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Old 04-10-2013, 11:29 PM  
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Obama calls for cigarette tax hike of 94 cents a pack

At least he's paying it too, I suppose.


Obama calls for cigarette tax hike of 94 cents a pack

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President Obama’s call for a 94-cent-a-pack hike on federal cigarette taxes to fund early childhood education programs is controversial.

Anti-smoking groups applaud the proposal, but some tax experts and tobacco companies are against it.

The case for the tax. The tax is being presented as way to fund education and reduce smoking rates. It would raise roughly $78 billion over 10 years.
“The proposed tobacco tax increase would have substantial public health benefits, particularly for young Americans,” the president’s budget read. “Researchers have found that raising taxes on cigarettes significantly reduces consumption, with especially large effects on youth smoking.”

After a 62-cent-a-pack tax hike was passed in 2009, cigarette sales dropped by 10%, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

There’s also little doubt that fewer people smoking is a good thing for society. Costs related to smoking amount to $193 billion a year in both direct medical payments and lost productivity, according to a Centers for Disease Control study done during the early part of the last decade. Smoking kills about 443,000 people each year.

Passing the tax “would be a giant step toward winning the fight against tobacco, the nation’s number one cause of preventable death,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.
Why it may be a bad idea. The biggest argument against the tax is that it will fund early childhood education on the backs of the poor. Not only is the tax not progressive – it does not go up the more money one makes — but a higher percent of smokers are middle or low income.

The median household income for a smoker in 2011 was $27,700 compared to $45,761 for nonsmokers, according to Reynolds American, a cigarette maker which is, unsurprisingly, against the tax.

Nearly half of all smokers had a household income of less than $25,000 a year. Meanwhile, under 15% of smokers had a household income over $75,000.
“The idea of increasing taxes on low- to middle-income Americans at this time is ludicrous,” Bryan Hatchell, a spokesman for Reynolds American, said in a statement. “The effect of the payroll tax increase this year, along with higher gas and food prices, have hit hard millions of Americans who are simply trying to keep their heads above water financially.”

Anti-smoking groups counter that the poor are especially vulnerable to smoking’s ill effects, as they often lack healthcare and are less prepared financially to deal with an illness.

Cigarette taxes across the nation. Many smokers already pay a high tax rate for cigarettes. The current federal tax rate is $1.01 a pack, but the taxes don’t stop there. So Obama is proposing an increase to $1.95 a pack.
Some states and municipalities have also used cigarette taxes as a cash cow for years. In New York City, the country’s highest-tax area, combined state and local taxes add up to $5.85 a pack, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. In Manhattan, a pack of cigarettes can cost $14, while at an airport duty free shop they can be as low as $3 or $4 a pack.

But the taxes are low in other states. In Missouri, state taxes are just 17 cents a pack. The average price of a pack of cigarettes nationwide is $6, with taxes making up $2.49 of that.

Some economists question how wise it is to fund what will presumably be a long term program — early childhood education — with revenue that will likely fall over time. About 20% of Americans smoke, a number that has dropped considerably over the past several decades. The tax itself is specifically designed to get people to stop buying cigarettes.

Others say that while the tax won’t be to much of a burden on the overall economy, it will hit smokers and those that work in the industry hard. They say the president could raise far more money by focusing on spending cuts.
“It’s excellent politics, but it doesn’t make good economics,” said William McBride, chief economist at the Tax Foundation, a think tank that advocates for lower taxes.

http://wqad.com/2013/04/10/obama-cal...-cents-a-pack/
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:32 PM   #121
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Nearly 30 years into the HIV epidemic, HIV continues to take a heavy toll in the United States. More than 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV, nearly 18,000 people with AIDS still die each year, and lifetime medical care for those who become infected with HIV each year is estimated to cost $20 billion.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/fac...re-courses.htm

I think we need to tax people for buggery.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:38 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Comrade Crapski View Post
I think we need to tax people for buggery.
I'd imagine that being on the receiving end is taxing enough!
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #123
Cephalic Trauma Cephalic Trauma is offline
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And where is your study showing that smokers cost tax payers more than nonsmokers? It's easy to say the Dutch study has flaws but you offer no study to back up your specious claims.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056...icleDiscussion

This study supports his view, however, a look in the correspondance section reveals the flaws in that study, and provides their own data.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056...99802123380713

Basically, they didn't account for:
a. the risks of other diseases that smoking confers a risk for, only the 5 leading diseases
b. They added smokers who quit in the nonsmokers category, and didn't account for potential complcations stemming from the time they smoked
c. Longer hospital stays and recovery time for smokers

Which, taking those into account, they substantially underestimated the lifetime healthcarecosts of smoking.

I don't exactly have a lot of disposable time here, so I'm not going to dig up all the evidence I can possibly find, but suffice it to say I am skeptical that pulmonary function testing, cancer, and chronic conditions don't result in a major stress on the system.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:45 PM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinChief View Post
I'd imagine that being on the receiving end is taxing enough!
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by |Zach| View Post
Rock solid.
Actually there is a very solid argument.. at least as solid as the anti-smoking one.

Not all smokers will smoke a pack a day. Not all pack-a-day smokers will have health problems. BUT if you look at overall numbers... smokers have higher risks factors as a group.

Not all homosexual men will engage in promiscuous unprotected anal sex. Of those, not all of them will have rectal issues or contract HIV. BUT AGAIN as a GROUP the risks are significantly higher.

