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Rush’s Morning Update: Blowing Smoke!
April 15, 2008

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You remember years ago –liberals sued Big Tobaccoand then hit consumers with massive tax increases, andI predicted that the settlement money would fund government operations– not health care, as promised. And I said a thriving black market for cigarettes would emerge.

Well, since then, states have indeed spent their settlement money on non-health care initiatives and have become totally dependent on tobacco tax revenue. And now they’re worried about the thriving black market of cigarettes; there may have been a tipping point reachedin cigarette taxation here.

Criminal gangs are smuggling cigarettes from lower-tax statesto higher-tax states. It’s gotten so bad that the ATF has developed a national strategy to combat the trafficking. It’s a lucrative business,especially in states like New York. That’s where yet another tax increase will push the price of a pack of legally purchased cigarettes to almost nine dollars. An Indian reservation 60 miles from New York City sells over ten million cartons a year to people trying to avoid these high prices.

But it isn’t just Native Americans and domestic criminal gangs: Smokers are turning to Internet sales operations, too. Tons of counterfeit cigarettes are now showing up from the ChiComs.

Now, all of this unfolded precisely as I predicted. See, the one thing theliberals can’t getthrough their thick skulls is that people respond to confiscatory taxes by changing their behavior. This was the lesson of the American Revolution –a war fueled by high taxes and lost liberties– and it’s going to be true forever.Trust me, folks. I mean,I’m not blowing smoke up your skirt: It actually happens the way I tell you!

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