22 Million New Smokers Needed by 0bama

Its for the kids…somebody has to pay for all this pork.

22 Million New Smokers Needed: Funding SCHIP Expansion with a Tobacco Tax
[i]"Members of Congress seeking to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover children from wealthier families are exploring new ways to pay for it. The Senate Finance Committee generally has agreed to reauthorize SCHIP for five years with a $35 billion expansion funded by an increase in the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents per pack.[1]

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."[/i]..excerpt from article.

Having gone thru a massive tax increase in California in 2000 (on tobacco products for this exact reason), I can say that all this does is create monies which will be diverted to other interests. The “children” will still go wanting.

from article:

Current plans to fund SCHIP expansions with an increase in the tobacco tax would move more Americans further away from stable, affordable coverage. Fortunately, alternatives exist that focus on low-income children, empower families to own their health insurance, and make affordable private coverage a reality for all. Congress should recognize the long-term advantages to these alternatives and the detriments of the proposed SCHIP expansions.[/i][/b]"

Ain’t gonna happen. Tobacco is a favorite whipping-boy and cash cow for do-gooder politicos…Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

I hate any kind of “sin” taxes. They’re a cowardly source of fundraising that pins expenses that nobody wants to pay for on the “evil” people that smoke or drink or gamble or whatever.

I find the fact that the money raises never reaches the intended source more disgusting, i.e. the cigarette and gasoline taxes in CA going to the General fund instead of to anti-smoking stuff or alternative energy grants. I think that’s the more reprehensible and cowardly action than taxing ‘sins’.

Evil Politician A: We need more money because we can’t be damned to spend less than we collect! What should be do?

Evil Politician B: Well they won’t like us raising taxes again so soon, and we already raided the Social Security fund 5 times over … I know! Let’s raise taxes on cigarettes/alcohol/gambling/porn! We’ll spend lots of money on glitzy ad campaigns to convince voters that the money will go towards prevention! When they aren’t looking, we’ll add a line in saying that in the case of a budget emergency we can divert it to the General Fund. (Budget emergency qualifying as anytime we don’t have space change for blow or hookers)

Evil Politician A: That’s brilliant! Give yourself another raise. It’s not like you pay your taxes anyways!

Well, that’s pretty much the flip side. If these taxes ever went directly to solving actual harms caused by cigarettes or gasoline maybe I wouldn’t mind so much. As generally used, however, they are just a means of getting a minority of the population to bear the cost of something. I know proponents of the taxes will say you don’t have to buy cigarettes/alcohol/whatever – but giving up something I would otherwise enjoy is still a cost, just not a monetary one.