Sunday, March 07, 2010

Stock up now

The tax on pipe tobacco is heading drastically upwards:

Just about every member of the pipe smoking community should already know about H.R. 4439, the Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2010. It proposes to raise the tax on pipe tobacco 775% from $2.8311 to $24.78 per pound.

Since I happen to smoke pipe tobacco, this issue is nearer to my heart than it may be to yours. But it should be aggravating to anyone who cares at all for liberty. If the Government can place prohibitive taxes on any economic good, it can make them all but illegal. I'm not certain we'll see a black market for tobacco emerge, like the ones we already have for drugs which are actually illegal, but as the taxes continue to increase, that day becomes ever nearer at hand. In the meantime, we must simply pay exorbitant prices for a legal good.

The article I linked to contains an interview with an entrepreneur who sells roll your own tobacco and pipe tobacco. It's instructive for two reasons: first, in that it demonstrates how decisions by bureaucrats destroy working sectors of the economy without the least concern. Both the entrepreneur and his customers benefited by the free exchange of tobacco for money; they will now have to pay more dearly--but at least the State can make steal a bit of money from its citizens.

Second: regulation hurts small companies more than it hurts corporations. To be in favor of excessive regulation and yet to be anti-corporation is to reveal oneself to be ignorant, or a moron, or both.

These oppressive bastards are going to make everybody in pipe tobacco register in their states. Folks in roll-your-own and cigarettes do now. Every year you have to get your brand certified. In terms of incrementalism, that’s one of the next steps, and another thing to destroy manufacturers because the paperwork is so regressive and so time-consuming, it’s more than a small company can sustain.

The people in government can do it because they don’t have to pay for their payroll. They can just steal more money from taxpayers. They can add employees ad nauseam to process all the paperwork because they don’t have to produce anything to pay all the salaries. For a business it’s a little different. It gets to a point that a business just says screw it, I can’t afford the paperwork. It’s time to shutter the store. We’re getting to that point.

It would be hyperbole to suggest that this is evidence that we no longer live in a free society. But it is telling that this sort of thing can happen without anyone really noticing. Sure, Pipes Magazine picked up on it, but if Lew Rockwell hadn't linked to it, I'm not sure how many people would have noticed. The next thing you know, Obama and the Democrats will extend the PATRIOT Act...

1 comment:

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