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View Diary: DK Elections Policy Weekly Open Thread: What Issues Are You Interested In? (256 comments)

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  •  It Strikes That A Core Principle.... (2+ / 0-)
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    MichaelNY, Skaje

    .....of progressive public policy is tolerance and respect for the rights and freedoms of others.  Your proud proclamations of intolerance for a demographic of Americans as benign as tobacco users strikes me as a very curious position to take for somebody whose first volley in this thread was to decry what you perceived as my "conservative position".

    As the pantheon of "smoke-free" designations creeps further and further outdoors, society is breeding a toxic brew of intolerance, going against the grain of the integrative means in which intolerance has been resolved in the past and thus doing a disservice to the cause of tolerance today.  The venom and bile you direct towards smokers is the kind of attitude that can only come from judging somebody from afar without ever getting to know any of them.  My request for you is to seek out whatever remote designated smoking area you can find and actually converse with some of these people.  I can assure you that you will come upon people bearing hardships you can't even imagine, ranging from chronic pain to parental/spousal abuse to drug addiction recovery to mental illness.  A couple of hours talking to these people should help you recognize the immaturity of the judgments you've bestowed on their humanity.

    •  There's one problem with that idea (1+ / 0-)
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      MichaelNY

      The smoke. I have no desire to breathe cigarette smoke, and it seems that most people don't have any desire to breathe cigarette smoke either. Cigarette smoke is both dangerous and disgusting not just to the smokers but to anyone around them as well.

      I believe that everyone has the right to breathe clean air. A continuation of this idea is that people should not be allowed to pollute the air without paying some kind of penalty... like a sin tax.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 04:01:51 PM PST

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      •  A Lot Of Problems With The "Clean Air" Entitlement (2+ / 0-)
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        gabjoh, Skaje

        Taken to its natural conclusion, there's a pretty long list of consumer products that someone would think "smells yucky".  If public policy decrees the need to clear a path of fresh air to accommodate the every footstep of people who believe they're entitled to it, just about every personal freedom along with the functioning of modern society grinds to a halt.  I'd like to walk down a sidewalk without enduring motor vehicle exhaust, but you know what, that's not my "right".  And it's a very safe bet that the people calling to codify intolerance with ever more punitive laws against smokers will live to regret the "your rights end where mine begin" smugness that can and will be turned around on them in the future.

        •  too bad we tax gas. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 04:20:23 PM PST

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        •  Subway sandwich shops, for example (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          I hate the smell of those places, worse than the Turnpike, worse than gas stations - let's start by taxing those.

          "Pillows, but no sleep / Feathers, but no birds." | Pro-transit young black urban progressive | SSP/DKE | -9, -7.79 | NJ-05 - ! | Yard signs don't vote.

          by gabjoh on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 06:00:14 PM PST

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          •  Does the smell of Subway shops (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Allen, MichaelNY

            damage your health? I didn't think so. Cigarette smoke clearly and obviously does damage the health of people who have to breathe it on a regular basis.

            (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

            by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 06:41:19 PM PST

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            •  Not if you aren't in a room with them (nt) (0+ / 0-)

              "Pillows, but no sleep / Feathers, but no birds." | Pro-transit young black urban progressive | SSP/DKE | -9, -7.79 | NJ-05 - ! | Yard signs don't vote.

              by gabjoh on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 06:59:43 PM PST

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            •  If you argument is by paying a tax it is okay (2+ / 0-)
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              Skaje, MichaelNY

              to damage the health of people... then you should rethink the logic of your position.

              The deadliness of cigarettes is irrelevant to taxing them.  Cigarettes should be prohibited anywhere in public because they kill people.  Mixing the health issue with the taxation issue is simply bizarre.  Do you also think that drunk drivers should pay higher gasoline taxes?

              Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

              by tommypaine on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:01:27 PM PST

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              •  That is an important observation (0+ / 0-)

                And something that didn't occur to me before.  If cigarettes really are so abhorrent, then try to ban them.  Taxation is this squishy middle ground where politicians can claim that they are trying to effect social change but in reality, all that is happening is that smokers are still smoking but now they pay more money to the government.  They become another revenue source, and in a perverted outcome the government actually has an interest now in keeping them smoking, otherwise its revenues fall.

                •  Many fewer people are smoking (0+ / 0-)

                  Whether increased cost for cigarettes has much to do with that, I have no idea.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:33:20 PM PST

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                  •  It's likely that cost is part of it (2+ / 0-)
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                    MichaelNY, BeloitDem

                    But I strongly suspect more significant reasons are the growing awareness of the health risks, and the end of tobacco's glamorous image.  I think those two reasons account for most of the decline from 42% to 19% of all adults smoking, going from 1965 to 2011.

                •  taxation is used for all kinds of incentivizing an (3+ / 0-)
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                  uclabruin18, Skaje, MichaelNY

                  disincentivizing and social engineering. My Federal Income Tax professor says the tax code is the Senate Finance Committee telling people how to live their lives. Its like cap and trade:  it don't actually regulate the bad stuff, it creates incentives so that hopefully people will do less of that bad stuff, or more of the good stuff.

                  ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                  by James Allen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:34:38 PM PST

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                  •  This is true (1+ / 0-)
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                    MichaelNY

                    All the various credits and deductions one can take incentivize various behaviors.  It's a subtle, yet I feel significant, difference from direct application of vice taxes though.  Allowing a tax deduction for putting solar panels on your roof comes across differently than slapping on a fee on anyone who doesn't get the panels...imagine how different the reaction would be to the ACA mandate if instead of there being a fee for non-compliance, there was simply a tax deduction for compliance.

                    In the end I suppose it really is the same thing though.  I guess I don't mind a lot of the tax code silliness because it doesn't come across as being a punitive thing, whereas cigarette taxes are definitely punitive.

                  •  The problem is (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MichaelNY, Mark27

                    It doesn't work very well for addictive substances, since demand is pretty inelastic. Quitting smoking is really hard.

        •  This comment sounds very anti-environmentalist (0+ / 0-)

          I hope that wasn't what you meant by it.

          (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

          by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 06:42:56 PM PST

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