Are you a smoker? Do you like smoking? If you answered yes, you’d better be prepared to change your tune. Let me explain why.
Sky News reports:
The cost of a packet of cigarettes in New Zealand could rise to as much as $100 dollars – around £50 – by 2020 amid moves to stamp out smoking.
The Ministry of Health wants New Zealand to be smoke free by 2025 and the suggested increase gives the first hint of the drastic measures being discussed.
A document released under the Official Information Act to the country’s 3 News website features a number of pricing scenarios – with the most extreme showing a single cigarette costing the equivalent of £2.50.
The most likely model would see a shock tax increase next year, and then a 10%-a-year rise, which would mean a packet of cigarettes costs around $60 (£30) by 2025.
“Tobacco taxation is the single most effective intervention available to drive down smoking prevalence figures.”
But, this is New Zealand. What does that have to do with America?
I’m so glad you asked.
New Zealand has “Socialized Healthcare” (or “Socialized Medicine”), with the government paying approximately 77% of all medical-related expenditures.
Yes, I know. Obamacare is not socialized healthcare (once the “public option” was removed it ceased being socialized). But, it is a first step towards that. (I’m also completely ignoring in this article the fact that the US government drafted a law that requires US citizens to purchase a product – insurance – from a private company, for no other reason that merely being alive.)
You with me so far? Good, now keep up with me. New Zealand wants to tax the hell out of cigarettes, to the effect of bringing them as high as $100 a pack. Break that down – that’s $5 for a single cig. Next time someone asks to “bum one,” I’m sure you’ll be less likely to oblige.
So what’s the big deal? Smoking is bad for you, right? Isn’t this a good thing? Well, maybe. Sure, smoking is bad for you. But let’s look at this from an “individual liberty” perspective, shall we?
If you want to smoke a cigarette, that’s none of my business. Nor should it be any of the government’s business. It’s your business, and yours alone. But when the government controls your healthcare, and cigarettes have an adverse effect on your health, then it becomes the government’s business. And when every citizen is paying for everyone else’s healthcare, it becomes my business too. I don’t want to pay increased costs because you smoke and have poorer health.
You see how that works? What should be a private decision by you becomes everyone else’s business.
Did I fail to mention this is already beginning here in the US? The average price for a pack of cigarettes for New Yorkers is $9.20.
First, it’s cigarettes. And then, it becomes big macs.
This chart from 2010 shows that in terms of percentage of adult population with body mass index (bmi) of 30 or higher – the definition for obese – the US ranks 18th in the world with 32.2% of males and 35.5% of females being obese.
Obesity has been known to lead to health issues, so now we’ll have to deal with that. How do we make America skinnier? Why, by taxing the hell out of big macs. Similar things have been mentioned here, here, here, and has been done internationally.
An impossibly high tax is a de facto ban. So now, you don’t have the freedom to choose. In the interest of the “common good,” your individual rights and liberties have been taken away. This brings me to a rather interesting quote:
“Since there is no such entity as ‘the public,’ since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that ‘the public interest’ supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.”— Ayn Rand
Essentially what’s happening is there is this invented term called “public interest,” which essentially is a group of individuals who have a common stance on a particular subject. The “majority” stance is then thrust upon the “minority,” thus violating everyone’s individual rights. Which leads me to a few more gems:
Do not be mislead…by an old collectivist trick which goes like this: there is no absolute freedom anyway, since you are not free to murder; society limits your freedom when it does not permit you to kill; therefore, society holds the right to limit your freedom in any manner it sees fit; therefore, drop the delusion of freedom – freedom is whatever society decides it is.
It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill – but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a “compromise” between two rights – but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society – but from your own inalienable individual right. The definition of a limit is not set arbitrarily by society – but is implicit in the definition of your own right.
Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute.
The Ayn Rand Column, 85
And this one:
“The principle that the majority have a right to rule the minority, practically resolves all government into a mere contest between two bodies of men, as to which of them shall be masters, and which of them slaves.”— Lysander Spooner
And I leave you with this quote, attributed to Bella Shortt:
“Kidney dialysis costs the taxpayers money. The state has every right to save taxpayers money by picking healthy people at random for mandatory kidney donation.
By giving up your right to pay for/handle your own health care you give up your majority stake in your own body. It’s not your body, it’s the people’s body: Haven’t you ever heard of the social contract? Plus, if YOU are healthy, it is only because you got healthy by eating what the government gave you in public schools, running on public roads and from government healthcare that you otherwise just would not have had! Time for the government to take back some of what it has given you.”
So there you have it. Socialized medicine, while sounding good on the surface, strips individuals of their rights and liberties, in the interest of the “common good.” I’d love to hear your take on this.