Max Baucus: Small Business Assassin

Max Baucus - CaricatureNot content with masterminding Obamacare, which taxes, regulates, and disincentivizes the healthcare industry into nothing more than a capitulatory utility under government control, Democrat Senator Max Baucus used the recently passed transportation bill as the vehicle to exterminate thousands of jobs with the stroke of Barack Obama’s pen.

In addition to the $400 million the senator earmarked for his state’s highway system, the Montana senator mischievously added a separate and unrelated special interest earmark to the transportation bill as a nod to his Big Tobacco benefactors at Altria, a parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris.

How did he appease Big Tobacco, one of his campaign contributors?

He destroyed Little Tobacco.

As people are wont to do, smokers sought ways to save money by frequenting the growing industry of roll-your-own cigarette stores, which sell papers and loose tobacco, then let patrons roll their own cigarettes by renting rolling machines kept on the premises. Distributing tobacco products in this manner was akin to people brewing their own beer at home in lieu of buying cases of brew from larger manufacturers that they didn’t care for.

The transportation bill rider “closes a loophole” in the tax code by designating these mom and pop shops as cigarette “manufacturers,” subjecting their customers to an additional $25 a carton in costs and taxes and subjecting the stores to expensive and prohibitive regulatory burdens that could force over a thousand of these shops across the country to shut their doors. Thousands of jobs will be lost in the process.

Just as the Obamacare tax/mandate doesn’t technically compel individuals to buy health insurance, the new taxes and regulations don’t compel roll-your-own cigarette businesses to close their doors. In both cases, it just works out that way. In addition, taxpaying employees that were providing revenue to cash-strapped governments will now drive up deficits as they are added to the unemployment rolls.

The justification?  Continue reading