Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hey A, How Did Obama Vote on This?

Today, the Senate passed a bill that would fund a children's health program (S-CHIP) by increasing taxes on tabacco. Taxes on packs of cigarrettes would go up to $1.00 a pack. And ... A, are you sitting? ... taxes on cigars would go up from 5 cents per cigar to $3 - $10 per cigar. You read that right. The Senate bill had an increase to $3 while the House had an increase to $10 per cigar!! The President said he would veto the bill, but the Senate passed it with a veto-proof 68 votes. Obama, by the way, was one of those yea votes.


A said...

Crap. So, when will this bill take effect?

Time to stock up!

Dude, at those prices, you might be on your own from now on. =(

Robb said...

Yeah, that is crazy, isn't it? I can't imagine how small cigar shops are going to make it. Occassional cigar smokers like me will just never buy again.

There still are some things that have to happen - it has to go to conference where the Senate and House bills get merged. Who knows what the tax will be coming out of there - anywhere from 3-10, I would guess.

Then, it has to go back to the Senate and House for final passage. And then to the President who said he will veto it. Hopefully he will. The Senate has the votes to override the veto, but the House doesn't. So, hopefully all will turn out ok.

But yikes. $10 more per cigar? I can't believe.

Besides all that - the bill itself provides government sponsored health care for children up to - are you ready for this - the age of 25!!!! The income level for a family of 4 is $82,000!!!!! And, it provides no-questions-asked government sponsored health care for the children of illegal aliens.

I can't believe this bill passed.

Matthew said...

Wake up and smell the creeping, backdoor socialism, comrades. :-(

It's quite ingenious really: they're using a traditional sin tax (smokers have been the politicians' whipping boys for years because nobody works harder for you than a junkie and nobody, not even smokers, will stand up for "those damn, dirty smokers'") to fund the first glorious stage of socialized medicine (after 25 years they'll be saying, "well they can't be without it now--lets' extend it to 45" and so forth). In a sense, it's actually a thing of beauty (brings a tear to my eye, even..sniff).

Of course, they're (say it with me, folks) doing it for the children: "are you suggesting, sir, that the little children DON'T deserve free (is anything ever free?) health care--you monster!" This pretty much makes the legislation bulletproof: no politician wants to be seen coming out against the poor innocent little children. And when socialized medicine "succeeds" (and they will come up with numbers showing what a success it is--you can torture numbers via statistics to make them say anything), there will be nothing to stop the policy wonks, bureaucrats, and other control freaks from sticking their noses into anything and everything. Maybe they won't have much success, but I'm pretty sure they'll try. It depends on how much momentum they can generate (God-willing, it won't be much).

You see, there's no real conspiracy to turn this into the United Socialized States of Amercia--it just might possibly happen because of the actions of a combination of well-meaning folks (of course, we all know what the road to Hell is paved with), self-serving politicians, and plain old control freaks coupled with a sonambulent public (if you listen closesly, you can hear the snoring).

In my opinion, this sort of thing is pretty much inevitable when people start trying to legislate morality and replace God with The State in society. People learn to look the government when they used to look to the Hand of Providence or themselves. They come to expect hand-outs and want The State to tell them what they can and can't do (thinking for yourself is just such a hassle, man...).

You will have friends and neighbors embrace the whole thing too: "well, I don't care what happens to those stupid, fat cat cigar smokers (there's shades of class warfare thrown into this too), and don't you want your kids to have 'free' health care, Robb? What kind of father would you be if you didn't? You'd have to be a some kind of child-hating monster, that's what."

It will be also be a feather in the cap for the Democrats if they manage to over-ride President Bush's veto. They can add child-hater to his ever-growing list of transgressions (wait, scratch that--child killer because without this legislation children would have certainly died, the heartless bastard!) and then go onto snide little remarks about how Cheney actually eats babies ("did you hear, he likes them with spicy ketchup? Oh horrors..."). You know the drill...

I could go on, and I think you've plainly seen that I'm insane enough to do so, but I figure I'll just refer you to your copies of Animal Farm and/or 1984 and leave you with some entertaining quotes.

"So this is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause?"--Senator Amidala, The Revenge of the Sith

(remember: it's a win for the children--of course there will be thunderous applause--don't you want to help those poor, little 25 year old children? What's wrong with you?)

“When they call the roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer ‘present’ or ‘guilty’.” —Theodore Roosevelt

“Now I know what a statesman is; he’s a dead politician. We need more statesmen.” —Bob Edwards

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” —Groucho Marx


A said...

