Thursday, July 19, 2007

You Know I Wasn't Going To Avoid Talking About This....

You Know I Wasn’t Going To Stay Silent About The Proposed Tax On Cigars

Frequent patrons of JG&AH know that I’m an avid cigar smoker. It’s a taste that I picked up my junior year at FSU as I commiserated with other columnists of The Independent Perspective, the school's only circulating Right-of-Center publication. We’d go to dinner at the now defunct Nicholson Farmhouse in Havana, FL, finish off a large steak dinners, and sit on the patio of Nicholson’s until the wee hours of the morning chain smoking cigars, talking politics and yukking it up in general. Some of my best memories.

Once I entered the consulting business and started golfing, my love for this pleasure continued. Many shop-talk sessions with senior consultants blossomed over the cloud of a Punch Double Maduro or an Arturo Fuente Rothschilds.

And of course, when Jeff’s Garage and Ale House opened its doors in 2005, for the first five months you could cut the smoke with a knife it was so thick. Last year for our anniversary, my wife bought me a box of Punch Double Maduro Magnums – a fantastic gift. Every weekend between the History Channel and Cubs Games, there are plenty of butts in the ashtray. Its one of the joys of simple living to me.

So when I get wind of this, courtesy of Donald Luskin at his website “The Conspiracy To Keep You Poor And Stupid”.

THIS IS NOT A TYPO From the St. Petersburg Times:
It's no mathematical error: The federal government has proposed raising taxes on premium cigars, the kind Newman's family has been rolling for decades in Ybor City, by as much as 20,000 percent.

As part of an increase in tobacco taxes designed to pay for children's health insurance, the nickel-per-cigar tax that has ruled the industry could rise to as much as $10 per cigar.

"I'm not sure in the history of man, since our forefathers founded the country in 1776, that there's ever been a tax increase of 20,000 percent," said [Eric] Newman, who runs the Tampa business founded by grandfather Julius Caesar Newman. "They had the Boston Tea Party for less than this."

...Many casual smokers are well heeled enough to plunk down $10 for a premium puff. But would they pay $15 to $20 for the same pleasure?

"Why don't we just go out of business?" Newman said. "Here, you can run our company, Mr. Government."

I come unhinged.

My wife and I married late in life and have purposely decided not to have children. When we made this decision, my wife was just entering her late 30s, so the window was still open. We could have carried on my family name, something that is important to many in my family. But, we decided not to.

The reason is not because I do not like children. My wife and I have a niece and nephew that we dote over as if they were our own children. The back bone of America is the traditional family. No one denies that.

We decided to avoid having children because my wife and I have decided that, to give a child everything that he/she needs to have a quality life, you have to be willing to sacrifice quite a bit financially. We both work, we both have become accustomed to not having to deal with the additional financial burden of raising kids in the kind of quality life that the child deserves. If the child arrives in our home, suddenly, how we go about spending our money and saving for the future changes drastically. So, we decided to be childless and financially free, so to speak. Selfish of us? Maybe, but I like to think of it as responsible. I enjoy sitting for hours in JG&AH, smoking a cigar, drinking a Miller Lite and listening to and watching the Cubs with Pat & Ron - especially after a stressful day at work. My ability to spend both the time and the money doing so would not be available if I had children to support and spend time with.

So when I read in the aforementioned St Pete Times article that this tax – as much as $10 a cigar, depending on its base price (ten dollars is the max, it will go from roughly 1% to 53%, which is still unacceptable) – is going toward “Children’s Health Care Programs”, you can imagine my incredulity. My incredulity increased further when I read in the article that “the program distributes payments to the states to help buy coverage for kids not poor enough for Medicaid.”

What?? If the kids are “not poor enough for Medicaid”, they obviously have parents who work and make money, correct? So why am I, after the decision I have made, being forced to pay for someone else’s child’s medical coverage? Because, Jeff, you see, its for the children.

I’m disgusted with politicians of any stripe who mask their own offensive acts in the disguise of “doing it for the children.” I’ve been very clear in these pages about my attitude about “for the children.” When I see someone in office not committed to the spread of Capitalism around the world, and then tells the public that his self-serving legislation is “for the children”, I call him a manipulative Power Whore.

Have to tip the hat to Rush Limbaugh, he made this point on his show yesterday. Why not tax the Cartoon Network, pre sweetened cereals or something that the kids or the parents of the kids enjoy rather than those of us who did not procreate for responsible reasons?

We have to fight this nonsense.

For more on my view of Anti Smoking Legislation, check this out from this spring.