In a preliminary victory for much-maligned cigarette smokers and all Americans who value their few remaining freedoms, puffers have dodged the Congressional excise-tax bullet for the short term(“Bush Veto of Child Health Bill Sustained , “October 18) With the defeat of their planned veto override, the taxers and spenders who masquerade as saviors of America’s children have had a momentary comeuppance. The unintended beneficiaries of Bush’s rejection of incremental federalized health insurance were the smokers who were expected to enhance state child insurance coffers to the tune of $35 billion while aggressively avoiding new cigarette taxes via Internet and black markets for tobacco products.
The national war of attrition against cigarette smokers is reducing the rights of individuals to assemble peacefully in open-air public venues, as well as private homes, if they smoke. This effort to criminalize tobacco products is not likely to change regardless of who wins the beauty contest in election 2008. Bush should be commended for doing the right thing, even if it temporarily benefits an endangered minority, smokers.
Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager for The Heartland Institute.