July 20, 2007

Harsh but Honest

You know, I saw the headline this morning "Senate Panel Approves Huge Tobacco Tax To Fund Child Healthcare" and, well, it kinda pissed me off.

Yes, I do still smoke. I'd like to quit, but obviously not enough to have done so yet.

So, no I'm not happy to hear they plan on jackin' up the price of my cigarettes for any reason. Hell, when I first started I could buy a pack for 50 cents. I remember as a teenager sayin' if they ever went over a $1 I'd quit. Then it was $2. I even remember the first time I had to pay $3 for a pack of cigarettes in a bar vending machine.

But this? This is too much.

In Cook County the cigarettes I pay $3.23 a pack for in THE Valley cost me over $7. Can you imagine the cost after a HUGE tax increase? Oy.

When I was in Tampa I discovered the price of a pack had gone up over $2 a pack in the last 18 months. I never expected that.

But I was wondering, what is the economic demographic of smokers in the US. I tried googlin' it, but I couldn't find what I was looking for. So rather than work with hard data I will go with what I've observed. And I'll admit to one and all, I'm not always the most observant person. I get all caught up with what's in my head and, well, miss things. BUT - I do have opinions. Oh yes I do.

Seems to me that the majority of smokers I know are "workers". Demographics that hit the middle part of the economic scale. Most of the really wealthy folks I know either quit smoking or never started. Poor folks? Hell, they can't afford to even if they wanted to.

So we're talkin' middle America here. The folks that are averaging 10-15 hours a week overtime, either paid or unpaid. The folks that are makin' it on a month to month basis.

And those are the folks that we are going to "punish" for their nasty habit by forcing them to pay for a healthcare program for children.

Now, I'm all about the kids. Really. And I want 'em healthy and happy. But, and here's where I'll probably piss a few folks off, I think it's the Parents' responsibility to make that happen.

I didn't grow up with money. After Daddy died, things got very bleak. Mama didn't work for the 5 years after he was gone, so there was no health insurance.

Mama used something we don't hear a lot about these days. It's called Common Sense. Huh. Imagine that. Mama didn't use the ER or clinic to help her parent. If we had a fever, she used good ole fashioned remedies to try and bring it down. Now, of course when I actually broke things attached to my sister we had to go in, but over all, we didn't see a doctor all that much.

Now, thanks to my "industrialist" ex-husband I can tell you I've been poor. Dirt flippin' poor. No food kinda poor. POOR. And I had three kids that I had to worry about. Boys. Boys that were not always angels.

But I didn't expect anyone else, not even their mother at one point, to take over the burden of their health care. That was MY responsibility. I saw others take advantage of everything they could, but that just never has been my style.

So now, they want me to pay so that someone doesn't have to assume the responsibility of their own children. Yeah, not so happy about that.

The hard part is not making the babies. It's not even the giving birth. It's the years that follow. The nurturing, care and eduction.

So basically what my government is saying is that they want to punish those of us that fall within "middle America" for our bad habits, despite the fact that we are doin' all we can to "take care of our own".

No. Not an idea I go along with. Too reminiscent of The Nanny State. As harsh as this may sound - folks need to take care of their own. Period. Your children are NOT my responsibility.

Even if I am one of those nasty smokers.

Posted by Tammi at July 20, 2007 06:32 AM | TrackBack

1 - President Bush said he would veto it if they passed it

2 - Did you see what the new tax on Cigars are? $5 EACH

Because they feel cigars are something "Rich" folks only smoke.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at July 20, 2007 11:52 AM

As thirteen colonies, tobacco was the commodity that gave us the economical legs to stand up on.
I suppose you can say that tobacco is still the product that will be turned to when cash flow is needed.
I think there are plenty of other "sins" that can be taxed, but tobacco is the whipping boy right now, and it sounds sooo good....it's for
child healthcare.
If anyone resists the idea...they're anti
scam, scam, scam ..they'll still find a way to waste half of it.

Posted by: nancy at July 20, 2007 01:21 PM

QW,,,the tax increase would be $10.00 per cigar...not $5.00. That represents a 20,413% increase.

Posted by: marcus at July 20, 2007 03:10 PM

I don't smoke, but I don't like this one bit. They're trying to legislate morality again, and that never works... :/

Posted by: pam at July 20, 2007 03:29 PM

I agree with your points, 100%.

A very high tax increases the likelyhood of the black market using them as a source of profit from bypassing the taxes. That is how a lot of terrorism is being funded now.

I just learned that the nannies have succeed in limiting smoking in Las Vegas to "areas around the games or outside". Yep, the PC have even taken over SinCity....

Posted by: _Jon at July 20, 2007 08:20 PM
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