* CHP, #5 of n
Topics: Health, Democracy
31 Oct 1993
The cigarette tax as a financing mechanism is a crystal clear
case of what is wrong with democracy: tyranny of the majority. I wish
that we could at least be honest about what we are doing and say the
"We the ever virtuous and truly right divinely benighted majority
declare you smokers to be vermin of society and intend to tax tobacco
at such a rate as to generate maximum revenue no matter the fairness
or pain imposed."
We are instead engaged in a truly shameless exercise of
telling cigarette smokers they are just paying their own costs. Of
course, that's not true. The money doesn't go to health care. Even
if it did, it would not go to smoker's health care. Even if it did,
it would go from smokers who are paying their own insurance to those
who are not. If we truly believed in having people pay their own
costs, we would adopt my plan (yeah, right, dream on).
Another interesting instance of this is the de facto price
controls for drug companies. The majority has found their prices
to be excessive so by majority opinion we simply confiscate their
property (in the form of denying to them the chance to recoup their
investment in research). In this case (as opposed to screwing
smokers) the majority will immediately suffer for its own error.
I don't have any illusions about people actually recognizing their