Cigarette tax picks on most hopeless


POSTED: Sunday, February 08, 2009

President Obama has signed legislation that will help millions of children get health care coverage but, sadly, will impose economic hardship on some of the most pitiable, wretched members of society: Cigarette smokers.

I'm all for helping children and keeping them healthy but why does it have to be done on the backs of a bunch of pathetic nicotine addicts who are facing painful, miserable deaths hawking up blackened lung chunks and breathing from SCUBA tanks full of pure oxygen strapped to their backs?

Smokers should be pitied and aided in their battle to free themselves from the Devil's death sticks instead of being considered simply an endlessmonetary source for the government's revenue stream.

Nevertheless, Obama signed the bill that heaps addition pain on those poor smoky souls to pay for children's health care. The increased tax on cigarettes now, I believe, raises the cost of a single pack of lung darts to $13.57.

It seems to be a curious, almost perverse method of financing to force addicts who are ruining their health to pay for the better health of others. It is something like taxing crack heads to pay for playground equipment or taxing opium eaters to pay for the public school lunch programs. You know where you could really raise some money to help health care? Put a thumping big tax on the use iron lung machines. Once someone is relegated to an iron lung machine just to breathe, you got the sorry bugger right where you want him, from a financial capitalization point of view.

Now, proponents of taxing the most pathetic members of society will say “;sin taxes”; on booze, butts and, eventually, butter, balogna and Big Macs, is a way to force citizens into healthier lifestyles. If people don't want to pay taxes on cigarettes they can stop smoking. But financing worthy government programs by taxing smokers depends on people continuing to smoke. If smokers quit smoking, the little kiddies wouldn't get their checkups. And if a lot of smokers did quit, the government would just raise the taxes even higher on phlegm stems so that eventually three or four smokers would be supporting the entire health industry. And packs of cigarettes would carry the Surgeon General's Warning: “;Caution. Quitting Smoking Can Be Detrimental To The Health National Budget.”;

I think to be fair, every time you raise taxes on bad things like cigs and beer, you should raise taxes on good things like tofu and sprouts. Why can't healthy people carry some of the burden for financing the health care of our children. Besides, healthy people live a lot longer than nicotine junkies. Tofu and spout eaters are going to be around forever, putting a lot of financial strain on the Social Security system and mass transit. Maybe there should be a “;Longevity Tax.”;

Say whatever nasty, degrading things you will about cigarette smokers and boozers, but at least they have the decency to die young and make room for the next generation.