We all know that politics involves a game of give and take by politicians, but we sometimes forget the full extent to which political bartering influences our lives. In a close examination of the allocation of the funds given to the Department of Human and Health Services’ via the 2009 stimulus, one can witness just how easily politicians will violate the founding principles of our nation and seize money from taxpayer pockets in exchange for cold, hard cash.

According to the DHHS’ website, Delaware received $1,022,792 of the federal stimulus just for the purpose of raising tobacco taxes! Think this is a mere manipulation of the numbers? According to a subsection of the listing of awarded funds titled the “Competitive Special Policy and Environmental Change Initiative”, the purpose of this federal funding is to:
            “Educate leaders and decision-makers about the benefits of increasing the
            price on other tobacco products such as cigars and smokeless tobacco to
            equal the price on cigarettes.”
Surely this must be an isolated instance of federal bribery in exchange for higher state taxes? Think again. The same subsection also notes that Mississippi received $2,989,999 of the federal stimulus to ban smoking in the state! The exact purpose of this money is to:
            “Engage in a 2-year campaign that results in passage and implementation
            of a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free air policy.”
There are two significant issues that this highlights:
  • Our civil liberties are not just under attack, but being bought with our own money from the very people who are supposed to protect them.
  • Not only will the federal government tax you, but it will use your own money to push for even higher taxes.
A tax increase is a bad thing. A tax increase to control social behavior is a terrible thing. As we have shown in the past, tobacco taxes push demand to the black market. Imagine the effects of a complete smoking ban: less tax revenue, a skyrocketing of black market smuggling, and setting a precedent for the government to further limit your life choices.
As to the result of the federal payoff for higher state tobacco taxes? Soon thereafter Delaware proposed a forty-five cent tobacco tax increase and Mississippi proposed a fifty cent tax hike that resulted in Gov. Haley Barbour breaking his Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Apparently the federal government thinks it should follow policies that will raise taxes on Americans…to give states millions of dollars to push for higher taxes…and in the process attack the life choices of responsible, adult taxpayers. When it comes to some groups in American society, it seems this government favors repression over representation.