Taxing The Poor

Democrats. You just can’t make them up. Nor would you want to. They are the great nannies of America, that last line of defense, standing between us and the unrelenting scourges of salt, toys, crosses, and liberty. Taxers of the rich, defenders of the poor! And taxers of the poor. Wait, wha …?

Yes, once again, the nanny-staters have come up against the law of unintended consequences. This time, in the form of a sin tax. From Jazz Shaw, writing at Hot Air:

Democrats need to figure out a way to fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and do so without running up more debt. (Which the GOP isn’t going to allow at this point, obviously.) So what’s the solution? More taxes, of course! And true to form, they’ll go back to the well of “sin taxes” which generate the least opposition in public, but disproportionately affect the poor.


At issue is Senate Bill 1403, a bill that would provide funding by “essentially doubling the excise tax on cigarettes and small cigars.”

Now I know what you’re thinking “Hey the Monopoly guy ain’t that poor, and he smokes TINY cigars.” Well I would answer that A) he’s a tiny dude and B) if you want to get him good, why not tax monocles? But nevertheless it’s true, sin taxes do generally impact the poor more than the wealthy. We saw this the last time they increased the cigarette tax.

Behavior modification by taxation is a poorly thought out idea. But it’s a favorite of liberals. Remember the infamous video that went around in 2008 where people were advocating huge taxes on gasoline to encourage .. greenness I guess? Or the so-called “car tax” idea? It’s not behavior modification, it’s behavior punishment. Unjust punishment, as driving and smoking are perfectly legal; and the former usually perfectly necessary. Here’s Jazz Shaw again, on the cigarette tax:

If you want to have a discussion about the harmful effects of smoking, then fine. Let’s have that debate. But the real question here remains … is it part of the government’s job to regulate this behavior? And, if so, why don’t the Democrats simply push to make tobacco a controlled substance like any other drug and ban its general use?

Good questions. I would just add one more question for sponsor Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): Why do you hate poor people?