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View Diary: Can Democrats Really Afford To Forfeit The Votes of 46 Million Smokers? (226 comments)

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  •  conspiracy theories based on nothing (0+ / 0-)

    Tobacco can't be easily grown inside the home, so it's not a proper analogy.

    Beer can be easily produced at home, and it's fully legal, easy to get homebrew licenses and do hobby-brewing.

    "Bottom line:  marijuana legalization undertaken by the government will result in more people in jail for marijuana-related crimes than today"

    This is fucking stupid and you're not basing this crack-fueled conspiracy theory on any facts or sensible analysis of the situation.  Just because I can easily brew beer or make wine in my home, doesn't mean I do it! It's a hell of a lot more convenient to not stink up my house with plants and just buy from an expert grower -- and I can support my local botanist rather than a corporate overlord.

    Legalization would entail removing the federal tax stamp act, and there's absolutely no reason to think they would restrict issuance to big corporations.

    Also taxes are good -- they're a backdoor to funding public institutions for people who hate income tax and have irrational hatred of the system (like yourself).

    When I was a kid (i'm 26 now) I was a libertarian too. I was swept away by free-market idealogues like Milton Friedman and anti-government nutters like Ayn Rand and of course, the history of our nation which has a pretty consistent theme of anti-authority which i think is the reason why a lot of high school kids get influenced into being Libertarians.

    But the fact is that not everything that is socially-beneficial is easily marketed and able to be profited on -- certain things in life should just not be left to markets to allocate resources of.

    Markets should be the base of the vast majority of things -- but public institutions should be there to maintain unity and civility, as well as to prevent negative externalities that arise from market-driven activity (pollution, monopoly power, greed).

    Also, the way our monetary system is designed is a legal ponzi scheme, as a result it would be immoral to refuse to allow people the decency of food, clothing, and shelter if they "lose the game" of capitalism. Even Milton Friedman supported negative income taxes and a guaranteed minimum income!

    But certain "industries" -- like education, healthcare, basic housing -- should have a public presence in the market. So rather than an outright domination of, say, healthcare provision -- you can let there be Medicare for all so that no matter who you are you can choose to have a public plan rather than deal with big corporations trying to score a buck off you.

    You can't have a society that runs purely off of profiting from one another -- it breeds distrust and screws up social cohesion.

    Public institutions are really important, you don't want the private money interests to own all the land and assets in society because then you got nowhere to go unless you pay a fee! And no, charities DO NOT magically cover the shortfall when government does not step up to the plate to provide public goods. No matter what anecdotes you're fed about rich people giving money away to support the public good -- it's simply not sustainable if we don't have a democracy where we all agree that we need to have public institutions that serve as a backstop and help facilitate community.

    You really need to travel outside the United States and read about 20th century history. When you let private money interests go wild, you can see what happens in parts of South America. You can also see in parts of Europe what happens when as a society you come together to form a social compact where the strong support the weak and where there are robust markets that are complemented by equally fortified safety nets that help provide opportunity to all.

    I used to be like you, trust me. I hated seat belt laws, I hated taxes of all sorts -- and then I read a lot more books and history and I travelled and I realized there's a lot more to life than what a selected reading of US history. Societies aren't build, civilization is not build, by turning all incentives in life over to profit and private gain. Not everything that is good or beneficial in life is profitable! You'll grow out of it. Most of my friends who were like me in high school and college eventually snapped out of it. If you hit 30 and you still haven't, then I'd be worried.

    Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

    by aguadito on Sun May 12, 2013 at 08:44:32 PM PDT

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    •  Nope.....Conspiracy Theories Based on Precedent... (0+ / 0-)

      ....precedent which is unfolding at this moment with tobacco.  If you think for one minute that government has any other interest in legalizing marijuana than to turn it into "the new tobacco" in every conceivable way, then I have a bridge to sell you.

      As for your other comments, I'm not averse at all to taxes, but I prefer they be progressive whenever possible and broad-based whenever possible, so as not to single anybody out, specifically not those of limited means.  It's sad that I even have to explain to pseudo-progressives why a $1.95 federal tax combined with an average $2 state tax on every 60-cent pack of cigarettes is the worst kind of tax.  That's straight out of Progressive Policy 101....or at least it was until Mike Bloomberg decided the savages needed to be civilized and the left decided to decree him their David Koresh.

      I'm not and never was a Randian or Milton Friedman follower, but aspects of libertarianism have some appeal.  But it isn't really libertarianism to be against yet again more cigarette taxes.....it's more basic human decency to not further afflict the already afflicted and their families with a massive financial censure against a legal activity in which the government earns scores of billions of dollars in straight profit from every year.  

      You don't have to educate me on the limitations of libertarian ideology.  I'm more of an old school labor Democrat with a blue-collar background who embraces a quasi-libertarian view on sin taxes simply because I don't want to see my already devastated family and neighbors be further destroyed.

      •  cig tax is definitely regressive. (0+ / 0-)

        that i can't argue against.

        and, well, tobacco does offer a relief to an already marginalized class of people trying to make the best of a shitty, unfair system and life.

        so you have a good point there.

        didn't mean to strawman you as a Libertarian, but based on  the comments thread you were coming off as more that than a labor dem.

        but -- the analogy of tobacco still doesn't hold up because weed is easier to grow and because it's an industrial cash crop, much different from weed.

        Cannabis actually has elements of both tobacco and alcohol -- but it's distinct. I wouldn't jump to the conclusions you have jumped to with what would happen with legalization. I think if you change the law you will change the cultural attitudes towards it.  The jobs and GDP boost we would get from legitimizing the whole trade is something we really need right now.

        Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

        by aguadito on Sun May 12, 2013 at 09:57:55 PM PDT

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