How, in 2013, Can We Be This Foolish (Or Just Plain Stupid)?

 

We have centuries of documented human history on our side. There is absolutely no excuse for the people that are elected to "serve" (and I use that term VERY loosely) to be this clueless and ignorant. The Government of Australia has decided that they are going to 'fix' the tobacco 'problem.' This will be no different than governments before that have decided to 'fix' the 'problems' of gun violence, drug use, poverty, and healthcare. Here is the article:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/smokers-set-to-be-taxed-out-of-habit/story-fn59nokw-1226547381195

One only has to look to the early 20th century in the United States to see that prohibition does not work. It never has, and it never will. The US Government has wasted trillions of dollars on the "War on Drugs." The only result we have to look at is prison over-population and rampant distribution of dangerous substances like Meth Amphetamine and Bath Salts. I submit that, without drug prohibition, Meth and Bath Salts would not be an issue. There would simply be no market for them. If people could access "normal" drugs in a free market, there would be no need for meth labs to cook up poison to feed the needs of the user. Tobacco is no different.

I am a former smoker. I still currently use smokeless tobacco. That change is a direct result of a deal
 made with my wife - Stop smoking and you are allowed to stay married. Smokeless tobacco was the compromise. I smoked for over 15 years. I did not start smoking because of Joe Camel or the Marlboro Man. I started because a friend handed me one. (Maybe we should ban friends.) But even then, it was my own curiosity and desire that made me start. To this day, I can catch a wiff of someone lighting up and the desire burns inside me. It's not enough to make me start again, but there is a momentary desire to smoke a cigarette. 

The thing that baffles me the most about this story is how clueless the bureaucrats are. Maybe they're not as dumb as I give them credit for. Maybe they know that this will never work, but they do know that the Sheeple will continue to give them more and more power over them as long as they are "committed to making progress." Let's examine a few points:

1) The government says that, over time, it will increase the amount a smoker has to pay (up to $20 per pack) and that will, in turn, dissuade the smoker from continuing to smoke. It's a simple concept, right? They, the all-knowing and wise bureaucrats, will force them to choose between something they do not need and something they do need like food, gas, and housing. They will manipulate the market and cause the smokers to change their behavior based on government decree. 

This one makes me laugh the hardest. How is it, being able to look back on the whole of human history, that these numbnuts think that government decrees can affect human behavior? Again, never has and never will. Human behavior is like water or electricity - It moves in the path of least resistance.

2) They are making a HUGE assumption that the open market will be the only place smokers can go to get their fix.

Wrong again. All government interference in the market does is cause the black market to rise up and take its place. It happened in the early 20th century with alcohol in the United States, and it's happening now with sex, guns, drugs, toys, and electronics. The black market is a dangerous place filled with violence. When transactions are forced into the shadows away from market light, you find shadowy people. It is only in the open market where you will find safety, quality, and fair price controls. What Australia has to look forward to is violence and death when people start dealing in the black market to squelch their nicotine craving. Without free market forces to demand quality of product, there will a much greater danger to the user. They will have no idea where the product comes from. They will have no idea what is in it. Is it really even tobacco at all? Is it laced? Have dangerous chemicals been used in the manufacture of the product? No one will ever know because the government has forced the producers and consumers into the shadowy dark corners.

3) They have already spent all the revenue this tax is going to create. They see all the zeroes lining up and all the "good" they'll be able to do with that income. 

The income and the windfall isn't coming. Black market producers do not pay taxes. Black market consumers do not pay taxes. All the money they think they're going to rake in is never coming. That will show up later when they don't have the money to cover all the promises they made. But that's okay, government NEVER admits that its plans didn't work. They will claim success and continue down the road of spending money they don't have while having "a plan" to address the budget shortfall.

Here is the bottom line - No matter how much you desire the government to save someone else from themselves, it is a proven fact that government does not have that power. Only individuals with the help of other VOLUNTARY individuals are able to help THEMSELVES out of trouble. 

Posted on January 4, 2013 and filed under politics.