I just want to be able to keep smoking my cheap cigars on occasion.

If the disenfranchised and downtrodden would just stop procreating like rabbits, us fat cats could continue to sit lazily with our stogies laughing at those less fortunate.

corexian said...

The real problem here, folks, is that no one is willing to trim the fat. Instead, they raise taxes to pay for more useless bureaucracy. I hate to say it, but as far as this kind of stuff is concerned, both Rudy and Obama are equally guilty. Matthew is right, we're on a road to bigger gov't and that scares the hell out of me.

Robb said...

Uh Daniel, not sure how you can blame Rudy for this. He is not a Senator. And as mayor of NYC, he has a track record of cutting taxes and wasteful spending. He is simply not on par with liberal Democrats like Obama, Clinton, Kennedy, etc when it comes to taxing and spending. Rudy is a lot of things some conservatives don't like, but a tax and spend liberal, he is not.

Robb said...

Bush, by the way, is a tax cut and spend conservative, which is a problem too, in my estimation.

klasieprof said...

I LOVE my Country.

The Government Scares the crap out of me.

Matthew said...

Bush's tax cut and spend policies are kind of insane. He's not as much of a polarizing figure as people like to think: I have conservative friends who hate him just as much or more than my liberal friends for very similar reasons (just goes to show you that everybody has common ground whether they think so or not
;-) ).

He really is going to be the next Johnson if he doesn't watch out.

Maybe government encroachment is one of those things that is just inevitable like death and taxes.
It seems like the people want it. Mind you, nobody necessarily wants the government telling them what to do, but that jerk down the way, well that's different, he needs to be shut down. :-\

As for who is worse about government encroachment, I have begun to suspect the only real difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives expand the government at a just slightly slower rate than liberals. :-(

Everybody likes a good narrative here. Did anybody here read or see the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Did anybody who did happen to notice that all the really powerful, virtuous people (Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadrial, etc.) wouldn't so much as touch the ring and the power it represented? The were afraid of what great evil they might wind up doing in the process of trying to to good. I wish we had more politicians with that kind of attitude towards power. Right now, all we have are a bunch of damn Boromirs trying to run things.

Politics clearly requires lots and lots of prayer.


corexian said...

Sorry, Rob, but I'm with Matthew again on this one. Both sides just seem to polarize on certain issues, but the end results and behavior that gets us there is all the same.

We need an advocate who is going to actively get in there and clean up in regards to gov't encroachment.

Just an ounce of integrity is all I'm looking for with these guys. I think the few I see with it aren't going to make it to the polls, though.

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul!

He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.

He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.
He is pro-life.

Matthew said...

...and, sadly, Ron Paul doesn't have a snowball's chance in perdition of winning the Republican candidacy much less the presidency.

I wish that weren't the case, though. I don't agree with all of his positions (I do agree with most), but it would be a much more interesting election if he were actually a contender.

He's waaay too libertarian for religious conservatives (who are still a force to be reckoned with in Republican circles), and he seems to be too right-aligned to be palatable to left-leaning and moderate libertarians. He also comes off as a bit of an extremist or perhaps eccentric which alienates him from moderates.

corexian said...

I agree, anonymous and Matthew. Ron Paul seems to have the most integrity of the whole bunch. But that is also why I don't think he'll make it far enough to have a real chance.

He's dug up a lot of support from plain old hard work, though, and that's pretty impressive. It at least means something positive that he's passing wealthy slime balls in the polls.

As sour as the political climate is, I don't think it is bad enough, yet, for people to really want the amount of change Ron Paul wants (but I sure do!).

Robb said...

When does effectiveness come into the equation? It is one thing to articulate a libertarian utopia. It is a completely different thing to effectively lead toward change.

There is one - count them, ONE - candidate in the field, Republican or Democrat, who has held an executive position of leadership in government and used it to reduce the size and scope of government, improve its overall effectiveness while at the same time growing both the economy and security.

Ron Paul might talk about it, but he has never actually done it. ONE - and only one - person in this field has.

corexian said...

Biased response perhaps? I know you like Rudy, but I just gotta say he isn't the ONLY option.

And just to clarify, I don't know a lot about some of the guys running, so I can't comment on them, but Ron Paul has consistently voted for sound financial security and constitutional support in his issues. He regularly and actively participates in the legislative process, as much as any other Senator and possibly more so than most.

Security and freedom are not mutually exclusive. If there is a good example of that anywhere, it can be seen in Christ. I'd just like to see that concept practiced in gov't as well and only one candidate pushes that message.