Hot Air: President Obama’s Agriculture Department [yesterday] 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.
The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR 1214.46(n)). And the program of “information” is to include efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).
I keep refreshing the google search “Christmas Tree Tax Hoax.” Because let me tell you something. Behind toilet paper, and maybe Diet Coke, no other product enjoys such a robust position in the marketplace than does the Christmas tree (capped?). Sure, the Christians will say that it’s Muslim (or atheist) Obama’s way of sticking it to the religious right, but I know plenty of agnostics who get a tree every year. In fact I’d bet most tree buyers don’t give a sh1t what happened 2000 years ago on exactly December 25th. (Answer? the sun came up.)
Does the “Christmas tree industry” really need the government’s help in garnering maximum benefit? I went to Oregon last summer and drove by dozens of fields of Christmas trees, all lined up in neat rows waiting for maturation so they could be cut down and sold for $40-$120 a pop. In every single field I saw a farmer rubbing his hands together like Scrooge McDuck, sizing up the latest crop, dollar signs in his eyeballs.
And by the by, why is the government choosing a side in the 60 year old Christmas Tree War between live and plastic? Are plastic tree manufacturers allowed in the Christmas tree industry Christmas parties? Did you know there was a Christmas tree industry?
Also, they have the balls to say this is not a tax. But guess what? Christmas tree sellers are forced by the government to pay it, so it’s a f-ing tax. And not that anyone needs it, but a bit of a refresher about how these taxes work: The feds impose it on the seller, the seller imposes it on you. A little tax here, a little tax there, before you know it, we’re standing in line for bread and hoping the local politburo will announce a snow day once in a while.
In a market economy, if a particular industry wants to improve its image, the participants voluntarily pool some of their money, start an association, and start coming up with ways to compete or survive. They don’t go whining to the government about subsidies and new federally funded Promotions Boards to protect themselves from competitors. This is a shakedown, it creates larger government, and it’s no joke.
**UPDATE** The administration obviously follows www. WICKED IMPROPER .com closely – they’ve called this bullsh1t tax off. For now. Just trying to do our part to make your life better.