Chicago’s politicians love to tax the poor, the addicted, and the politically helpless.
Politicians see that poor people are addicted to tobacco. They take advantage of this. They tax tobacco, which means they tax tobacco users.
A tobacco tax is a sales tax. A sales tax is a so-called regressive tax: a fixed rate. Liberals say they hate regressive taxes. They love “progressive” taxes: higher rates on the rich. But that doesn’t stop them from voting for flat taxes, such as Social Security, FICA taxes, liquor taxes, and especially tobacco taxes. They may hate regressive taxes deep down in their hearts, but they vote for them every time.
The free market then responds. Tobacco importers rent 18-wheelers and drive to tobacco-growing states — recipients of federal tobacco subsidies — that have very low taxes on tobacco. They load up these low-tax products. Then they drive to Chicago. They sell the tobacco at below-market prices. Cigarettes are especially profitable.
This is not regarded by politicians as the free market at work — a tax revolt by the little people. They see this as a crime. They label this market as a black market. In Cook County, it really is. Blacks are the primary targets. They know it. The politicians know it. The media ignore it.
A local ABC-TV reporter says that “taxpayers are losing millions.” On the contrary, tax collectors are losing millions. Taxpayers are saving millions.