close the gitmo detention camp now, the majority of the prisoners are turning out to be innocent. and we’ve kept them imprisoned for what now over 11 years? that’s bullshit. and while we’re at it close the whole damn military base too. what a waste of money. for at least 11 years, out of our pockets we paid for these people to be stationed there to sit on their arses all day while picking their noses all day or to hit golf balls at the gitmo bay’s own country club all day. i won’t even talk about all the houses and subdivisions built there, or the shopping malls, and theatres and restaurants or even the private schools complete with all the facilities such as a baseball field, football field, track etc… all on our dime. and they’re wanting to expand it? bullshit.
Obama Blowing Smoke Up Our Butts With Proposed New Cigarette Tax
April 11, 2013
President Barack Obama claims his proposed 94-cent-a-pack cigarette tax will significantly reduce consumption, just like it did when he passed his 62-cent-a-pack tax in 2009. But that “significant reduction” is all smoke and mirrors, being used to distract you from the real reasons for this new tax increase: It gives Congress approximately $78 billion worth of breathing room in their budget and further enslaves middle- and low-income Americans who are already suffering under the weight of the new higher payroll taxes.
Obama’s 2014 budget includes $750 million in discretionary Preschool Development Grants to provide all low- and moderate-income four-year-old children with free, high-quality preschool, to be fully financed by a Federal $1.95-per-pack tax on cigarettes. In addition, according to Obama, this new tax increase will have substantial public health benefits because researchers have found that raising taxes on cigarettes significantly reduces consumption, especially for young Americans.
On April 1, 2009, Obama increased the Federal tax on a pack of cigarettes by 62 cents and according to his “researchers” there were tremendous benefits for everyone in the country. A report by Tobacco Free Kids, showed that every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and total consumption by about four percent. Every state that has significantly increased cigarette taxes has enjoyed substantial increases in revenue, while still reducing consumption. And politicians win because polls show that voters overwhelmingly prefer raising cigarette taxes to other tax increases or cutting funding for crucial programs.
However, in 2012 the CDC issued a press release that painted a slightly different picture. Between 2000 and 2010, total consumption of all smoked tobacco products declined by 27.5 percent. But from 2010 to 2011 the decline was minimal, only 0.8 percent. And despite the overall decline, the consumption of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products actually increased by 123 percent.
From 2000 to 2011, the largest increases were in consumption of pipe tobacco (482 percent) and large cigars (233 percent), both items that are taxed at a significantly lower rate than cigarettes. From 2008 to 2011, sales of large cigars more than doubled, and in 2011 there was a sixfold increase in loose pipe tobacco sales – enough to make 17.5 billion cigarettes.
“While consumption patterns of traditional cigarettes have continued to decline, when we take into account these alternative cigarette-like products, we’re seeing a lack of change in the overall consumption of burned tobacco that is being inhaled,” said Terry Pechacek, associate director for science with the C.D.C. Office on Smoking and Health in Atlanta and one of the report’s authors.
These lower-priced tobacco products are particularly appealing to the youth market, the very market Obama says he’s helping to shield by increasing the cigarette tax. Because they’re not labeled as cigarettes, manufacturers are free to add fruit and other flavorings that are banned in cigarettes, and they’re substantially cheaper than cigarettes, which makes them especially attractive to young kids whose only income is the lunch money they get from their parents every week.
According to Reynolds American, a cigarette manufacturer opposing the new tax increase, the median household income for nearly half of all smokers in 2011 was $27,700 compared to $45,761 for nonsmokers, so Obama is planning to fund his free preschool initiative on the backs of the very people he’s proposing to help.
“The idea of increasing taxes on low- to middle-income Americans at this time is ludicrous,” Bryan Hatchell, a spokesman for Reynolds American, said in a statement. “The effect of the payroll tax increase this year, along with higher gas and food prices, have hit hard millions of Americans who are simply trying to keep their heads above water financially.”
And economists question whether it’s economically wise to fund a long-term project – early childhood education – with revenue that, if “research” is right, will decrease over time. Some suggest that Obama could raise much more long-term money if he’d focus on budget cuts instead of tax increases, but we all know that’s just a pipe dream.
Don’t Watch TV Sports? You’re Still Paying For It (by TheYoungTurks)
Published on Feb 1, 2013
“Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt, who has been very public about his concerns over rising programming costs, Thursday defended the company’s expensive TV deals for the Lakers and Dodgers.
“They were going to be expensive no matter what happened; we think we’ve done the best of the alternatives,” Britt said when asked about the contracts during a fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts.”*
Cable is essentially a rip-off if you’re not watching sports. All cable customers, whether they watch sports or not, are paying to subsidize the ever-increasing cost of sports channels. Is this fair? Davis Sirota breaks it down.
*Read more from Joe Flint/ LA Times: