Archive for March, 2009

Politics: Having your cake and eating it too

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Disclaimer: I occasionally smoke a hand-made imported cigar. I quit cigarettes 27 years ago and have never chewed.

“Having your cake and eating too” could apply to much of what’s going on in Washington these days – Senator Chris Dodd handing his AIG buddies millions of dollars in bonuses then criticizing them for taking the money, Obama promising not to force the burden of our economic mistakes on future generations while creating the largest and fastest-growing deficits in the history of Earth, and so on.

But I’m particularly amused by the reasoning of those who raise taxes on tobacco. Inevitably, these geniuses manage to do something I cannot – believe that both A and not A are true at the same time. I suppose this irrational ability is a consequence of the post-modernist belief that truth is relative:

Rational Person: “Is truth absolute?”
Post-Modernist: “There are no absolute truths.”
R P: “Really? none?”
P-M: “True. Absolutely none.”

According to the story cited above, the reason for raising the federal tax on cigarettes from $.39 to $1.01 is “to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children”. Rooting for the increase is the president of the American Heart Association:

The tax increase “is a terrific public health move by the federal government,” he said. “Every time that the tax on tobacco goes up, the use of cigarettes goes down.”

Wow! 33 billion bucks to spend on children and improved health for smokers who are forced to quit or cut back! Who wouldn’t want that? But there’s a more realistic question – which one do you want? Someone needs to explain to liberals that they can have one or the other, but not both. Either smokers keep smoking and keep coughing up the taxes (so to speak) to pay for children’s health insurance, or they cut way back, get healthier, and leave no one to pay for the insurance.

But liberals, the poster children for irrational public policy, obviously believe that cigarette smokers will simultaneously pay and not pay the tax; they will both smoke and not smoke.

And, of course, there’s another hallmark of liberalism here, hypocrisy:

Some policy analysts have questioned the wisdom of boosting tobacco taxes to finance health care for children. They argue that the fate of such a broad program should not depend on revenues derived from a minority of the adult population, many of whom have low incomes and are hooked on a habit.

There you have it, pure post-modern liberalism at its best.

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