Smokers have been targets for years. They should become wise to every possible avenue toward dealing with that. From MSNBC News, March 20, 2009, Is that AIG Tax Constitutional? (stored) by Ken Strickland:
While the House acted at warp speed yesterday to pass a tax bill designed to recoup most of the bonus money given to AIG executives, expect the Senate Republicans to slow up the process next week — some by echoing the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution. While there was strong bipartisan support in House-passed version, it’s unclear where most Senate Republicans stand. The Senate version on the tax bill would impose a 70% excise tax on all retention bonuses given since the beginning of this year. It would apply to companies that received federal bailout money, including AIG. . . . "It is wrong," said Republican Judd Gregg in a statement today, "to propose to use the taxing authority of the government in a manner that is arbitrary, punitive, and targeted on a single group of people who they have deemed as having acted improperly." While not calling it "unconstitutional," Gregg’s words seem to align with the sentiments in the Constitution. Addressing Congress directly it says, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." (Article 1, Sec 9.) . . . In the simplest terms, that article prohibits legislation punishing or penalizing a specific person or group without trial. . . . Concluding his written statement, Gregg said that the Senate bill would undermine the credibility of the U.S. tax system and "create an atmosphere where any group that offends the sensibilities of the majority may be at risk for punitive tax treatment."
Persons who smoke may choose to pray with uncommon fervor to their deity of choice that the new tax on a hundred-million-plus in executive bonuses at AIG are litigated and then rejected by US courts.
Objections to that tax passed by Congress this week are based on punitively taxing a single group of people deemed to have acted improperly or a group that offends the sensibilities of the majority, even though the actions complained of were legal.
Well, fancy that . . . ! The above objection is the precise focus of advocacy for ever-increasing cigarette taxes that anti-tobacco activist groups such as Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have used for more than a decade. It is also the mindset of politicians who vote for cigarette taxes. We could very well wind up with strong legal precedent that can be applied to support restricting or rolling back punitive cigarette taxes.
The above article should also be carefully reviewed by those who couldn’t care less about taxing smokers because they believe it does not affect them. The Democrat Congress now taxing corporate executives they choose to be offended by is the same Democrat Congress that passed new tobacco taxes to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Which merely proves again that, once bitten by the Anti-Mentality of substituting hate for sound public policy, the virus injected spreads to others as well. AIG executives are now experiencing the hurtful consequences of intolerance-mongering that persons who smoke have felt for years.
Yes, there are many who feel quite justified in hating the smell of $165 million in bonuses going to those we taxpayers are bailing out. They are entitled to feel that way. But a larger question looms: is choosing to hate a legitimate basis for federal and state taxation?
The above brings to mind the first work that Norm Kjono wrote for FORCES and which Gian Turci posted to the site in 1997: "The Trough Skimmer". The illustration is by David A. Kjono. (One day the piece will be rewritten to correct typos, but its original form seems to be most appropriate here.)
It’s amazing that we now see how that obscure, but highly dangerous, species has proliferated during the twelve years since the first Public Safety Alert was published about it. Perhaps now that the species is biting the “rich and (in)famous”, a precedent could be set, which may help to eradicate it for everyone.