A Diseased Lung on Cigarette Packaging is OK but Images of STDs or Aborted Fetuses on Birth Control Packaging are Not

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 4th, 2013

Week in Review

A U.S. judge just decreed that girls as young as 15 can buy the morning-after pill without a doctor’s approval.  Or without the girl’s parents knowledge.  Why?  Because kids will be kids.  They will have sex no matter what we say.  And if they are sneaking around and having sex while hiding this from their parents then we should let these young girls secretly buy the morning-after pill?  Because if we don’t they will get pregnant and probably have an abortion later.  So in an effort to reduce the amount of abortions we must let girls use this drug secretly.  Despite it changing a girl’s physiology.  Perhaps causing great harm to them if they overuse this drug.  Which they may very well do.  For what better way to hide an active sex life from your parents than using the morning after pill?

Parents can find birth control pills hidden in her drawer while she’s at school.  Or some other birth control device.  But a pill you buy at a pharmacy after sex?  No parent will ever find that.  So a young 15-year old girl who wants to act like a grownup can without her parents ever being the wiser.  Using the morning-after pill as a secret birth control.  Probably ignoring all the warnings packaged with the drug.  If she even reads the warnings.  More likely she’ll just use the morning-after pill if she has a friend using it.  Feeling it’s safe if others are using it.  Instead of discussing it with a doctor.  Or her parents.

Worse, now that they can simply take a pill afterwards they will probably have even more unprotected sex.  Leading to an explosion in sexually transmitted diseases.  For if these kids are sexually active by the time they’re 15 they’ll be experimenting.  Especially the boys.  Who will be giving their buddies the old high-five when talking about all of their sexual conquests.  Who will be at greater risk of catching an STD.  And spreading it on to their unsuspecting girlfriend.  Who, unlike her parents, may believe she’s in a committed relationship at the age of 15.  And may be in what she believes to be a monogamous relationship.  Right until the day she is diagnosed with an STD she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

The greatest threat to our kids these days is their desire to act like grownups instead of kids.  And our schools and government exasperate this problem by making it easier for them to act like grownups instead of kids.  Providing free birth control.  And access to abortions without parental knowledge.  Virtually telling these kids to be sexually active.  Even though they are not mature enough to understand the dangers of their actions.  Or understanding the long-tem consequences.  But you can’t tell kids anything.  For they think they are grownup enough to make these decisions for themselves.  Which is why they smoke (see Plans for plain cigarette packs scrapped as ‘it’s not a Government priority’ by Jason Beattie posted 5/2/2013 on the Mirror).

David Cameron was accused of caving in to big business today after the Government scrapped plans to bring in plain cigarette packs…

In December, Australia became the first country in the world to put all tobacco products in uniform packs.

Cigarette packets and other products are all sold in a standardised colour, with only the brand name and graphic warnings visible.

British Government launched a consultation in April on whether it should introduce similar plans.

But Whitehall sources said the plan had now been ditched, sparking anger among health campaigners who said plain packaging would have stopped from children picking up the killer habit…

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, added: “Given the public health minister herself has publicly acknowledged that cigarette packaging encourages young people to start smoking, it is bewildering that the Government are still allowing this by refusing to introduce standardised packaging.

No, they don’t.  Cigarette packaging does not encourage kids to smoke.  If that’s the case then we better start packaging condoms in plain packaging because it must be that attractive packaging that is encouraging these kids to have sex.

Packaging is about differentiating brands.  It is to entice SMOKERS to one brand over another.  It does NOT entice nonsmokers to become smokers.  No.  That honor goes to these kids’ heroes in music, movies and television.  Who look so cool and so grownup smoking.  Kids start smoking so they, too, can look cool and grownup.  Like their heroes.

Putting scary looking pictures on cigarette packages?  Interesting.  Should they put pictures of aborted fetuses on birth control packaging?  Or images of herpes or genital warts?  To show the possible consequence of increased sexual activity?  If they are okay showing a diseased lung to scare a kid they must be okay showing these other things to scare a kid.  To warn them of the consequences of having sex.  Of course, they’ll never do that.  Because the left doesn’t care about kids having sex.  They just don’t want them to smoke.

