Focus Point - Cigarette Subsidies

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

I got a pained smile out of the recent story that the United States Government, having declared war on tobacco with one hand, is effectively promoting it with the other -- by handing out subsidies to American Indian tribes so they can build smoke shops. The shops sell discounted cigarettes, making it easier, not harder, for people to smoke. It's as if, at the height of prohibition, the feds loaned trucks to rum runners and gave interest-free construction loans to speakeasies.

According to the Senate Small Business Committee, four tribes have received four million dollars since 1997 to build stores. The tribes get tax-free status so they can lower their cigarette prices. So, the same administration that won't give legitimate tax breaks to you, will give them to people pushing the same substance it's supposedly bent on wiping out.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. So how about a tax break for the rest of us for not smoking.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, a real health care reform bill.