Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why Cigarettes Should Cost $10 a Pack

As the U.S. government throws tax money on the banking bonfire, you have to wonder how many billion-dollar notes are left in the Washington ATM machine for health-care reform. If an income-tax hike isn’t in the cards for 95% of Americans, there will surely be a revenue hunt elsewhere. Why not cigarettes?

Why pick on tobacco even more?
According to data from R.J. Reynolds, total tobacco taxes in 2007 were $22.4 billion. The company is outraged about that, but consider this November 13 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Smoking in the United States causes 443,000 deaths annually and costs $193 billion.”

Now 443,000 is one of those hideous death counts that numbs the mind. But I’m betting we’re all a bit better these days at processing numbers like $193 billion. And if that’s what smokers are costing the economy, shouldn’t they—so to speak—help bail out health care?

read more | digg story

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