It is probably impossible for anyone alive today NOT to know smoking will kill you in a horrible death.  Yet these kids still smoke.  Because they want to look cool.  And grownup.  So they’re probably not going to be dissuaded by these gross pictures.  Besides, what’s to stop them from simply transferring these cigarettes to a fancy looking cigarette case?  Or slip the cigarette pack into something that hides the gross pictures?  Out of sight out of mind.

The left just needs to accept the fact that kids are going to smoke no matter what we say.  Just like they’re going to have sex no matter what we say.  Because kids will be kids.  Something the left understands when it comes to sex.  But something they will not accept when it comes to smoking.  Even though too much of either at a young age can destroy a life.

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Teens who Smoke a lot of Marijuana suffer Permanent Brain Damage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 1st, 2012

Week in Review

A new study is in.  And the conclusion is that marijuana use is bad.  Especially if you’re a teen (see Teen pot use linked to later declines in IQ by MALCOLM RITTER and NICK PERRY posted 8/27/2012 on the Associated Press).

Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study suggests…

Study participants from New Zealand were tested for IQ at age 13, likely before any significant marijuana use, and again at age 38. The mental decline between those two ages was seen only in those who started regularly smoking pot before age 18…

Pot is the most popular illegal drug in the world, with somewhere between 119 million and 224 million users between the ages of 15 and 64 as of 2010, the United Nations reported. Within the United States, 23 percent of high school students said they’d recently smoked marijuana, making it more popular than cigarettes, the federal government reported in June.

More popular than cigarettes?  Funny thing about a marijuana joint.  It doesn’t have a filter.  Smoking a joint is like smoking a Camel unfiltered cigarette.  Like people smoked once upon a time.  When smokers were smokers.  And smoked hardcore.  But now there is a war on smoking.  Something the Left endorses.  Yet those on the Left are generally in favor of decriminalizing drugs.  Especially marijuana.  The Left took Joe Camel off cigarette advertising because it was encouraging kids to start smoking.  So they got addicted to cigarettes.  They even sued Big tobacco.  But kids smoke more marijuana than cigarettes.  Getting more cancer-causing smoke in their lungs from illegal marijuana than from legal tobacco.  So while the Left plays nanny by trying to get cigarettes away from us they are trying to put kids at more risk.  For if marijuana is decriminalized it will be much easier for kids to smoke it.  Putting them at greater risk of lung cancer.  As well as that mental decline.  Guess the Left doesn’t like kids.

Young people “don’t think it’s risky,” said Staci Gruber, a researcher at the Harvard-affiliated MacLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. Gruber, who didn’t participate in the new work, said the idea that marijuana harms the adolescent brain is “something we believe is very likely,” and the new finding of IQ declines warrants further investigation…

The study drew on survey data from more than 1,000 people in New Zealand, everybody born in the town of Dunedin during a year-long span ending in 1973. In addition to IQ tests, they were interviewed five times between ages 18 and 38, including questions related to their marijuana use.

At age 18, 52 participants indicated they had become dependent on marijuana, meaning that they continued to use it despite its causing significant health, social or legal problems. Ninety-two others reported dependence starting at a later age.

Researchers compared their IQ scores at age 13 to the score at age 38 and found a drop only in those who had become dependent by 18…

Among participants who’d been dependent at 18 and in at least one later survey, quitting didn’t remove the problem. IQ declines showed up even if they’d largely or entirely quit using pot at age 38, analysis showed…

The researchers also surveyed people who knew the study participants well at age 38. They found that the more often participants were rated as marijuana-dependent in the surveys over their lifetimes, the more memory and attention problems were noticed by their acquaintances over the previous year.

I think we all know someone who was dependent on marijuana when he or she was a kid.  One of my best friends was your classic stoner in junior high school.  He smoked and partied through junior high and part way through high school.  When he had the first of five kids.  And then dropped out.  Got a job.  Became a Republican.  And a responsible parent.  Both he and his wife.  Who remained together to raise all five kids.  And struggled to counteract the liberal education of their children when they got home from school.

