A bunch of career politicians earning six figure incomes, being chauffeured around town, have for years been avoiding the tobacco sin-tax — in the Capitol building!
Cigarettes and tobacco prices have been significantly cheaper in the Capitol complex than elsewhere in Washington since cigarettes sales have long been exempt from federal and District of Columbia taxes — a perk that mainly benefits lawmakers and congressional employees.
“The Senate was operating as a discount cigarette outlet,” said Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
This is the very same tax that is constantly being increased for revenue and “public health” reasons, the primary burden of which is borne by the poor and working-classes. Mention their plight, and expect a (half-reasonable) response like, “Maybe they should quit smoking if they can’t afford it!” True indeed. But then again, the poor and working classes don’t have the luxury of waiving a magic fucking wand and exempting themeselves from the pesky taxes they don’t like.
Now, if you’re in Congress and you don’t like a tax, you simply exempt yourself from adhering to it.
Of course, what’s really at issue here is not the Capitol complex exemption, but rather why anyone else has to suffer the tax to begin with. I’m not a champion of tax-equality or tax fairness, unless by “equal” or “fair,” you also mean “non-existent” or “zero.” I don’t want taxes raised on various subsets (Congress included) of society until they’re equal — I want taxes lowered and abolished for all subsets of society.
I don’t want Congress to start paying the tax — I want everyone else to be able to stop.