The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) decided yesterday to levy a $0.15 tax on fresh cut Christmas trees. The money collected would be used by the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) to fund a marketing campaign and:
“A program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expand existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” and to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.”
The reason I say the Obama references are misleading is because the NCTA has had this request in with the USDA since 2009, which means it was “in the works” in 2008, before Obama was in office. That said, here is what we need to learn and accept from this ridiculous tax:
- At one point was it okay for a group of companies in the private sector to request that our government force a tax on all of us, that once collected is given back to those same private companies to fund their marketing campaign? Why don’t these private companies just agree to fund such a joint-marketing venture themselves? Why use government to steal money from us to pay for their TV ads? If that is not a solid gold example of crony capitalism in action, I don’t know what is. Why doesn’t Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Honda and Toyota all form a ‘National Car Association’ (NCA) and have the government impose a tax on all of us every time we buy a car and give that money back through the NCA to Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Honda and Toyota to pay for their TV commercials? Capitalism does not permit corporations and government to get in bed together like this, what we have now is crony capitalism.
- The fact that a Department of the Government can unilaterally levy a tax is an excellent example of the destruction of the Constitution. Congress is the only body of government that is permitted to levy taxes on us. That is until Big Government formed “Departments” and “Agencies” and in their charters gave them the rights to do just about anything that Congress can do, without Congressional approval, which by default means without our approval. This was the final nail in the coffin which has created monstrous federal agencies running roughshod and unsupervised all over the American public, passing their own laws, levying their own taxes…all without approval from us, as the Constitution demands via our elected Representatives in Congress.
- The stupidity of government could not be more reinforced than the fact that a group of government bureaucrats thought it was a good idea to impose any sort of tax on anyone, all on their own, during a recession with high unemployment in front of a major holiday on a symbol of that holiday that represents giving, charity and fellowship.
- The stupidity of Obama for not telling the thoughtless government bureaucrats that it was a bad idea and to go back to sharpening pencils.
As of this afternoon, the Obama Administration was educated by someone smart and postponed the implementation of this illegal, unconstitutional and ridiculous tax.
Do you know what I think happened? I think that a number of companies that produce and sell Christmas trees thought it would be a good idea to toss-up between them and support an ad campaign to drive sales up, just like any other private company does when they run TV and radio ads. Unlike car companies that produce vastly unique products, each with their own selling points, Christmas trees are a commodity, they all look the same, so everyone who makes and sells Christmas trees has to agree to be a part of this. But maybe some of the members of this industry did not want to participate, which puts those that did want to participate in a tough spot. They don’t want to spend money on ads that would also benefit those companies that did not want to spend money on ads, so they turned to Big Government to force a tax, at the end of a gun, on all private companies in this industry to pony-up the money so it could be used for industry marketing purposes.
Either way, since the tax is unilaterally imposed, that cost will be passed through to us. So if I am right, this law is wrong for another reason…that a group of thugs in this industry used Big Government to gang up on their competitors and force them to do something (hand over their money) that they didn’t want to do.
Lastly, why are we paying a tax when we buy a Christmas tree to be reminded by advertising how important it is to buy a Christmas tree? If we already bought one, then didn’t we already know that?