Obamawatch: Obama’s tax pledge broken in first 100 days
Posted by sanityinjection on April 1, 2009
At first I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but mirabile! There it was: an AP article slamming their former golden boy, Barack Obama for breaking his promise not to raise taxes by raising the cigarette tax:
Obama said repeatedly during the campaign that he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. The AP article points out that the campaign specifically included other forms of taxes besides the income tax in this pledge, though they’re pretending now that they didn’t. Thus, the 62 cents per pack cigarette tax increase taking effect today is a direct violation of that pledge. Of course, your Sanity Injection told you back in the fall that this pledge was a total fabrication that was belied by Obama’s own economic plan. So I’m hardly surprised by this move.
The AP reporter (Calvin Woodward, who will probably be fired for writing this article) even points out that a cigarette tax hike disproportionately hits lower-income people who are more likely to be smokers. So it’s a regressive tax, exactly the sort Democrats usually complain is unfair.
What the article doesn’t explain is that the cigarette tax is an inherently unstable revenue source, because if the price goes too high, some people will quit smoking and thus not have to pay the tax. This means that any projections of revenue the tax hike will generate are unreliable espcially after the first year. In turn, that means that any federal program receiving funding from this tax – such as the children’s health insurance expansion Obama wants to use it for – is in danger of seeing that funding melt away (or should I say, vanish in a puff of smoke?) in successive years. At that point you either have to cut the program (which never happens, think of the children!) or find another source of funding – which means another tax hike.
Smoke’em if you got’em.