As of April 1st, 2009, Oregon State taxes on cigarettes increased by 59¢ per pack, and Federal taxes added another $1.01 per pack! This means that a pack of cigarettes will have a median price of about $6.00 per pack. Federal taxes on loose bulk tobacco, the kind used by the "roll your own" crowd, jumped from $1.09 per pound to $23.48 per pound! Statistically, this will create a new "class" of person. The working-class, low-income person is, statistically, far more likely to be the user of tobacco products, than are the middle- and upper-income persons. Assuming that "statistic" (I have not heard an exact percentage) is accurate, the new class will be the "well-to-do" working-class, lower-income person, who, regardless of the cost will refuse to surrender their tobacco habit, thereby making him or her the envy of his or her working-class neighbors. There's also an additional 50¢ per bottle tax on alcoholic beverages. This has been referred to as a "sin tax" for years, but it is, in fact, a pleasure tax. Tax those things that people enjoy, and you will reap greater profits for the Government than if you taxed things like cauliflower, vasectomies, or root canals! Certainly not everyone enjoys either or both of the aforementioned "sins", but enough people do enjoy them to make it very profitable for the Government. "So what?" you say "I don't smoke or drink, so it's no skin off my nose!" Well what do you enjoy? Fishing? Already taxed via "license fees". Boating? Already taxed via "registration fees". If you look at it from a practical standpoint, permits and fees are nothing more than a means of taxing people who enjoy certain activities. The "bowling fee" is probably coming soon, along with "golf permits", "softball licenses" and "Frisbee fees". Neither the Federal nor State Government "owns" the wild game of the USA, but the State sells you a "hunting license". Suppose that deer you just shot wandered over from one of the neighboring states just this morning? Does Oregon have the right to charge you a license fee to shoot a non-resident animal from the state of Washington or California? It's not like Oregon had anything invested in the maintenance of that animal. It's wild game! "Wild" implies that it belongs to nobody... "hunting license" is just a Government euphemism for another tax. And those "game tags"... one more tax!
The Obama administration seems to believe that we can be taxed into prosperity by adopting a more European tax standard - like 40+%. If that works so well, why are the Europeans experiencing the same kinds of difficulties the USA is having? We are not the Europeans!!
We are the United States of America, and there is no apology necessary for our ability to succeed in a free-market economy or to overcome adversity! Most Europeans envy us our successes, many resent us - not because we acted "superior", but because they felt inferior after we saved their collective asses in WWII. Yet even those that resent us still respect American technology, American creativeness, Americas willingness to help, and our military power.
Personally, I refuse to support his taxes, and smoked my last cigarette at 2pm, on April 3rd 2009! So far, so good.
There's an outside chance that I could be wrong about this... about the same chance that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has of becoming the Grand Ayatollah of Iran!