Next week, the World Health Organization (WHO), a group of incompetent nanny-statist bureaucrats who failed miserably to prevent the Ebola crisis from getting out of hand in West Africa (something that falls into the category of “WHO’s primary mission”), plans to double down on a failed scheme it first tried to put into place a couple years ago.
At a meeting that begins on Monday, they’re going to push for every country in the world to hike cigarette taxes dramatically, which would result in a de facto global tobacco tax.
“The World Health Organization will meet behind closed doors in Russia later this month to vote on a proposal that would encourage most of world’s countries to impose a huge tax on tobacco, one that would double or even triple the price of cigarettes and threaten real injury to U.S. tobacco growers in Kentucky and North Carolina.”
Exactly how “huge” will this tax be? A WHO technical manual to which the draft documentation for the meeting refers “Recommends that tobacco excise taxes account for at least 70 percent of the retail prices for tobacco products.”
Last time the WHO tried this (two years ago), a bunch of countries gave the plan a thumbs down because – shock! – it violated countries’ fiscal sovereignty. Bummer for the WHO, but pretty predictable. Countries usually like being able to raise and lower taxes to suit their budgetary needs, rather than outsourcing fiscal responsibility (or lack thereof) to a bunch of people in Switzerland who have zero interest in maintaining a tax base or paying for things like a country’s defense.
This time, it might stand a better chance of getting through, though, because the US – which would probably raise hell about this scheme, since as I’ve noted above is a big tobacco producer and a big, fat global tobacco tax would be pretty bad for a lot of American businesses – is going to boycott the meeting. This is because the meeting will be held in Moscow. And even Barack Obama isn’t keen enough on socialism or kissing the UN’s butt to want to to send diplomats or health officials to pal around with Vladimir Putin while he looks like a super-awesome hero for hosting a big nanny-stater fest in his capital. And the WHO in its infinite wisdom didn’t clock that holding a big conference in Russia might cause some people to take a pass on attending. (Or did they? Maybe it helps move a scheme like this along if no one shows up to take note of what the WHO is trying to do. I mean, last time, they allegedly blocked members of the media from covering their proceedings).
Anyway, let’s all hope that whoever does show up to this conference likes maintaining control over their own fiscal policy enough to tell the WHO to shove off. Then, we can go through this whole rigmarole again in another two years, probably in Pyongyang or Tehran or something.