Nanny Statism for Profit


Last summer I reported that politicians slipped one paragraph into the transportation bill that shut down many small businesses across the United States.  Even some Republicans voted for this even though they claim to be champions of small business.  These small business were small Mom and Pop Roll Your Own shops.  The vast majority of these Nanny Statist Laws get passed in this manner and the public hears very little about it.  But why would these lawmakers kill jobs and businesses, for profit of course As the Washington Times reported.

In April, President Obama signed into law the Stock Act, which prevents lawmakers from using insider information gained from government duties for personal financial gain. But just one month later, senators were debating anew the smoking-cessation funding, including several who began the year with investments that could be impacted by the outcome.

Mr. Reid, for instance, fought to save the funding successfully, saying it “pays for successful tobacco-cessation programs that avert billions in health care costs to treat emphysema, heart disease and cancer.”

But according to Senate financial-disclosure records, Mr. Reid has invested between $50,001 to $100,000 in mutual funds whose portfolios include Johnson & Johnson and the drugmaker Pfizer, which also produces smoking-cessation products. Mr. Reid just bought into the mutual funds in February 2011.

Mr. Durbin has long been one of the anti-smoking champions on Capitol Hill and has just over $2,000 in Pfizer stock. In May, the Illinois Democrat co-sponsored legislation that would crack down on tobacco companies trying to take advantage of tax loopholes. The companies were marketing pipe tobacco, which is taxed at a lower rate then cigarettes, but consumers can use the tobacco to roll their own cigarettes.
Over the past four years as he repeatedly pressed for federal funding to stop smoking, Mr. Harkin has owned between $50,001 and $100,000 in stock in health products maker Johnson & Johnson, which makes the popular anti-smoking product Nicorette. Senate disclosure forms give ranges instead of exact amounts.
He’s hardly alone. A half-dozen senators who have been among the most vocal advocates for federal funding for smoking cessation — including Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois — have direct or indirect investments in companies that make anti-tobacco products.

On the flip side, some of the Republican opponents of the anti-smoking funds owned stocks in tobacco companies, too. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, a vocal critic of the anti-smoking funds, owns between $100,001 and $250,000 in stock in tobacco giant Altria.

Big Tobacco lobbied for the closures as well as big pharma.  Dr Michael Siegel (a former member of tobacco control) has long lamented the influence of Big Pharma in Tobacco Control especially when it comes to the attack on the use of e cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.

Big Tobacco is using the club of the extortion payed to the states to further stifle competition.

The dispute involves whether state officials have done enough to regulate off-brand cigarette companies.

In a 1998 master settlement agreement tobacco companies agreed to make billions in compensatory payments to states as long as they remain in business.

As part of that agreement, states were required to be “diligent” in making sure that cigarette companies that were not part of the settlement pay a $6-per-carton fee to an escrow fund. The idea was to stop nonparticipating companies from undercutting companies making the settlement payments.

Since 2006, the participating companies — R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris Inc., Brown & Williamson, Lorillard and 16 smaller companies — have alleged that states have not been living up to their part of the bargain. The agreement allows participating companies to retrieve some payments if they can prove it.

“There’s a couple of billion dollars at risk across the country,” Phillips said. “It’s not just Louisiana. There’s a lot of other states.”

Of course I call it extortion because the original premise of the Master Settlement Agreement was to offset the increased healthcare cost incurred by smokers.  Of course this has been proven false numerous times,  Michael J McFadden wrote an excellent piece on the subject.

Of course Tobacco is now under the control of the FDA which is under the control of “Big Pharma” as the following documentary shows.

The story does not end there, the statist are attempting to put even more small businesses under as Pipes Magazine reports.

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax rate parity among all tobacco products, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 10, 2012

Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mr. LAUTENBERG, and Mr. BLUMENTHAL) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

There is even an investigation on the illegal use of federal funds being used to fund these activities. Of course nothing will become of it since the inmates run the asylum.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee last week sent a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), raising serious questions about the possible misuse of federal stimulus taxpayer dollars to lobby for higher sugar taxes, increased tobacco taxes, restrictions on restaurant zoning, setting restaurant standards, and changing relative prices of health and unhealthy food items. Under federal law, it is illegal to use funds appropriated by Congress to influence in any manner a member of Congress or an official of any government regarding any legislation, law, or policy.

So as the so called “Progressives” decry corporatism as fascism, they are in deep and doing the bidding of their handlers.

 

‘Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’ ~ C. S. Lewis

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About Marshall Keith

Broadcast Engineer Scuba Diver Photographer Fisherman Hunter Libertarian
This entry was posted in Libertarian, Nanny State, Smoking Ban and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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