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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2008 / 25 Nissan 5768

Cigarette smuggling

By Walter Williams


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While it's politically popular to impose confiscatory taxes on America's 40 million tobacco smokers, there are a number of consequences one might consider, but let's start out with a quiz. If a carton of cigarettes sells for $160 in New York City, and $35 in North Carolina, what do you predict will happen? If you answered tons of cigarettes will be going up I-95 from North Carolina to New York City, go to the head of the class.


Smuggling cigarettes is illegal; so the next quiz question is: Who is most likely to engage in cigarette smuggling? It's a mixed answer, but for the most part, organized smugglers will be people with a high disregard for the law. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has found that Russian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Middle Eastern (mainly Pakistani, Lebanese, and Syrian) organized crime groups are highly involved in the trafficking of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. What's worse is the ATF found that some of these groups use the money to provide material financial assistance to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.


Some smugglers are good people who differ little from the founders of our nation such as John Hancock, whose flamboyant signature graces our Declaration of Independence. The British had levied confiscatory taxes on molasses, and John Hancock smuggled an estimated 1.5 million gallons a year. His smuggling practices financed much of the resistance to British authority — so much so that the joke of the time was that "Sam Adams writes the letters (to newspapers) and John Hancock pays the postage." Like Hancock, some of today's cigarette smugglers are providing a service to their fellow man caught in the grip of confiscatory taxation.


In my book, the Hancock-type smuggler is a hero of sorts. Let's look at it. During the days of the Soviet Union, Swiss watches were illegal. During our Prohibition era, the sale, manufacture and the importation of intoxicating liquor was illegal. Britain's Navigation Acts imposed high tariffs and restrictions on goods sold to the American colonies that ultimately led to our 1776 War of Independence. The common theme in all of these acts is government seeking to interfere with, regulate or outlaw peaceable voluntary exchange between individuals.


Tell me what's wrong in people wanting to wear a Swiss watch, having a drink, purchasing tea from a Dutch seller rather than an English seller, or cheap cigarettes from North Carolina rather than expensive ones from New York. People in government or those in pursuit of a do-good agenda think they know better and think they have a right to use government's brute force to hinder peaceable voluntary exchange.


In comes my hero the smuggler to the rescue. He's the guy who, in effect, tells us, "I know the government wants to interfere with your consumption of booze, tobacco, or tea, but I can get a deal for you." He might have to run clandestine operations, blackmail and corrupt public officials, but at least you get the item, if it has been prohibited, and for a lower price if it has been confiscatorily taxed.


The smuggler who uses the proceeds to finance destructive activity is not my hero, but that is not an argument against the smuggling itself anymore than it would be an argument against the practice of medicine if some medical practitioners used their earnings to finance terrorist activities.


The easy solution to cigarette smuggling, and its attendant activities, is to eliminate the confiscatory taxes. Unfortunately, for politicians and do-gooders, the attack on smokers is a moral crusade that sees only benefits and costs are irrelevant. Or as novelist C.S. Lewis put it, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate.

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