One of the few reliable sources of amusement in life: liberal Hollywood nitwits and the moral knots they tie themselves up in.

At least most conservatives have the sense to keep their hypocrisy secret, rather than making it an essential part of their platform.

Summary, for those who don’t feel like clicking through: Rob Reiner backed a 50-cent state tax hike on cigarettes back in ’98, with the proceeds going to fund health and education for young children. Now he’s campaigning against a further $1.50 hike which would benefit emergency rooms and other health programs. Why? Because if cigarettes become even more expensive, fewer people will buy them – thus reducing the funding to his pet program!

For those looking for a serious moral to this story, it’s a simple one: “sin taxes” are invariably stupid, stupid, STUPID public policy. They make the state dependent on the very vices it seeks to curb.

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  1. well…

    a few points..

    1. Conservatives don’t really “have the sense to keep their hypocrisy secret” but rather when you point it out to them, they call you a communist and try to change the subject to how unamerican you are…
    I, personally, find this kind of blatant hypocrisy far worse than the more incompetent hypocrisies of most liberals.. for the simple reason that the end result of liberal hypocrisy usually ends up hurting only themselves, whereas conservative hyprocrisy, because it doesn’t ever get dealt with, goes on hurting everyone..

    2. Situation is not so black and white.. You are making the argument that because a new increase in a tax rate would reduce income, that all prior increases in the tax rate must therefore also be stupid..
    That isn’t very good economic logic.. obviously it depends on the elasticity of demand for such things and also the rate at which excessive taxation will push people into black markets and such..

    This is basic libertarian Laffer Curve stuff.. isn’t it?

    While a $.50 state hike might have been–I don’t know the economics of the particular situation you are talking about–a relatively fair way to fund the health programs that would have to take care of the damage inflicted by cigarrettes later.. (since we don’t tend to live in a society that 100% of the time tells poor people to fuck off and die when they get hurt or ill–even if partially self-inflicted)..
    this further increase might go beyond what the market can handle, so it would make sense to fight it..

    3. I don’t necessarily think that sin taxes are necessarily always there to “curb” the behaviors that generate them.. sometimes they are there to more closely tie the long-term expenses that certain behaviors generate back to the specific individuals engaging in these practices instead of requiring more general tax levies on the entire population to handle these problems..

    Isn’t that a more equitable and responsible solution?

    Now, of course, I recognize the practical caveat that too often these sin taxes are thrown into a general government “tax pot” and thus don’t go specifically towards the ends that they are justified with.. This, I think, is reprehensible.. but the solution is not just to abolish all the taxes themselves because there are corruption problems with their implementation, any more than attempting to solves corruption problems with military procurement merely by abolishing the military…

    In both cases, you would accomplish your goals technically, but the overall societal costs would be far higher than they need be..

    1. Re: well…

      OK, I’ll grant you that on the destroying-your-freedom-to-save-it front, conservatives have recently managed to match liberals in the self-defeating solution department.

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