Sometimes during a conversation my friend would stop mid-conversation, cock his head and stare blankly as he tried to remember what he was saying.  Then he laughed and joked about all the brain cells he destroyed when he was a kid.  Wishing he could have them back.  I didn’t know him before the brain damage.  But he sure was a good guy after the brain damage.  I always wonder what he might have done if he and cannabis never crossed paths.  Engineer?  Physicist?  Doctor?  President?  Who knows what he may have contributed had it not been for his introduction to cannabis.  I never asked but I wonder about that first time.  Was it peer pressure?  Was it a funny movie with a lovable stoner character?  Or did he have a friend with a dad who smoked pot?  It was something.  And whatever it was it changed his life forever.

And I wonder what might have been with all those other stoners out there.  What they might have done had they not descended into drug use.  Which makes the drug debate a difficult one.  Much violent crime traces back to illegal drug trafficking.  So decriminalizing drugs would go a long way to reduce that crime.  However, this isn’t the same as repealing prohibition.  Sure, if you drink enough you can kill yourself.  And abuse your family.  You can even get a liver transplant.  But you can never recover your damaged brain cells.  Once they’re gone they’re gone.  And there’s no going back to who you were.

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FT131: “If liberals say sin taxes hit low-income and young adults disproportionally they must know they have photo IDs.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 17th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Liberals want to Tax the Poor while Looking Like they’re not Taxing the Poor

A sin tax is an excise tax.  An excise tax is a flat tax.  Everyone pays the same amount.  Which liberals/progressives find unfair.  As these taxes hit low-income people disproportionately.  Whether it’s someone living on low wages.  Or on limited government support.  They live on a small amount of money each week.  And if they buy alcohol or cigarettes those sin taxes consume a large proportion of their weekly spending money.  By greatly increasing the price for alcohol and cigarettes.  When you hear things like ‘placing a bulls-eye on Joe Six-Pack’s back’ it refers to a low-income guy that enjoys drinking beer.  But drinking beer is difficult for him to do because the current tax structure favors the rich.  Who can more easily afford excise taxes.

And it’s the same for cigarette smokers.  There has been a war on tobacco.  And it’s been so successful that a lot of college-educated people don’t smoke these days.  For it is politically incorrect to smoke today.  They’ve banned it from restaurants.  From the office.  Even outside in some places.  Some are even trying to ban it in people’s homes if they have children.  Progressives hate smoking so much that they have placed enormous sin taxes on cigarettes.  Making it very difficult for Joe Six-Pack to buy his cigarettes.  And it is the low-income and those without college educations who tend to smoke these days.  So the people who can least afford to pay these high sin taxes pay most of them.

Progressives want to raise tax rates on the rich.  Because they have more money and therefore should pay more in taxes.  According to them.  So they can transfer the cost of government away from the low-income to the high-income.  And they’ve succeeded.  Today almost half of all taxpayers pay no federal income taxes.  While the top 10% of earners pay approximately 70% of all federal income taxes.  Yet despite this huge transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor sin taxes have continued to rise.  Meaning the liberals want to tax the rich.  And they want to tax the poor.  While looking like they’re not taxing the poor.  By ascending their self-righteous soapboxes.  For they know better than we.  Sin taxes, they say, are for our own good.  They discourage bad behavior.  And encourage good behavior.  Behavior that they approve of.  And it’s only coincidental that they these taxes fall disproportionately on Joe Six-Pack.  Then they try to take the little income remaining from poor Joe by selling him lottery tickets.  Something else more lower income people buy than rich people.  For rich people are already rich.

Obamacare combines the Joy of a Colonoscopy with the Fear and Loathing of an IRS Audit

Most people would rather have a colonoscopy than sit through an IRS audit.  Why?  Because a colonoscopy is more enjoyable.  It only takes a couple of hours as an outpatient in the hospital.  Your odds are better for getting good news after a colonoscopy than after an IRS audit.  And doctors are happy to give good news to their patients.  While IRS agents are happy when they can take your money.  The more of it they can take the happier they are.  And with today’s tax code they can always find money to take from you.  Especially if you’re a business owner.  Or a movie star.  Where you can lose your pension, your children’s college fund and your house if you made a mistake or trusted an untrustworthy accountant.  So given the choice people would choose a colonoscopy over an IRS audit almost any day.  Even without the anesthetic.

