Saturday, January 24, 2009

So, you want to cut tobacco-related deaths?

The U.S. Senate will soon pass a cigarette tax of 61 cents per pack to justify removing the income cap from SCHIP eligibility. This also sucks out whatever oxygen was left in Gov. Steve Beshear's effort to raise taxes 70 cents.

But all is not lost.

Beshear's big plan was to raise revenues so he could keep spending, but cigarette tax increases are usually very disappointing when counted on in this way. Of course, he already knows this.

What if we, instead, raised Medicaid co-pays, cut benefits, and sought other, more realistic ways to provide a smoking disincentive for smokers who are likely to not be able to afford the medical consequences of their expensive habit?

That way, we could move away from trying to expand government's size based on revenues from an activity we claim to want to eliminate and give smokers more reasons to consider the wisdom in smoking themselves to death.


Jeff said...

Did you ever get that video of our governor's reaction to David Williams saying that we should have a state ban on smoking? I think it would be hilarious to see.

David Adams said...

I took a snapshot and posted it. Thanks for reminding me.

Jeff said...

wow... totally worth the wait.

He kinda has a shocked Emperor Palpatine look going on.

Hempy said...

Interesting that a social program BGP blog doesn't want to touch is the incarceration of non-violent marijuana users.

Apparently neither does State Senator David Williams (R-SD16) have any cojones either to suggest just such a cut.

Expanding government's size is not necessarily bad. Especially if its function are to meet the needs of the people. That's the definition of "good government," which our founders intended.

Granted, good government is anathema to Republicans, because they are not too keen on American values.

To have adequate revenues to meet the needs of good government will require a tax system based on proportion, another concept that's a bane to conservatives. However, proportional taxation is the definition of "fairness" and was advocated by Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in Federalist Paper 12:

"The ability of a country to pay taxes must always be proportioned, in a great degree, to the quantity of money in circulation, and to the celerity with which it circulates. Commerce, contributing to both these objects, must of necessity render the payment of taxes easier, and facilitate the requisite supplies to the treasury."

David Adams said...


You may notice I have never deleted a single one of your comments. This space is yours to make whatever case you wish. It's not a major issue to me, that's all. Work on your persuasiveness.

Jeff said...


For what it's worth, I think you're right about the hemp/marijuana debate... though, taxing the stuff can't fix our problems-once the guys in Frankfort get a taste of the additional revenue; they would go on a spending frenzy.

your anti republican remarks are pretty absurd.

have you read about 'the fair tax'? it is a proportional tax that a ton of conservatives support. In fact, it is pretty similar to some legislation that Bill Farmer has proposed (I would figure BGP would support both measures).