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Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: Let’s talk about this cigar tax, this cigarette tax. The president says he going to veto it. He ‘reiterated today his threat to veto Senate legislation that would substantially increase funds for children’s health insurance by levying a 61-cent-a-pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes.’ This includes that whopping 20,000% increase on the tax on cigars. The tax on cigars right now is five cents. It will go to ten bucks on large cigars. By the way, for those of you who are not cigar aficionados as am I, a large cigar is defined as anything that is not a cigar that will fit in a pack of 20, like cigarettes do. And those aren’t cigars. They might be called cigarillos, but if they’re made by a machine, you may as well give ’em to the homeless. So the point is, every cigar is a large cigar, ten bucks. The president is threatening to veto it.

Now, here’s my problem with this. This is liberalism on the march. This is not a health issue, just like global warming is not a science issue. This is liberalism. This is a tax issue. This is what liberals do. They raise taxes, and they get people to go along with it by targeting a segment of society that is defenseless and helpless, the itty-bitty children. They target the evil in society who are behaving in ways that liberals highly disapprove, i.e., smokers. They’ve about wrung the cigarette tax thing dry, although that tax is going to be exorbitantly high now. But now they focus on a forgotten area of the tobacco industry, the premium cigar industry. I’m going to tell you people, there is no comparison to a cigar and a cigarette. The cigar is pure tobacco. There are no additives in it. There are no chemicals in it. Only idiots inhale ’em, and not many do for very long. They are a relaxation experience, and it’s a whole different mind-set if you’re cigar aficionado than if you’re a cigarette smoker. If you want to smoke cigarettes, I’m not condemning anything, I’m just pointing out the difference here.

The percentage of the tobacco business that is devoted to cigars is less than 2%, all the cigarettes worldwide and so forth. This tax will put them out of business. But I’m getting off the main point. I am deviating from my main thrust. The main thrust is this is not a health issue. They’re using again the little bitty children. Why in the world should one segment of our society be targeted for a tax increase to pay for health care benefits that the parents of these kids ought to be finding a way to afford themselves? If that can’t be done, then spread the burden of paying for it, but we’ve already got how many damn children’s health programs do we have? I know that taxes on cigarettes already are going to a lot of this. That’s why I’ve said for years, the cigarette smokers of this country deserve our thanks. They deserve congressional medals of honor because they continue to buy these things and their taxes are funding children’s health programs already. What I think ought to happen here, I think the products that these itty-bitty children use ought to be taxed. They’re the ones, they ought to be forced, their parents, to pay for their kids’ health care.

Why should cigar smokers have to do it? What do kids eat? They eat vanilla Ice cream, they eat Doritos, they eat Coke and Pepsi and 7-Up and whatever, Red Bull spiked with who knows what. I don’t know what they do, but make the parents of these kids, every time they’re buying a Snickers, raise the tax on a candy bar five up bucks. Diaper tax, absolutely. And if you get throw-away diapers to save the environment, tax those at ten bucks a diaper. Cartoon taxes, that’s right. If you watch Cartoon Network, special tax collected on your cable bill. If the itty-bitty children are going to be the beneficiaries of this, why in the hell is somebody that has nothing to do with the itty-bitty children paying for it? How come big government’s going to come around — and I know they think this is going to succeed because they have created such hatred for cigarette smokers in this country. They have successfully over the years created such hatred, secondhand smoke kills. It doesn’t. Firsthand smoke doesn’t universally kill. I see these numbers, 400,000 cigarette related deaths a year. They don’ t know that. Prove it. But the number’s out there, just like three million homeless were out there.

Dawn, it looks like you’re really getting irritated in there. Is it because I am not sympathetic to the plight of our poor, obese, itty-bitty children who don’t have health care? This is not about the kids. It’s just a technique to sell this. And of course, name for me the pro-smoker lobby. The cigar association, there’s a trade group. I’ve spoken to them. Great bunch of guys. Everybody I’ve met in the cigar industry is a fine person, and they’re being targeted here. They haven’t done a thing. Kids don’t smoke their product! Anyway, it just burns me up. The president is going to veto it; reiterated his promise to do that.

• Special Page: Rush’s Cigar Recommendations

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