And speaking of health care and the IRS, how about that Obamacare?  The liberals’ solution to ‘fix’ health care.  Even though it wasn’t broken.  Americans have long opposed any form of national health care.  They opposed it when Hillary Clinton tried to put a plan together behind closed doors.  And they still oppose it.  Based on that majority of the population that wants to repeal Obamacare.  Which they passed into law thanks to some backroom deals.  And fun with numbers.  The big selling point was to keep the cost of it below what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost.  If the liberals could keep the price tag below a trillion dollars over a ten year period they could say it wouldn’t cost Americans an extra dime to give ‘free’ health care to everyone.  Because they would just transfer all of that war spending to health care spending.  Despite those trillion dollar deficits.  A debt approaching $16 trillion.  And an economy wallowing in the Great Recession.

So how did they do it?  Keep the cost under a trillion dollars?  By being devious.  The data they submitted to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) included ten years of expenditures but only 6 years of benefits.  Because 6 years of benefits cost about a trillion dollars.  Well, almost.  They also stole about $700 billion from Medicare.  So the real cost of Obamacare over a ten year period is closer to $3 trillion.  Or about three times the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  How’s that for free health care?  So Obamacare is really, really expensive.  Which is why Obamacare forces all Americans to buy health insurance.  Even the young and healthy who would rather put that money into a house payment while they are young and healthy.  And how are they going to enforce this?  By combining the joy of a colonoscopy with the fear and loathing of an IRS audit.

Getting a Photo ID is too Costly, too Complex or just too Time Consuming unless you’re a 16-Year-Old Anxious to Drive

Because of Obamacare everyone will have to prove to the IRS that they have bought health insurance.  Which means if you want health care you better file your federal income taxes.  Have a Social Security number.  And have proven to your employer that you are a legal citizen.  With two pieces of documentation.  Like a Social Security card.  And a photo ID.  Pretty intense requirements.  And much more stringent than it used to be when anyone could go to the emergency room and receive treatment.  Today if you’re sick you better hope dotted your ‘i’s and crossed your ‘t’s.  Because in Obamacare before you can get a colonoscopy you have to first answer to the IRS.

And Joe Six-Pack?  We love you.  Because you’re just an average Joe.  The backbone of America.  Working hard and raising your family.  So who are we to begrudge you a cold beer after a hard day’s work?  Or a smoke?  We won’t judge you for enjoying those things.  Because a lot of us enjoy those things, too.  Even if it’s not politically correct.  Or in our best interests.  Or behavior those ‘better than us’ would approve of.  Just make sure you have your photo ID before you buy your beer.  Or your pack of smokes.  Because unless you look old you aren’t buying either without one.  Even if you’re a grizzled war veteran.  And been to hell and back in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Because even a Purple Heart won’t get you beer or a pack of cigarettes without a photo ID.

The liberals have made it harder for you to get health care.  Or to smoke.  And they’re not making it any easier to drink adult beverages.  If you want to do any of these things you better suck it up and get a photo ID.  Because proving who you are, how old you are and whether you are a legal citizen are very important to liberals.  Unless, that is, you want to vote.  Then they don’t give a damn.  They even say asking for a photo ID to vote is only a way to disenfranchise the low-income and young adults.  So they can’t vote.  Because getting a photo ID is too costly, too complex or just too time consuming.  (Except for all those 16-year-olds anxious to drive.)  Yet these are the very same people who acknowledge that the low income and young adults pay a disproportionate share of sin taxes.  Which they pay on those things you can only buy with a photo ID.

So why this bizarre and inconsistent behavior on the part of liberals?  Well, it must have something to do with the vote.  And based on their devious behavior in passing legislation people don’t want, one can only assume that their lax attitude is for one reason.  Making it easier for them to win elections when they pursue policies that the people don’t want.  Like Obamacare.  Which is why when it comes to the vote they want anyone to be able to walk in off the street and say they’re whoever they say they are and vote.  Unlike the ‘hell’ people have to go through to buy a beer, a pack of cigarettes, getting a job or collecting their lottery winnings.  Yes, if you win the big one you’ll need a photo ID to claim your money.  But you don’t need it to vote.  Because voting just isn’t as important as these other things.

