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UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

 


By Geoff Metcalf

February 16, 2005

NewsWithViews.com

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men." -Thomas Henry Huxley

Terrorists are smuggling in the Continental United States and using the profits to attack and kill Americans.

Everyone makes mistakes. However, we expect adults to learn from mistakes, correct them, and not repeat the error.

Almost two-dozen governors (Democrats and Republicans) are guilty of a duplicity that is literally contributing to helping terrorists kill Americans.

The deeper I dig into the research on this issue the angrier I get. When I share the information with other veterans and active duty military, the most common reactions are unprintable.

  • One veteran observed, "they are shooting at our guys using bullets they bought from their cigarette smuggling enterprises…hey, fewer taxes, fewer bullets, you'd think it'd be a 'no brainer'."
  • A Special Forces NCO recently returned from Afghanistan and expecting to return to Iraq said, "My dad used to get cigarettes in his C-rations…I'm getting shot at by guys funded with the results of Rob Reiner's anti-tobacco cops. That's bullshit!"
  • A Marine veteran of Fallujah said, "If I live to vote again, I'll get some payback…if I die, my brothers will make those politician wieners feel the pain…"

Governors 'claim' they don't want to raise taxes (but they still 'Jones' for revenue). However, kinda like Bill Clinton parsing the definition of the word "is" they qualify "taxes". They don't dare consider property taxes because that would impact on a large constituency that might take anger into the voting booth. So they intentionally seek to tax a 'politically incorrect' minority they have already marginalized. They tax (and tax and tax and tax) cigarettes.

I have never smoked cigarettes and acknowledge the habit is unhealthy. However, tobacco is a legal product and frankly the excessive taxing of the product has created and unintended consequence that is more deadly than the vilified product.

I have been wading through GAO reports and assorted news stories that crystallize an empirical reality the P.C. crowd (and duplicitous Governors) have chosen to ignore. Terrorist's organizations (Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah et al) have been actively trading in illegal cigarettes…right here in this country. The money (and it's BIG bucks) from the illegal activity goes directly to funding bad guys killing Americans.

The money is huge and (if caught) the punishment is way less than dealing drugs. A recent GAO report titled 'Federal Law Enforcement Efforts and Seizures Increasing' reported:

"…some cigarette smugglers have ties with terrorist groups and there are indications that terrorist group involvement in illicit cigarette trafficking, as well as the relationship between criminal groups and terrorist groups will grow in the future because of the large profits they can make."

This is not a defense of tobacco, but rather an indictment of the inability of politicians to recognize the consequences of jacking up the cost of cigarettes $30 per carton with "politically correct" taxes.

The terrorist connection has been reported (and ignored) in dozens of venues.

  • The Washington Post wrote, "Smugglers with ties to terrorist groups are acquiring millions of dollars from illegal cigarette sales and funneling the cash to organizations such as al Qaeda and Hezbollah…"
  • Associated Press reported, "The alleged mastermind of a plot to smuggle $37 million worth of cigarettes into the United States has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and trafficking charges…"
  • The 'Police Chief Magazine' noted, "The trafficking of cigarettes by terrorists and their sympathizers has been going on worldwide since the mid-1990s, and the last four years have seen a sudden increase in trafficking. The trafficking schemes provide the terrorist groups with millions of dollars annually, which fund the purchasing of firearms and explosives to use against the United States, its allies, and other targets."
  • The Washington Times reported, "Law-enforcement officials say higher cigarette taxes nationwide in the past 10 years have spawned a cigarette-smuggling racket that finances crime syndicates and terrorist groups."

Michael J. Garcia, Department of Homeland Security honcho for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, "Cigarette smuggling…pumping incredible profits into criminal organizations. The number of their investigations has increased about 300-percent since April 2001."

Gee, what has happened in the last four years that could contribute to such an increase? Oh yeah…government has created a market for bad guys to exploit.

There are consequences to everything we do in life. There is an overwhelming abundance of statistical data to confirm that confiscatory cigarette taxes aren't doing 'Jack' to stop Johnnie and Jane from smoking…but it sure is pumping Billions of dollars to Abdul and Mohammand so they can kill Johnnie and Jane in Iraq, Afghanistan, or New York….

This is basic physics…action/reaction stuff. "Doctor, it hurts when I go like 'that'…Well, don't go like 'that'…."

Any Governor (regardless of partisan stripe) who embraces tobacco tax as a finesse to generate revenue would do well to heed a schoolgirls definition from an old 'Ladies Home Journal', "Results are what you expect, and consequences are what you get."

© 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  E-mail: geoff@geoffmetcalf.com


 

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Gee, what has happened in the last four years that could contribute to such an increase? Oh yeah…government has created a market for bad guys to exploit.