Why so harsh? Because the money generated from the tax increase will go towards expanding children’s health care, known as the SCHIP bill and signed into law by President Obama in February. Instead of just seven million uninsured children receiving health care from the government, SCHIP has now been expanded to cover 11 million children.
But, naturally, some people are pissed. By some people I mean the tobacco companies who don’t give a you-know-what about you or your health and some really addicted smokers.
This gem of a quote came from NPR:
Customer Pat Collier of Zephyrhills, Fla., calls it a punitive tax aimed at smokers. “This is really just like the tea tax in the Revolution.”
Well…no. Because when our early American heroes, the colonists, were taxed, the money went back to the evil King George. This time around, Pat, the money will be used to help children. CHILDREN. POOR AND INNOCENT CHILDREN. Think about it. Good. Now let’s move on.
Smokers, you know the deal. The cancer sticks are bad for you, your lungs turn black and all that jazz. Maybe you are too addicted to quit, but for Pete’s sake (and Pete, by the way, is a 4-year-old with no health insurance and a life threatening illness), don’t let your addiction get in the way of helping a kid out. You chose to smoke, these kids did not choose to be uninsured.
It is a sad fact of life that prices go up all the time. The price of milk, the price of a pack of gum, even the price of the wonderful treasures at the 99 cent store. At least this time, when you pay those extra pennies, you’re doing something good.
Or maybe, just maybe, this might encourage you to quit smoking, which, you know, would be AWFUL. (But, of course, you quitting has nothing to do with why the tobacco companies are so upset.) So Joe the Smoker and others quit. Over time, the number of smoking-related illnesses and deaths decrease, which also decreases the amount of state and federal dollars used to care for these people when they are in the hospital. The taxpayer wins! Oh, and if you quit, you run less of a risk of gum disease (eww) and you won’t get that hideous smoker’s mouth with all the lines and wrinkles.
Here’s another scenario to convince you that this might just be a good thing: Raising the tax on cigarettes will give health insurance to 10 million children. Having insurance will enhance their quality of life. Healthy kids go to school. (And like School House Rock tells us, “knowledge is power!”) Healthy kids grow up to be healthy adults. Healthy adults work. The American workforce is the engine of our economy. Voila! The economy thrives!
…And I’d like to thank the Nobel committee for awarding me this most prestigious award in Economics… just kidding because really, it’s not that big of a stretch.
I’m so fortunate that my parents never had to choose between taking me to the doctor or feeding me. But there are so many children that are not as lucky as I was/am and until we have universal health care, we need to take care of the ones that need our help the most– the very old and the very young.
[Posted by Kathleen]