Start Making Sense

Government hates smokers. It’s bad for you, don’t you know.

On the other hand, smokers pay lots of taxes, and die before they collect too many Social Security checks. So maybe goverment loves smokers — really, it’s hard to tell. I lived with a girl like that once, but then I turned 22 and grew a brain.


Anyway. Whatever government thinks of smokers, it sure loves to tell them what to do. And it loves to tell tobacco companies what to do even more.

And tobacco farmers? Why, they’re the redheaded step-children of government love:

The Senate approved a $12 billion program yesterday to pay tobacco farmers for ending a system of price supports begun during the Great Depression, and to give the government broad new powers to regulate tobacco advertising and sales.

The program, passed by a 78-15 vote, was inserted into a broader corporate-tax bill. It roughly mirrors a $9.6 billion provision approved by the House last month.

To be more honest, they’re red-headed step-children with pretty nice trust funds. You know, the kind of trust funds with all kinds of strings attached, not the spend-it-all-on-skiing-chalets-or-whatever trust funds like John Kerry has.


Anyway, the meat of the bill promises to

tax tobacco makers and importers to raise $12 billion for the 10-year buyout plan. The government would in turn pay farmers and landowners for quota allotments initially granted to limit production and support prices.

Which boils down to: Quit doing that, or we’ll have to pay and tax you even more.

I’m at least half a martini past being able to make sense of the damn mess — see you in the morning.


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