September 22, 2007
Originally published July 3, 2002
I live 30 miles from Vidalia, Georgia, and JB brags about buying Vidalia Onions in Florida for less drachma than I pay here where they're grown. Well, guess what, podnah? You can NEVER be overcharged for a genuine Vidalia onion. They're worth every cent no matter what they cost.
I can't say the same thing about a pack of cigarettes, especially when the government sets the price through brutal taxation. Do you think smugglers might just LOVE this act of stupidity?
Harlan County, Kentucky, where I was born, stayed a dry county through the concerted efforts of two dissimmilar forces: the Bible-Thumping Baptists and the Whiskey-Running Bootleggers. The Baptists kept the county dry because they were dour folk who truly believed that God wants you to have NO FUN AT ALL on earth. You earn that fun shit in heaven after you die by living as wretchedly as possible until then. The bootleggers were a lot more pragmatic, motivated by a free-market love of profit. They knew that people always want their firewater, even some of the Bible-Thumpers when they're out of sight of the Reverend, and they provided a needed service. So, Harlan County was dry, but you could find a drink there any day of the week, any time you wanted one, and nobody ever asked for an ID.
You have the same situation developing in New York. People will go out of state to buy their cigarettes, or they'll buy them from bootleggers, who will be there to fill the niche in the market. And the politicians can cut the moral horseshit about discouraging smoking. They're discouraging smokers from buying overpriced, legal cigarettes, that's all. They're LEGISLATING their own crime wave.
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