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Old 11-09-2011, 06:02 AM   #1
FafnerMorell
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Default Obama: Taxing people to force them to like Christmas trees

President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
Story here (although less conservative-opinionated versions can also be found, of course - it's not like the media is ever going to call Obama out).

But the thing that gets me - the government feels it needs to tax people in order to "improve the image" of Christmas trees - more specifically: live trees vs. artificial ones.

Is this something we really need the government to do? Should they make it a requirement for schools to teach: Live (well, technically once-live but slowly dying over the course of the month or so after they've been cut) Christmas trees good, artificial Christmas trees bad?

After the government spends millions and millions printing out these indoctrination textbooks, will it then realize that it meant to say "Live non-denominational-winter-festival trees good, artificial non-denominational-winter-festival trees bad" and spend millions more on reprints?

How many millions of dollars of our money must be spent in order to convince us to like live/dying trees?
Is any amount too much to spend on such a vital issue? Think of the children, growing up tolerating fake trees - foolishly thinking they are adequate objects of non-denominational-winter-festival worship, when only the trees which gave their lives for our enjoyment are worth of veneration.

Call me a heretic, but somehow, I think the government is spending a lot of time and money on shit it should just plain leave alone.
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:31 AM   #2
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If the government doesn't keep doing stupid crap like this to look busy, people will figure out that we don't really need them.
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:35 AM   #3
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Think of all the jobs created. Advertising, research groups, focus groups, farmers/workers, transportation...
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:29 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Veo
Think of all the jobs created.
Because Stimulus has been working so well so far?

Advertising
Because the industry can't decide for itself whether or not to advertise? Why do you think that the government can step in and make better decisions that the market?

research groups, focus groups
Seriously? Look why don't we stop with the pretend jobs and just start dropping money out of airplanes?

farmers/workers, transportation...
So you feel that by taxing a product, the government can promote the sale of it? Well that's brilliant! Why not institute a $10 tax on each tree? That should really make sales take off!
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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Actually, I was being facetious, not that you'll believe me anyways.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Veo View Post
Actually, I was being facetious, not that you'll believe me anyways.
Gotcha.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Veo View Post
Actually, I was being facetious, not that you'll believe me anyways.
the problem veo is its government money. your paying out more then you are bringing in. that comes from tax payers.

If more people are being paid by tax payers then the people that are making money on their own you have a downward spiral that ends probably in war. Or at least something like it. It may even be brief.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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My initial reading of Veo's post was that he was being sarcastic, but it's often tough to pick up on over the internet with other the tedious [sarcasm] identifier....

Anyways - looks like the government wound up packing off on the tax today.
Although I really think it's just because they realized they should have referred to them as non-denominational-winter-festival trees instead of Christmas trees.
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:26 PM   #9
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A government program that pays for itself.. ? how odd.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Beal View Post
Seriously? Look why don't we stop with the pretend jobs and just start dropping money out of airplanes?
The problem they have had with that is the paper money cannot be made to fall predictably in heavy Democrat population centers and the coins actually kill the Democrats when it lands. The dropping of money out of airplanes has thus been tabled until paper money can be more predictably dropped from aircraft.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #11
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I know.. have them fold the money into paper airplanes. problem solved. other then dropping them out of a plane at that point.
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:26 AM   #12
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I looked into this... and it is not really a "tax" in the typical sense.

What it was in practice was forced industry fees. It was an attempt to make all tree growers pay a fee to a national organization. Some already voluntarily pay the fee, but some growers do not.

It was more like a forced union dues arrangement on the growers. It wasn't an attempt to raise the price of trees (although that might happen a bit), but more of an attempt to force small growers to pay into this national fund.

It wasn't a government program to pay for itself. It was an industry program trying to force the whole industry into participating. -The "less biased" websites explained it was the result of the industry lobbyists. (Self imposed- sort of).
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:21 PM   #13
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http://www.christmastree.org/11_PR7.pdf
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:42 PM   #14
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Oh thanks! Great link. Explained it much better than I did.
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:49 PM   #15
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So ... we are once again using government to enforce a private program ... it sounds like the government collects the money and turns it over to the private administration board for use as it sees fit (advertising/research.)

HOW IS THIS CONSTITUTIONAL??? The government as pimp for the Christmas Tree industry???
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Michael Cumberlan View Post
So ... we are once again using government to enforce a private program ... it sounds like the government collects the money and turns it over to the private administration board for use as it sees fit (advertising/research.)

HOW IS THIS CONSTITUTIONAL??? The government as pimp for the Christmas Tree industry???
I doubt this is the only industry....
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Pinkheart View Post
I doubt this is the only industry....
So it's OK to pimp as long as you've got a lot of whores?
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Michael Cumberlan View Post
So ... we are once again using government to enforce a private program ... it sounds like the government collects the money and turns it over to the private administration board for use as it sees fit (advertising/research.)

HOW IS THIS CONSTITUTIONAL??? The government as pimp for the Christmas Tree industry???
Not only that, but one could argue that, by supporting this, our government is endorsing one religion over others. I wouldn't go that far, necessarily, but I have seen the argument.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Wildane View Post
Not only that, but one could argue that, by supporting this, our government is endorsing one religion over others. I wouldn't go that far, necessarily, but I have seen the argument.
If the press or politicians ever realize that, they'll all switch sides on the issue.

The ACLU will sue, and suddenly all democrats will oppose the program, and republicans will demand to know why they are trying to kill Christmas by opposing it.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Aolynd View Post
If the press or politicians ever realize that, they'll all switch sides on the issue.

The ACLU will sue, and suddenly all democrats will oppose the program, and republicans will demand to know why they are trying to kill Christmas by opposing it.
and you wonder why people stopped voting.
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Michael Cumberlan View Post
So ... we are once again using government to enforce a private program ... it sounds like the government collects the money and turns it over to the private administration board for use as it sees fit (advertising/research.)

HOW IS THIS CONSTITUTIONAL??? The government as pimp for the Christmas Tree industry???
If it involves the creation of anything that can be bought or sold, it's apparently interstate commerce. (Even if it isn't interstate and even if it isn't being sold.) If it involves private property, then apparently eminent domain applies. (Even if the government is just taking from you and giving to another.) And if it involves, well, just about anything else, I'm sure we can find a way for "general welfare" to apply.

What's written in the Constitution isn't important. That's why we have a Supreme Court.

Duh.
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:29 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by FafnerMorell View Post
So it's OK to pimp as long as you've got a lot of whores?
You know, it's hard out here fo' a pimp...
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:31 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Wildane View Post
Not only that, but one could argue that, by supporting this, our government is endorsing one religion over others. I wouldn't go that far, necessarily, but I have seen the argument.
No... Christmas tree sellers aren't classified as religious institutions and don't enjoy the tax exempt status. (Unless it's a church selling the trees or something).

They are just a business. Like Catholicism.
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