Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Bargain

You know, this is just stupid. This idea that we shouldn’t ban smoking in indoor public places because the State might lose some tax revenue is crass to the extreme. I’m not sure how anyone at this point can be sure of how the ban (by itself) is going to impact tax receipts on balance (taking into consideration savings on healthcare), but let’s stipulate that the State will lose $30 million a year on lost cigarette taxes. I say hurray! That’s $30 million well spent on the health and welfare of the people of Illinois. 30 mil for preventing deaths from second-hand smoke, and cleaner air, and not stinking like smoke – that’s a bargain.

By the way, the Patrick Fleener who is sooo concerned about the loss of tax revenue works for a right-wing anti-tax organization out of Washington DC called The Tax Foundation. Witness their anti-tax agenda here. So color me unimpressed with this guy’s objectivity on things.

Update: In comments, JP notes Fleener's background and lack of credability on the issue. Way to go Southern Illinoisian for not mentioning who Fleener realy is. Also, the Bloomington Pantagraph had an almost identical story, again featuring Fleener, but it's no longer up on their site.


Anonymous said...

Actually, smokers save the government (as a whole at all levels) money in that they don't live as long in the years in which they would most likely be tax consumers (i.e. elderly).

The smoking ban argument issue is pretty ridiculous. It's basically an argument against individual liberty and freedom of choice. The same arguments that conservatives make against social liberalism (i.e. abortion, gay rights, etc.) are made by nanny-staters like you against everything that you don't like personally.

There is NO difference.

JeromeProphet said...

Anonymous 8:44,

You're only fooling yourself.

Anyone who would pay five dollars for a package of dried up leaves only so they could burn them and inhale the toxic smoke into their bodies is insane.

Totally insane.

Smoking is slavery, there's no doubt about it.

Smoking is a scourge upon society, and its costs far outweigh any so called good it does for a state's bottom line.

This has been studied in depth by the insurance industry. Your argument is based upon lies manufactured by the tobacco industry.

Freedom of choice is something you should respect by supporting a ban on smoking in public. Everyone should have the right to breath air free of pollution.


Dave said...

I don’t need a military, I can defend myself – Down with the Nanny State!

I don’t need public funding of highways, I can build my own roads as needed - Down with the Nanny State!

I don’t need public health laws, I can take care of my own health - Down with the Nanny State!

I don’t need police and fire protection, I can stop criminals and put out fires myself - Down with the Nanny State!

I don’t need no stinking stop signs, forcing me to stop my vehicle when I don’t want to denies me my liberty - Down with the Nanny State!

Anonymous said...

Fleenor is also a lobbyist for the tobacco industry.

The Tax Foundation is a front agency for the tobacco lobby.

Sin tax bad. Smoking good.

That sort of thing.

Interesting that the Southern Illinoisan article didn't mention Fleenor's role, but just portrayed him as an economist.


Anonymous said...

This is the link to Fleanor's to smoke or not to smoke paper.

It's one of the most laughable pieces of trash I have ever read.

If only we could all smoke then it would be a better world.

Doubt it?

Just read some of the hogwash Fleanor bases his paper upon.

Smoker's subjective valuation of smoking which he translates into dollar amount benefits.

He actually includes this subjective value as a dollar amount which he then factors into a cost benefit ratio.

This is pretend economics. He's a fraud.

He's a lobbyist for the tobacco industry.


Anonymous said...


Do you guys favor banning smoking outright?

If not, why not?

Dave said...

No. Look, I don’t care if you smoke, just don’t make me smoke with you. And that means public places. It’s that simple. You are the one emitting smoke, therefore the burden is on you not to bother (or kill) other people with it. It is not for me to have to avoid all public places to not breathe YOUR smoke. It’s really very simple, though I’m sure most smokers mind’s are far to clouded with nicotine to comprehend that concept.

Anonymous said...

I do NOT favor a complete ban on smoking.

If you try to ban cigarettes smoking would go underground and fuel general criminality.

Smoking would become more popular than ever if made illegal.

I do favor criminalizing smoking in an enclosed area with children, and criminalizing smoking while pregnant.

I'd raise the age of legal purchase of tobacco to twenty one.

And I'd stiffen fines and penalties for those allowing children access to tobacco products.


Anonymous said...

