Oh, hello there New York State government!
Didn't see you come in.
So, I know I'm part of an Elephant Man-esque minority, and am still a filthy filthy smoker, and it's terrible, and I should stop, and you just really want what's best for me with your new cigarette tax, but really, $4.25 per pack for New York City residents? You really have the gall to demand over 100% tax on anything?
Fuck you. Seriously.
Don't pretend that this is to keep people from smoking, because if you look at the numbers from this study which advocates cigarette taxes as a means to get people to quit, you'll notice that with a minor decrease in smoking comes a HUGE increase in revenues! I'm really happy for you! The claim that this is all related to covering health costs for smokers is plenty cute, and I respect the Rasputinian level of bullshit and dissembling that goes into it, but the fact is that as with speeding, local and state governments need people to keep on smoking, and fact need more people to smoke more.
As of 2005, the state of New York (including local government excise taxes) alone took in several billion dollars from tobacco.
It's a really nice dodge to cut income taxes on high tax brackets, and dump the responsibility on the largely less well off population of smokers, who are now paying for the entitlement under SCHIP which provides their own kids with health insurance. So, wouldn't they be better off not paying the tax and avoiding the overhead of a major government bureaucracy and simply paying to take their own kids to the doctor?
It's even more abhorrent because if these taxes were to have the stated effect, taxpayers would be seriously on the hook for entitlement programs.
No, I guess that would make too much sense.
If you had really wanted me to quit, the best way would have been to raise the price from $2.75 per pack all the way up to $8 when I was still a college student, or immediately afterwards. No, you instead chose to raise the taxes in the opposite way: we are all frogs in your slowly heating pot of water. Too complacent to react to another little change in price, we shell out the extra ten cents here, twenty cents there until we are staring down the reality of a ten dollar pack of cigarettes.
I've cut down, and I want to quit, don't get me wrong on that point... I am down from my long-standing pack a day to a ballpark of about four or five on any given day. However, I am going to make my decision when I am good and ready.
In the meantime?
I'm driving out to the reservation this weekend, where for less than half the price here in the city I will buy as many cartons of cigarettes as I can carry, because at least then I'll be supporting a business that isn't taking advantage of me and insulting my intelligence.
They need us badly, and we don't need this mooch riding along and cadging a couple of bucks every time we want to have a cigarette. The fact is, you can only flog the goose to a certain point before it will just die, and quit laying golden eggs.
I think I've gotten to that point.
Join me, fellow consumers. If there's a reservation in Mastic on Long Island, I'm pretty sure you can find one near you. Caravan with friends! Being cheap can be construed as a political statement, and isn't that just the best news ever?
"If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -- Mark Twain