In California here, there was a 13% increase in sales tax. They raised it a penny from 7.5% to 8.5%. Doesn’t seem like much but none the less it is 13%. Vehicle registration fees rose from .65% to 1.15% of value. That’s pretty close to a double of 100%. On top of that there was a $1.50 increase in tax on a pack of smokes. Figure about a 40 percent increase there.
For simplistic purposes (for which I deserved to be shot) assume that the cost of government has remained about the same (as has a pack of smokes)(try to keep a straight face). Back in 1964 a pack of cigarettes cost 25¢ and minimum wage was $2.00. If you do the math, one could buy 8 packs of cigarettes for one hours labor. Let’s progress forward to now. Cigarettes are $5.50 a pack. Extend out the 8 packs per hour and we arrive at $44 dollars for an inflation adjusted minimum wage. This calculated wage is more than most people today are making per hour, so it seems pretty absurd.
What we are looking at, is forced inflation by government legislation. Our wages are not increasing, and at the same time, more of what we have earned being taken away from us in the name of taxes. These are just some of the visible taxes. There are a lot more that are hidden (home construction fees/taxes come to mind).
The funny thing is, I would consider it an act of decency to ban smoking all together, rather than to tax it to death, and at the same time ban any form of gambling like the state lottery. Nobody has accused any legislative person of late, as having some sort of moral fortitude let alone a backbone. They don’t want to get rid of the smoker or gambler, they just want to tax their addiction and benefit from it.
Where do we go from here? Is a pack of cigarettes worth $5.50 a pack and is the fair minimum wage $44 per hour. I seriously doubt it. Something is wrong; our wages are not fitting the tax structure in place. I get the feeling that a pack of smokes hasn’t really gone up in costs, but the consumer hasn’t caught on to the inflation aspect of it yet.
I wonder what free health care will do to the price of cigarettes? If the cigarettes don't kill you the taxes will.