Taxes, Tobacco, and Other Evils
The one incomparably powerful means of exploitation is the State. It is also the safest means, because it is irresponsible. It is exempt from all the basic sanctions of ordinary morality. It is free to murder, cheat, lie, steal, and persecute at its own good pleasure and without fear of reprisals.
-- Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945)
This was first posted at Mississippi Politics on February 22, 2007. It's a response to Sidney Salter's February 21 column in The Clarion-Ledger. Salter supports a bill in the Mississippi legislature which would greatly increase the tobacco tax while cutting in half the sales tax on groceries.
Sidney Salter wrote: "... in the keeping of his "no-new-tax" pledge, [Gov. Haley] Barbour has married the keeping of his word to bad public policy..."
It's hard to believe, isn't it? A politician is actually keeping his word, but that doesn't seem to matter much to Sidney.
"The question remains whether Mississippi Republicans [led by that evildoer, Gov. Barbour, a former Washington tobacco lobbyist] want the goals of their party in 2007 to be high taxes on food and low taxes on cigarettes."
The current tax rates on food, cigarettes, and just about everything else are creatures of the Democrats. In 1932, Mississippi became the first state to enact a flat-rate, general sales tax. A Democratic governor, Mike Conner, pushed this tax through the Democratic legislature. (Columnist Bill Minor knew Gov. Conner personally.)
In the early 1980s, Democratic Gov. William Winter and the Democratic-dominated legislature raised the sales tax from 5% to 6% for a "temporary" six-month period. At the end of that period, the powers that be decided to make the increase permanent. (Surprise, surprise!)
In 1992, The Clarion-Ledger and others told us that the sales tax needed to be raised from 6% to 7% in order to "save education." (While I can't recall for certain, I suspect that Sidney Salter supported this tax hike.) The proponents of the increase expressed no concern that the full 7% tax would apply to food as well as other retail purchases.
The Democratic-controlled legislature passed the sales tax hike and then overrode the courageous veto of a Republican governor, Kirk Fordice. Most Republican legislators voted against raising the tax.
For years, blacks were a persecuted minority. Today's persecuted minority, however, consists of people of all colors who use a legal product, tobacco.
If you want to see how insane government can become on the tobacco issue, take a look at what's going on in Washington state.