Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting Smoked

Amid all the hoopla of Obama's World Tour '09, the initial act of the Obama tax raising saga took place back home. Who felt the bite first? Was it the ultra-rich, like Obama pal Warren Buffet? Nah. Was it those shady real estate types, like Tony Rezko, who profited handsomely from the housing bubble? Nope. Was it Rev. Wright and his profitable political operation masquerading as a church? Not a chance. However, it was another group who happen to have been almost as enthusiastic about Obama as the three I just mentioned.

And the unlucky winners are . . . cigarette smokers. They got the first puff on the Obama tax smoke and it was a harsh one. Obama signed a law that raises federal cigarette taxes by more than 150% to $1.01 a pack. Yeow!! Insert hacking cough here. Now most of the people smoking are: you guessed it, poor. In a recent Gallup survey, 34% of people making $6,000 to $12,000 smoked. For those making more than $100,000 in the survey, only a little more than 10% smoked. Since Obama got 60% of the votes of those making $50,000 or less, it would seem these Obama lovers got duped. Perhaps, they fully expected and wanted to be taxed more. According to Joe Biden logic, they are all more patriotic than the rest of us. However, all these mental meanderings are rendered mute by the O-man himself.

In his speech at the Democratic convention in Denver, Obama said ". .. the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class." I would call less than $100,000 middle class, though maybe to Obama these folks are working poor and therefore, raising their taxes first doesn't qualify as breaking a campaign promise to the middle class. If if we allow Obama this lawyerly puff of smoke, there is still another problem, that dratted $250,000 pledge. In Dover, NH on September 12th, 2008, the smokestack in chief said "I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase." Having ditched this promise with only a lone AP news story as a witness, we all know why those families will never "see" this tax increase until it hits them. With legions of media sycophants, any substantive story about Obama is quickly drowned out with puff pieces about the First Dog or Michelle's lip gloss. For the vast majority of the news media, I feel exactly the same way LBJ did about Time magazine's Hugh Sidey, accusing him of being a "goddamn whore" for the other party.

Returning to the smoke room, here's another thought. This tax is supposedly being done to bestow health care for four million children. Funny thing though, with Obama care on the way (price tag $1 to $3 trillion!!) why was this needed at all. If you going to overhaul the whole system, why bother raising taxes for a program soon to be swallowed in the sea change of health care reform?

I'm guessing Obama care is going to cost way more than planned, though not a soul on god's green earth really knows what it will end up costing. The "placeholder" or first installment is around $600 to $700 billion. So that's just for starters. Odds are President Smoke Screen is going to need every single dime he can squeeze from everybody and anybody. As a constantly reviled group, smokers are the low hanging fruit. Or maybe, as a smoker himself Obama wanted to clock them as some kind of way for him to stop puffing.

In psychological terms, substitution works sometimes. The man who wrote Cigarettes are Sublime, supposedly substituted writing about cigarettes rather than smoking them as a way to kick the habit. One things for sure, there's no substitute for the voracious maw of government when it comes to increasing taxes for colossal undefined programs. Also, there's no alternative way to deal with lying grandstanding politicians. When they lie, it's best to just depart or tell them you're going out for a smoke and don't come back.

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