Archive for the ‘Tobacco’ Category

Tax Bites By The Numbers

November 13, 2008

The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation has created an enlightening chart that estimates how much more money Americans must pay for certain goods and services because of taxes. Some of the taxes — the kind I have tracked here — appear on consumers’ bills, but many others are hidden.

Here’s the rundown from ATR:

  • Cigarettes: 81.3 percent more
  • Distilled spirits: 79.6 percent
  • Car rentals: 60.6 percent
  • Beer: 56.2 percent
  • Domestic airfare: 55 percent (much more for international, based on reports from a friend who travels abroad frequently)
  • Landline phones: 51.8 percent
  • Gasoline: 51.2 percent
  • Hotel stays: 50 percent
  • Cell phones: 46.4 percent
  • Cable television: 46.3 percent
  • Firearms: 45.6 percent
  • Restaurant meals: 44.8 percent
  • Soda: 37.6 percent

I don’t drink or smoke, so I’m not personally affected by the “sin taxes.” And while I own a couple of hunting guns, I haven’t bought a new one in almost 20 years, so firearms taxes aren’t likely to rob me of more cash. But I have been hit by every one of the other taxes on the list more than once this year.

I keep a copy of ATR’s chart in my office at work as a stark reminder of how intrusive the government is in my life and my wallet. You should print a copy, too, at fiscalaccountability.org.

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A Century Of Tax Mischief

May 5, 2008

My Dad forwarded to me an e-mail that included this gem about all of the taxes conceived in the minds of politicians over the past century (the impact of several of them on just our family has been chronicled on this blog):

Accounts receivable tax
Building permit tax
CDL license tax
Cigarette tax
Corporate income tax
Dog license tax
Federal income tax
Federal unemployment tax
Fishing license tax
Food license tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline tax
Hunting license tax
Inheritance tax
Inventory tax
IRS interest charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor tax
Luxury tax
Marriage license tax
Medicare tax
Property tax
Real-estate tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security tax
Road usage tax (truckers)
Sales taxes
Recreational vehicle tax
School tax
State income tax
State unemployment tax
Telephone taxes
— Federal excise
— Universal service fee
— Federal, state and local surcharges
— Minimum-usage surcharge
— Taxes on recurring and non-recurring phone charges
— State and local phone taxes
— Telephone-usage charge tax
Utility tax
Vehicle registration tax
Vehicle sales tax
Watercraft registration tax
Well permit tax
Workers compensation tax

The kicker to the e-mail: “Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?'”

Field Of Tax-Cut Dreams

February 14, 2008

Oh, to live in Iowa, specifically Burlington, Iowa, where Councilman Tim Scott shared this bit of tax news Tuesday: “The folks of Burlington all across the board should see a reduction in their property taxes.”

Contrast that with Taxachussetts, where House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi thinks a tax cut is a good idea as long as you replace it with another tax increase. Isn’t that kind of like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

All Taxpayers Have Sinned

February 5, 2008

Smoking killed my grandmother 15 years ago and more recently has wreaked havoc on the health of two of her children, my aunt and uncle.

With that family history, you might think I would support efforts like those in Kentucky to impose huge “sin” taxes on tobacco. But you would be wrong.

Sure, I’d rather have the government tax tobacco than, say, chocolate because watching my grandmother slowly die of emphysema during my youth scared me away from tobacco, while I consume far more chocolate than anyone should. But “sin” taxes just give the government a taste for revenue that is as addictive as the drugs they are targeting.

That means one thing: When the sin taxes achieve their desired goal — changing people’s behavior — the revenues will plummet and the bureaucrats will start looking for new ways to feed their tax addiction.

Guard your wallets. They’ll be trying to cleanse you of your sins next.