Puritanical Legislation and Ignorance
The purposed $10 per stick cigar tax is set to be the best example of legislative puritans ruining the fun for the rest of us. For one, the bill forgets the fact that cigar smokers are not like cigarette smokers in that we don’t necessarily smoke them everyday and will simply quit buying them if the price jumps up 40%. The senate is hoping that such a ridiculous tax on fun will raise money for children’s health care, which it would if it weren’t for the fact that puritanical taxes rely on us to continue using the taboo substance. Even with cigarette taxes, most state governments will need the same number of smokers in 2017 as they have today in order to continue programs that heavily rely on smoking taxes. Given the anti-smoking climate that the puritans have created, it seems unlikely that they’ll have these numbers.
The other impact that many considering this tax forget is the impact on peoples of developing nations that manufacture and import cigars. The Chicago Tribune reports the impact it may have on Nicaragua, which last year exported 56 million cigars to America. The fear among Nicaraguans is that the loss of such a market may very well cause a massive loss in jobs. Such a scenario has been seen before, namely in the distilling and brewing industry of Ireland which took a massive hit during America’s prohibition. Maria Jose Morales, a Nicaraguan cigar maker, echoes a wish I share, “I wish we could bring those senators and congressmen down here to tell them that it’s nice to help the children of the United States, but look what you are doing to the people here.” The problem with the men of capitol hill is just that; when they get a crusade in their heads they blaze on and forget the global impact they might create from ridiculous legislation. In the end, tax gouging cigar smokers will not hurt the tobacco corporations people hate so much, but the farmers and manufacturers that politicians claim to love so much.