Over taxing one generally unhealthy behavior is a-ok but the other is not.

It is a FAR from perfect analogy but it does illustrate that we readily turn a blind eye to some statistically risky behaviors and not others. A better analogy would be fast food or being a Chiefs fan...
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by AustinChief View Post
I'd imagine that being on the receiving end is taxing enough!
I'm sure Wickedson will let us know all the details from his Amsterdam adventure.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by Cephalic Trauma View Post
If this tax directly leads to less healthcare costs by deterring those from smoking, isn't that a win for all involved besides those who are voluntarily doing harm to their body?
How will it possibly lead to lower healthcare costs?

Are you suggesting that if smoking were banned people would never fall ill? Would they live forever? That's what I thought.

Seems like people might live longer but die of something else which would require treatment and incur high healthcare costs. Plus, by living longer they would further strain the Social Security system.

Sounds like a net loss to me.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Cephalic Trauma View Post
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056...icleDiscussion

This study supports his view, however, a look in the correspondance section reveals the flaws in that study, and provides their own data.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056...99802123380713

Basically, they didn't account for:
a. the risks of other diseases that smoking confers a risk for, only the 5 leading diseases
b. They added smokers who quit in the nonsmokers category, and didn't account for potential complcations stemming from the time they smoked.

Which, taking those into account, they underestimated the costs of smoking.

I don't exactly have a lot of disposable time here, so I'm not going to dig up all the evidence I can possibly find, but suffice it to say I am skeptical that pulmonary function testing, cancer, and chronic conditions don't result in a major stress on the system.
And again, you poke holes in studies that don't support your view... you have yet to show ONE study that supports YOUR view that smokers present a significant TANGIBLE cost increase to tax payers. (pro tip: you won't find one... at best you'll be able to show that it's a wash)
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:50 PM   #129
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And again, you poke holes in studies that don't support your view... you have yet to show ONE study that supports YOUR view that smokers present a significant TANGIBLE cost increase to tax payers. (pro tip: you won't find one... at best you'll be able to show that it's a wash)
Did you see the data in the second link?
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by mikey23545 View Post
How will it possibly lead to lower healthcare costs?

Are you suggesting that if smoking were banned people would never fall ill? Would they live forever? That's what I thought.

Seems like people might live longer but die of something else which would require treatment and incur high healthcare costs. Plus, by living longer they would further strain the Social Security system.

Sounds like a net loss to me.
It's a completely idiotic argument that sounds fine on the surface... but anyone who takes a few second to think it through realizes that it is complete hogwash. No serious thinker could ever make the argument with a straight face.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:02 PM   #131
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It's a completely idiotic argument that sounds fine on the surface... but anyone who takes a few second to think it through realizes that it is complete hogwash. No serious thinker could ever make the argument with a straight face.
So the individuals in the second link from the cdc, stanford, UC Davis, etc. aren't serious thinkers.

OK.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:04 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Cephalic Trauma View Post
Did you see the data in the second link?
You mean the COMMENTS in the second link. Go out and find some legitimate studies. Hell, even the studies that blatantly LIE about risk factors (PLENTY of those out there) won't prove your point. Why? Because EVENTUALLY everyone is a major health care cost... unless you get hit by a bus. Alzheimer's is a HUGE cost that can last for DECADES. Arthritis? Osteoporosis?

I'd bet that current cigarette tax totals for the US already cover all tax payer health costs from smokers by 5 to 10 TIMES. That isn't even counting the SAVINGS we realize from these people dying younger.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:09 PM   #133
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You mean the COMMENTS in the second link. Go out and find some legitimate studies. Hell, even the studies that blatantly LIE about risk factors (PLENTY of those out there) won't prove your point. Why? Because EVENTUALLY everyone is a major health care cost... unless you get hit by a bus. Alzheimer's is a HUGE cost that can last for DECADES. Arthritis? Osteoporosis?

I'd bet that current cigarette tax totals for the US already cover all tax payer health costs from smokers by 5 to 10 TIMES. That isn;t even counting the SAVINGS we realize from these people dying younger.
The COMMENTS which cite other sources that provide DATA which is what studies usually PUBLISH though I didn't DIRECTLY link it.

SORRY.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:09 PM   #134
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Taxation is a system of choices. I don't drive that much (if ever), but I have to pay for everyone else to have a functional road system. And god forbid we talk about publicly financing other transit options.

Now I'd love to have a higher gas tax, and more toll roads. But as a society, we've made a choice to say I'm wrong. So I can piss and moan about that, or I can just get over it.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:13 PM   #135
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It's a completely idiotic argument that sounds fine on the surface... but anyone who takes a few second to think it through realizes that it is complete hogwash. No serious thinker could ever make the argument with a straight face.
From "The Case Against Smoking Bans"
THOMAS A. LAMBERT
University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law

"This argument suffers from several weaknesses. First and most importantly, the initial premise is unsound. According to a comprehensive study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997, smoking probably has the effect of reducing overall health care costs because smokers die earlier than nonsmokers. The study’s authors concluded that in a population in which no one smoked, health care costs would be 7 percent higher among men and 4 percent higher among women than the costs in the current mixed population of smokers and nonsmokers. The authors further determined that if all smokers were to quit, health care costs would be lower at first, but after 15 years they would become higher than at present."

http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/f...12/v29n4-4.pdf
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