While Barack Obama will be talking up extending the Bush Tax Cuts for one, count′em, one whole year for households earning less than $250,000 per year, Obama signed into law new taxes and restrictions on the RYO, Roll-Your-Own, Tobacco industry that threatens to wipe out thousands of jobs. Poor and middle class smokers will take it on the chin, and in their wallets. This is not the first time Obama has slammed the poor and middle class with a massive tobacco tax. He did so in 2009 shortly after taking office, adding an average of about $1,200 per year tax burden on smokers. The new measures were buried in the transportation bill by Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana.
The new law puts a ′Ma-and-Pa′ tobacco shop in the same league as a major tobacco manufacturer. Many RYO Tobacco stores not only sell products to enable smokers to roll their own cigarettes at home, saving an average of $23 per carton, but also allow customers to use an automated cigarette rolling machine in the store. These run about $33,000 and can crank out a carton in a couple of minutes. Smaller machines available for home use can take several hours for a user to roll a carton′s worth of cigarettes as these are manually loaded.
I, myself, roll my own. Apart from the physical therapy benefits of having something to do in my dull, disabled, chronically ill lifestyle, a carton of smokes costs me about $6-7 a carton to roll with my hand-cranked ′Top-O-Matic′ rolling machine. I can get about three cartons out of a one-pound bag of tobacco, which costs about $12-15 and I get three boxes of pre-made filtered tubes for $5. Frankly speaking, the cigarettes I roll are much better than those made and sold by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds as my smokes are free of the additives and chemicals. They are also less ′addictive′ since they lack these additives. I can go for hours between smokes without feeling any jitters or other effects.
Customers who use the automated machines at tobacco shops select their favorite tobacco and style of tubes, then pay a fee to use the rolling machine, typically about $10-15 a carton. The industry began a rapid growth following the last tobacco tax increase in 2009, which added an average of $23 per carton nationwide. That Obama tax hit the poor and middle class hard, since obviously, the rich can afford to pay more. If you are really rich, and you smoke, then you were probably already paying more than the average smoker anyway since you′d be smoking premium brands like Dunhills, imported from the UK. The 2009 Obama tax also put more regulations on Internet and mail-order cigarette and tobacco products, wiping out businesses and jobs.
So, while Barack Obama will play the class warfare card today offering to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for one measly year, adding more uncertainty to our economy, the new Obama RYO tobacco tax will hit the poor and middle class hard. Plus, the new law threatens to wipe out a large segment of the Roll-Your-Own tobacco industry, closing small businesses which are mostly family-owned ′Ma-and-Pa′ stores. The new law, which imposes additional taxes and regulations, was an amendment to the recently passed transportation bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana. Yet another example of the tyranny of Obama, Democrats and Big Government enthusiasts beating down the poor and middle class, taking money out of their pockets and generally making life more miserable. It is estimated that some 10,000 people will become unemployed as a result. The shame of it all!