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Tobacco, Smoking, Cigarettes, Sin Taxes, Obesity, Health Care Costs, Lost Tax Revenue, Abortion, Deficit and Debt

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 5th, 2012

History 101

The Government saves Money in the Long Run when People Smoke because they Die Earlier than Nonsmokers 

A lot of people like to smoke.  Before we knew any of the adverse health effects of smoking it was as wholesome as apple pie in America.  American tobacco was one of the first cash crops of the United States.  Because it was in such high demand throughout the world.  During the American Civil War many officers chain-smoked cigars.  We put cigarettes in our soldiers’ C-rations in World War II.  Some of the most iconic photographs of battle-weary soldiers, seamen and airmen have a cigarette dangling from their mouths.  Our favorite parents from the Fifties’ sitcoms smoked cigarettes in their homes with their children playing on the floor at their feet.  If you watch AMC’s Mad Men everyone smoked cigarettes.  All of the time.  At work and at home.  In restaurants and in hospitals.  Even while pregnant.  Then the attacks against Big Tobacco began.

First they started with the sin taxes.  Greatly increasing the cost of cigarettes.  Which increased their opportunity costs.  People had to give up other things to continue to enjoy their cigarettes.  Especially the poor.  The rich still could enjoy their cigarettes without making sacrifices in their life.  And kept on smoking.  Movie stars and rock stars always have a cigarette hanging out of their mouths.  To look cool.  Which is why teenagers started to smoke.  Not because of Joe Camel.  But to look cool like their favorite movie stars and rock stars.  So people kept smoking their cigarettes.  While the government bureaucrats started tallying the health care cost of smokers.  To recover the health care cost of smoking government bureaucrats sued Big Tobacco.

According to ‘health care experts’ in the government smoking costs the health care industry some $100 billion annually.  Which is why they’re constantly raising taxes on cigarettes.  Why they sued Big Tobacco.  And why they’re ostracizing smokers everywhere by making almost every area a nonsmoking area.  But they still haven’t made smoking illegal.  Why?  High sin taxes and lawsuits.  Smoking is a cash cow for government.  And the dirty little secret about smoking is that the government saves money in the long run when people smoke.  Because of those sin taxes.  And because smokers die earlier than nonsmokers.  Up to a decade or more.  And it is in that last decade of life that seniors cost government the most.  Another decade of Social Security benefits.  And Medicare and Medicaid benefits.  Those benefits smokers paid into all of their lives.  Who forfeit them when they die early (and they don’t get passed on to their heirs).  Unlike the nonsmokers who don’t have the decency to die before collecting all of their Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Adding another decade or so for a whole sort of health ailments to inflict their fragile bodies.  Requiring more hospitalization.  Medication.  And nursing home care.  Expenses smokers help cut short by dying earlier.  Such as from an early heart attack before they even get a chance to have a lengthy and expensive hospital stay.

The Loss Tax Revenue from Abortions in the Eighties over Three Decades is Approximately $4.98 Trillion 

So government is increasing the opportunity costs of something people enjoy.  Smoking.  When in the long run smokers’ early deaths save the government money.   Not to mention those sin taxes fattening the tax pot when they’re alive.  So it’s a specious argument that the government is spending more on them in health care costs than nonsmokers who live another 10-20 years.  So why do they do it?  To boost tax revenues.  And smokers are just a convenient scapegoat.  Like the obese.  Where those on the Left make the same arguments.  Where according to ‘health care experts’ in the government obesity costs the health care industry some $150 billion annually.  Even though these people like smokers live shorter lives.  So while they’re consuming that $150 million the government is keeping about 10-20 years of their contributions to Social Security and Medicare.  So it is again a specious argument that the government is spending more on obese people than thinner, healthier people who live 10-20 years longer.  Who could, say, fall and break their pelvis requiring an extensive and expensive hospital stay.  As well as rehabilitation and possibly nursing home care.  And yet those on the left have campaigned to remove toys from Happy Meals.  And made it illegal in New York to buy a big cup of soda pop.  Why?  Again, to boost tax revenue.

