Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hugging the working poor with a knife in one hand...

A couple of issues at the statehouse have taken place at the Statehouse recently (or will be debated soon) that kind of show the true colors of the Lug Nuts.

First, the minimum wage increase. Sure, that's a "nice" idea, and the working poor will get a raise in their hourly pay. However, it saps businesses that will probably not see a corresponding increase in revenues to pay for said wage increases. This, in turn, will force some business to reduce hours of workers or let them go. Of course, as inflation increases, we'll probably see these companies go back to hiring near-minimum wage earners at previously-set hours, but this increase in minimum wage is going to be a shock to the system. It would be better if companies paid more to their workers based upon profitability and merit, rather than government proclamation.

Second, the 275% increase in taxes on cigarettes is going to hit the working poor hard, too. Of course, we can debate the merits of smoking (there are none, IMHO), and yes, people can make better choices in their lives, too. However, such as life is, I'm guessing a larger percentage of working poor smoke on a regular basis than do urban professionals at 801 Grand. While the working poor might make more income with the minimum wage increase, it will be taken away quicker by the extra $1.00/pack increase on cigs.

I am all in favor of people quitting smoking and becoming healthier. Maybe a small tax increase could be a way to lower teen smoking. However, not everyone is going to be led to that conclusion and will continue to puff their cold cash away. We've heard the argument before that government income from tobacco settlements/sales will go to help Iowa's health system; what happened to the tobacco settlement money from a few years ago, and where will the funds from the increased cigarette tax go in the future as well?

So, while the Lug Nuts are attempting to reach out and hug the working poor, their favorite group to trot out and display the results of Republican thinking, they are holding a hidden dagger, ready to stab these folks in the back and kill them with kindness.


Anonymous Dorf said...

My thoughts on the cig tax have always been this: If you think smoking is so bad and people should not smoke, why not make the cig tax like $100 a pack? That way nobody will be cigs.

Of course the gov't really doesn't want people to quit smoking, they want to find a balance where they can appear to care, but steal the maximum amout of money from us as they can. :-)


p.s. I don't smoke, so I don't really care until they screw over the smokers enough that they move on to us drinkers!!! :-)

11:17 AM, February 19, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

EXACTLY! Same with the minimum wage; if its such a good thing, why not raise it to $100/hour? It's for the children, right? How can you say no to the children!

12:58 PM, February 19, 2007  
Anonymous Dorf said...

I say no to my child all the time.. It's easy. :-)

10:19 AM, February 20, 2007  

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