tobacco tax would further reduce the number of smokers, thereby eroding the funding source.

· To produce the revenues that Congress needs to fund SCHIP expansion through such a tax would require 22.4 million new smokers by 2017.

Around half of smokers are in families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL), so increasing the tobacco tax would burden the families in the income class that SCHIP and Medicaid are trying to help.

How do YOU feel about it?

– Jason

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