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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2007 11:50 PM. The previous post in this blog was I'd go with a sharpened carrot. The next post in this blog is "Exit" polls on Measures 49 and 50. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Last-minute election porn

On our front doorknob this evening:


Comments (11)

If "Oregon's Kids" are so important, why would only smokers pay for them?

We all pay for them. But smokers would pay more. Because they're killing themselves, they stink, and it's a good idea to make their bad habit hard to continue.

I find the argument that smokers should pay more (a lot more) more than a bit self-serving. And I don't want to fall into a "slippery slope" fallacy, but for sheer medical costs, I would wonder if obesity isn't (excuse the pun) larger.

I would also wonder if you would find the tax-as-constitutional-amendment troubling. That seems to me the strongest component of the anti-50 argument.

Responding to Sally - I am a lawyer like Jack. I also don't like micro-management by Constitutional amendment. But, what the opponents of M50 don't tell is that - Oregon has used its Constitution in just that way since we were a State. I'd encourage all readers of the blog to go read it. I suspect you'll be amazed at how much tax related micro-management is already there. So really, in response to that one of the opponent's arguments the answer seems to be - that's a good theory but we've never practiced it - is THIS the measure to start with?

As to the targeting of smokers - recall that our country and our State have a __long__ history of using tax laws to shape social policy. I'm not agreeing that we should but that's the history. Today smokers are more reviled than fat people - tomorrow?

tax-as-constitutional-amendment

That is the most bogus argument I have heard about a ballot measure in many a year -- and that's saying a lot.

But they tested it on the public, and it works as a matter of swaying votes.

"As to the targeting of smokers - recall that our country and our State have a __long__ history of using tax laws to shape social policy."

Indeed. And the majority has long seemed comfortable laying an extra tax burden on this reviled minority.

"Today smokers are more reviled than fat people - tomorrow?"

Well they wouldn't be much if at all a minority, would they?

I wish "we" (citizens) would just decide how much services we wanted at what cost, and assort it equitably minus all the convenient, self-serving or self-righteous vendettas. I've heard (well before the Measure 50 tobacco company campaign) that there has been a wee mite of sentiment that direction (proven out in California). Though I predict the measure to pass.

"...the most bogus argument I have heard..."

OK. I have not studied it. It got my attention.

But in all honesty, I find the "smokers are just paying back what they cost the rest of us" probably a more bogus argument.

Low income smokers will buy smokes, before they buy food for there low income kids. Higher smoke price = less food for there kids. Who gets hurt now.

I'm a pretty libertarian-conservative-Republican and I am tempted to vote yes on M 50. Even though I oppose the socialized medicine and taxation generally, I really do hate cigarette smoke and I'd love to see a reduction in smoking. A big fat new tax would do that. But the rest of the proposal bothers me a lot. And, it flies in the face of my libertarian ideals (yes, I would legalize many illegal drugs). Hmmm... of course, if we legalized dope, the government would tax it...

This one is surprisingly hard for me to decide.

All that said, I would much rather see people simply quit smoking. And people will quit, which means the revenue for Healthy Kids won't be there in the long run. Then we ALL pay.

Ugh.

Nothing like handing the continuing smokers a really decent high horse to ride around on.

"Smoking...Yeah, I'm smoking. I'm helping poor kids get health care. And you? What have you done lately?"

"Help kids? You've got nothing on me, bub. I'm addicted to video poker."

Personally, I think it's time to just levy a tax on people by the pound. Swear to god, when one person can fill an elevator, and when you can't walk the streets of downtown Portland without wondering if the zoo let the hippos loose - It's Time!

We all pay for them. But smokers would pay more. Because they're killing themselves, they stink, and it's a good idea to make their bad habit hard to continue.

Now, ya see - this is where the "logic" breaks down. Why tax people who are killing themselves by smoking? There's a whole lot larger demographic that's just plain lardy.

If you admit that smokers are killing themselves, then obviously the tax base is eroding. And if it's a good idea to make their habit hard to continue, then who will pay for the poor children?

If you want to tax people who stink, then visit the downtown Multnomah County Library and try to levy a tax in there, where homeless folks often hang out.

If you want to tax people who really stink, then why not tax folks like Sam Adams, David Bragdon, Sheriff Bernie, and Governor Ted?

As I see it, if you really want a new tax "for the children", then put it not on a minority of folks, but upon a majority - which in Oregon, includes the morbidly obese and the morbidly governmental.


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