Raising the cigarette tax in Kentucky is a tax on behavior and would be immoral.
Well, Leland Conway of the Conservative Edge is half right. Raising the cigarette tax is a tax on behavior. As far as it being immoral that’s just plain stupid. I just can’t find that passage in my bible that says “Thou shall not tax cigarettes.”
Making a pseudo logical argument, Conway suggests we should tax other behaviors.
If we are going to use this line of logic then we must also conclude that we need to tax obesity, or at least behaviors that lead to it. People who are obese also have many costly health problems. Should we put a $1 tax on Twinkies?
…….But suggest raising the tax on a bottle of beer by a dollar and see what happens.
His conclusion is that:
……punishing a minority of the populace to achieve this goal is made no more acceptable. It will certainly hurt small businesses and increase untaxed black market tobacco activity. In addition, it will ultimately hurt those it was intended to help. Taxing behavior is nothing more than a sneaky way for the government to expand the size of its treasury power.
The conclusion is about a quarter right, taxing cigarettes, like any other tax, expands the size of the treasury. I don’t see how sneaky applies, after all aren’t both of us blabbering about it on blogs and isn’t in the newspapers.
A few other points:
I like a cold frosty malt beverage as much as the next guy and I could live with a tax increase on beer. Taxing a Twinkie works for me too and I’ll go as far as increasing the taxing all of those fast food emporiums that are intent on super-sizing our rear ends.
I don’t have a problem with sin taxes.
Usually the morality and small business coalition against a government action occurs when there is a vote on a locality going wet. The bootleggers and the local messengers of God rally together to stop this ungodly and unprofitable activity, thus saving the masses from paying another tax on liquor.
But that argument doesn’t play here, if we embrace the idea that increasing the tax tobacco will hurt small business and create a black market, perhaps we should reconsider the laws against cooking up meth in kitchen. After all aren’t we stifling an entrepreneur and creating a black market?
Finally let me give you another way to tax behavior. Let’s tax all of the vehicles on the road according to their emissions, not how much you paid for it. I can’t wait to hear why this is a bad idea.