All right, let’s go to the source of that tax revenue problem.  Let’s look at a decade of lost tax revenue.  From 1980 to 1983 there were about 1,300,000 abortions each year.  In 1984 there were 1,333,521 abortions.  In 1985 there were 1,328,570 abortions.  In 1986 there were 1,328,112 abortions.  In 1987 there were 1,353,671 abortions.  In 1988 there were 1,371,285 abortions.  In 1989 there were 1,396,658 abortions.  In 1990 there were 1,429,577 abortions. 

Had these abortions not happen in 2006 there would have been an additional 1,300,000 taxpayers aged 26.  In 2007 there would have been an additional 1,300,000 taxpayers aged 27 and an additional 1,300,000 taxpayers aged 26.  And so on.  If you crunch the numbers over a 30-year period by decades you get an additional 72,006,665 people paying taxes at all levels of government in the first decade (2006-2015).  An additional 146,913, 940 tax-paying people in the second decade (2016-2025).  And an additional 88,169,092 tax-paying people in the third decade (2026-2035).  The average age in the first decade is 29.  It’s 32 in the second decade.  And 42 in the third decade.  Assuming those age 29 earn on average $30,000 annually, those age 32 earn on average $40,000 annually and those age 42 earn on average $50,000 we get the following incomes per decade: $2.16 trillion, $5.88 trillion and $4.41 trillion, respectively.  Assuming that we pay approximately 40% of all our earnings in taxes at the city, state and federal level the lost tax revenue (at all levels of government) for those same decades equals $864.1 billion, $2.35 trillion and $1.76 trillion, respectively.  For a grand total of loss tax revenue for those three decades of approximately $4.98 trillion.  Or on average $165.9 billion per year.  These numbers are conservative.  Yes, some of these people may not survive to become taxpayers.  But some of these could become millionaires and billionaires, paying more in taxes.  There could have been another Lady Gaga, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Barbara Streisand, George Clooney, Steve Jobs, etc.  A few of these added to the calculations would make the lost tax revenue numbers larger.

From the Government’s Perspective Abortion has a Far Greater Opportunity Cost than Smoking and Obesity 

This is the opportunity cost of the abortions in the Eighties.  So much loss tax revenue that the government has attacked smokers and the obese.  Whose health care costs are not adding much if anything to the federal budget.  Thanks to their early deaths compared to nonsmokers and thin people.  (If the government starts refunding remaining Social Security and Medicare benefits to the surviving family that may change.)  Yes they are costing the health care system.  But their costs are just brought up earlier in their lives as opposed to someone living 10-20 years longer making the nursing home to hospital to nursing home roundtrip a few times in the last 10 years or so of their life.  Because they have lived so long.  And had a chance to suffer every disease and trauma those smokers and obese can’t due to their early deaths.

It is interesting to note that the federal deficit in 2006 was $282.14 billion.  The lost tax revenue from the Eighties’ abortions was on average $165.9 billion per year in those three decades.  Granted not all of that money would have been federal taxes.  But with the conservative estimate of that loss tax revenue it is safe to say it would have come close to balancing the federal budget.  And if you factor in the abortions of the Seventies (there were fewer than in the Eighties but they would have been higher earners in the 2000s) the federal deficit may have become a surplus.  At least holding the federal debt to the $9.34 trillion it was in 2006.  Perhaps even reducing it.

Smoking and eating an unhealthy diet may be bad for you.  But it probably doesn’t cost the government anymore in tax dollars.  But they increase the opportunity costs of these things we enjoy to dissuade us from enjoying them.  So those who enjoy smoking and eating and drinking ‘bad’ things enjoy life less.  By not choosing what they want to choose.  Why? To pay for the lost revenue from another choice that government doesn’t try to dissuade people from.  Abortion.  Which from the government’s perspective has a far greater opportunity cost than smoking and obesity.  And yet government paints a bulls-eye on the back of smokers and the obese.  Why?  Because they’ve so demonized and oppressed them they can.  While the abortion issue too much of a sacred cow to those on the Left.

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