Just when you think our President can’t descend one more inch into the unfathomably deep well of ridiculousness, he exceeds all expectations and drops a whole foot. Recently, our President promised that he would not wait for Congress to save us from our economic morass. Swelled by progressive might and accompanied in his own head (no doubt) by action theme music from a Michael Bay movie, he took us one step closer to economic prosperity with an announcement from the Department of Agriculture that there will henceforth be a 15 cent tax on sales of fresh Christmas trees.
No, I’m not kidding. Barack Obama has decided that our economic recovery will begin with a tax on Christmas. Let David Addington of the Heritage Foundation tell you the tale.
In the Federal Register of November 8, 2011, Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman announced that 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).
To pay for the new Federal Christmas tree image improvement and marketing program, the Department of Agriculture imposed a 15-cent fee on all sales of fresh Christmas trees by sellers of more than 500 trees per year (7 CFR 1214.52). And, of course, the Christmas tree sellers are free to pass along the 15-cent Federal fee to consumers who buy their Christmas trees.
Acting Administrator Shipman had the temerity to say the 15-cent mandatory Christmas tree fee “is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government” (76 CFR 69102).
As Addington notes, this “fee” is unavoidable. Christmas tree sellers must pay it. It does produce revenue for Washington, otherwise it couldn’t pay for the brand new Christmas Tree Promotion Board. It’s a tax.
Here’s the real outrage. Fifteen cents isn’t a lot. Most people won’t notice that the price of their lovely-smelling fresh Christmas tree went up a little bit. We’ll swallow this new Obama tax and probably forget all about it before the Christmas season is even over. But Barack Obama will have grown our Brobdingnagian government a little bit larger with a program that none of us need or want and that won’t sell one more Christmas tree in this year or any other. We will have yet another bureaucracy, buried like a tick in the body politic, that will only bloat up larger and larger even after Barack Obama is gone. Before long, the big-government politicians in Washington will consider the Office for the Advancement of Holiday Foliage a necessary function and will fight for it even as our deficit climbs to heights that even the National Christmas Tree would envy.
Look, I know we’re all caught up with the ongoing Herman Cainwreck, but for goodness sake, Barack Obama just dropped a tax on Christmas trees. If you want a better example of what is at stake in the election a year from now, you simply will not find it. If they are on the ball (and, let’s face it, they probably aren’t), the folks at Republican Party HQ are already at work on a campaign ad on this issue. Heck, it practically write itself: “Barack Obama loves taxes so much he’ll even tax your Christmas Tree”.
Ho ho ho, folks. Merry Hopenchangey Christmas.
UPDATE: I’m sorry, folks, but I’m not done with this one. How did the Obama administration suddenly come upon the idea that the Christmas Tree industry was the one area of our entire economy that absolutely, positively needed a shot in the arm? Unless something has radically changed in the past few years, Christmas Trees practically sell themselves. It’s not like our brave, domestic tree merchants have seen their sales eaten away by cheap Holiday Shrubberies from China and Central America. We still celebrate Christmas. We still buy trees, yes even fresh trees. Why in the world do we need this office of life-sucking bureaucrats?
For that matter, why do we need a Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing? Do we not have a vibrant agriculture industry capable of marketing itself?
You know the answers to all those questions. I do, too. The one question I can’t answer is this: For how much longer will we continue to put up with this big government crapulence?
UPDATE II: Christmas is saved!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees, sources tell ABC News. The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009, was first announced in the Federal Registry yesterday and has generated criticism of President Obama from conservative media outlets.
According to the White House, the promise not to tax Christmas trees is “unequivocal”. Good. I hope the administration’s meaning of that word and the was we understand it in the real world are the same.
Here’s your question to ponder today. Do you believe the administration would have relented if not for conservative new media? I sure as heck don’t.
Category: The Rise of the Nanny State