Friday, July 20, 2007

We're From the Government and We're Here to Help: Hand Us Your Wallet

Nothing exemplifies that time-honored axiom like the latest feel-good measure out of the U.S. Senate:
WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat from President Bush, a Senate panel on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a compromise to expand health insurance for children of low-income working families by sharply hiking tobacco taxes.

The 17-4 Finance Committee vote underscored the popularity of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which insures about 6 million children across the country. In California, where the program covers about 800,000 children, it is known as Healthy Families.

Six of the 10 Republicans on the panel joined all 11 Democrats in supporting the plan.

Until now, the program has been a federal-state collaboration with broad support from both parties. Backers fear it will become a lightning rod for partisan politics, jeopardizing its future. Legal authority for the program expires Sept. 30, and its renewal is generally considered the most important healthcare decision Congress will make this year.

The program costs the federal government about $5 billion a year, with states contributing additional amounts. The Senate plan would add about $35 billion in federal money over five years, enough to cover an additional 3.3 million out of as many as 9 million uninsured children.
And now for the real blasphemous part:
To pay for that, the plan would boost taxes on tobacco products. The cigarette tax would rise to $1 a pack from 39 cents now. And taxes on cigars would more than double to as much as $10 for the most expensive ones.
RINO-itis has made its insidious appearance in who should otherwise be frugal guardians of taxpayer purses:
"It doesn't make me comfortable to advocate for such a large increase in spending," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), a panel member. "But it's important to note that [the program] has been tremendously successful. And one of the lessons we've learned is that it's going to cost more to cover additional kids."
Oh, believe me--this is just the beginning:
Democrats in the House — and many in the Senate — want to spend an additional $50 billion or more to cover the majority of uninsured children. But the Republican backers of the Senate plan have said they would not support such a funding increase.
Yes, I know--but it's for the chiiiildreeen!

It is becoming quite clear that the road highway to hell paved by the "good intentions" of the mental giants gnats in our Federal legislature knows no speed limit.

When they raise a tax like this to astronomical proportions, less and less of the products will be sold. Revenues will be brought to a virtual halt. Then, like a half-way house of junkies looking for their next fix, Congress and the Senate will have to look elsewhere to fund their spending spree. And guess who they're going to come after.

Yeah, I know--but it's for the chiiildreeen! (the last refuge of a scoundrel--now becoming the first refuge in a House and Senate full of scoundrels).

On top of that, who will the tax hurt the most?

A new study shows that the rate of smoking is higher among low-income African-Americans and that they are starting to smoke at younger ages than in the past.

Fifty-nine percent of low-income men and 41 percent of women smoked in this study of 1,021 low-income African-Americans, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"When we found these rates, we were dumbfounded," says Jorge Delva, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

(Heh. Dumbfounded. A perpetual state of being for many of our congresscritters if you ask me. Only they're too dumb to notice that they're dumbfounded. But I digress).

On top of that, when you're hooked on cigarettes to the level that many of these working/welfare poor are, many if not most will continue to choose feeding their nicotine habits. The inevitable outcome, of course, will mean less food on the table for the chiiildreeen, won't it?

Certainly, this will result in even greater numbers of the chiiildreeen going to bed hungry at night, or going to school without eating breakfast. Of course, this will necessitate the need to hit up taxpayers for even more programs to feed the chiiildreeen of nicotine-addicted parents otherwise strapped for cash as they pay through the nose for a government program that's designed to "help" them and their kids.

Good intentions and all that, you know.

I guess this means that in their zeal to feed their addiction, the spending addicts in Congress and the Senate will go so far as to raise taxes on the backs of the poor.

The nicotine patch has reportedly helped millions of people quit their insidious smoking addiction.

Now if they can only design the same kind of patch to help legislators quit theirs.


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