Google reveals his interest in abatement of cigarette taxes preceeds his membership in the conservative think tank at the Cato Institute (read that inner circle which surrounds President Bush).

He also has connections with Congress - presumably through it's Republican members - at least in preparing a report on how increased cigarette taxes in New York is good business for cigarette smuggling.

His anti-cigarette tax articles have found their way into World Bank publications regarding international cigarette smuggling.

The solution?

Well it's obvious, make cigarettes free to everyone old enough to crawl over and pick up a pack.

He has been referred to as an economist, and a liberatarian scholar - I guess that's because he has a Ph.D. in Economics, but I'd say he's a lobbyist, and found one link that appears to refer to him as being one for a Tobacco coop in Kentucky (not confirmed).

Certainly the assignment of subjective valuation of smoking to a smoker is a little strange, and then comparing these made up values to actual dollar and cents cost related to smoking seems even less ethical.

If I had pulled that in my undergrad years I would have been laughed at by my professors.

I guess he can get away with it being a liberatarian economist - one who doesn't have an agenda.


Anonymous said...

What's funny is that what you describe as "public places" are actually private establishments.

Nobody forces you to enter a smoke-filled establishment.

That is why I would favor a ban on smoking with children. However, I don't believe that an ADULT should be restricted from FREELY ENTERING an ADULT establishment.

Anonymous said...

In other words, I believe that the policy should be that any place that allows smoking should be restricted from children under 18, and also smoking in cars/homes with children should be banned.

What most of these laws do however is not what the role of the state is -- protect people who can't protect themselves (i.e. children). They are PATERNALISM -- nanny-statism.

Dave said...

Oh well, I guess you’re just going to have to suffer under the heavy boot of tyranny. I and most other people will rather enjoy the our new freedoms. Sorry for you though.

Anonymous said...

First thing you've gotten right.

It's called a "tyranny of the majority."

It's happened with gay marriage, and liberals call that an infringement. When it happens on something you don't like though (like smoking), you love it.

Dave said...

What the hell don’t you get about not imposing YOUR FUCKING SMOKE on others? Are you really that dumb? Gays do not impose anything on anyone else just by being gay. Your stinky, foul smoke kills people. Get your head out of your (cigarette) butt.

Why can I not come over and take a piss on your table at a restaurant? If you don’t like having your table pissed on, you can just go somewhere else. Oh Nanny State, Nanny State, they won’t let me piss on other people!!! Oh, the tyranny of the majority! Same concept. It’s a public health issue. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

Anonymous said...

Well put Dave!!!

Anonymous said...

Once again, you fail to understand the concept of private property.

Nobody FORCES you to go to the PRIVATE restaurant/bar. There is no coercion.

If you come into my house, that's an infringement on property.

My smoke kills people, okay. It kills myself. It may even kill others that CHOOSE to be exposed.

Nobody is FORCING you to go to the restaurant. NOBODY.


Anonymous said...

You said: "Why can I not come over and take a piss on your table at a restaurant? If you don’t like having your table pissed on, you can just go somewhere else."

The difference is that this is not the policy of the restaurant. If the restaurant had a policy of allowing people to piss on other people and you knew about that going in, then I would say that is your own fault for going there. The same with smoking.

That's why I support a law that says the bar/restaurant must state the policy outside its door. That's the role of government -- to ensure that people have information to make the choices -- not to restrict the freedom of choice of individuals or businesses.

And what happens now when you have a smoking ban? Everyone goes outside, and that exposes INNOCENT people who are merely walking down the sidewalk, not CHOOSING to be exposed to the smoke.

Dave said...

Anon, you have absolutely no concept of the legal definition of public and private. A restaurant open to the public is A PUBLIC PLACE and subject to PUBLIC laws. For example, you can leave rotting meat around your kitchen at home. That’s private. You can not leave rotting meat around a restaurant’s kitchen that’s PUBLIC. I can refuse to allow Ukrainians into my home. That’s private. I can not refuse to serve Ukrainians in my place of business. That’s PUBLIC.

Anonymous said...

By your logic, if a majority of people in America wanted McDonalds to replace french fries with baked potatoes, they should be forced to do so by government.

Also, I love the alcohol info on your website. I hope you recognize that the the alcohol in those now smoke-free establishments will likely lead to more innocent deaths than any cigarette smoke would have.