As taxes on cigarettes go up, so does smuggling, study finds
More than half of the cigarettes for sale in New York are smuggled into the state illegally – the highest percentage in the country, according to a recent report from the Tax Foundation.Have we suddenly forgotten, oh, all of recorded human history? Has the lessons wrought by gangsters during Prohibition been entirely forgotten? Did we really need a study to tell us that when governments impose artificially high tariffs on a product that people desire to consume that the market will find ways around it? Really?
According to the non-partisan research group, increased excise taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking have, in fact, created lucrative incentives for black market trafficking between states.
And this, this is a surprise?
Smuggling, according to the report, includes counterfeit state tax stamps, hijacked trucks, counterfeit versions of legitimate brands and officials turning a blind eye.Let's see... Outright strongarm theft (how do you think they hijack the trucks) to white collar crime (counterfeiting the tax stamps) to plain ol' bribery. None of these techniques is anything new or unusual.The mafia's only been hijacking trucks to sell the goods at a profit since, oh, wait, when did they first start shipping goods in trucks? And it makes sense that they'd sell in the states with the highest taxes, because that's the best return - where do you make more money, selling in NYC for $10 a pack (to undercut $12 a pack) or in NH for $4 a pack?
Of course, if the mob really wanted to make money, they'd run for Congress...
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)