The FDA’s Assault on Tobacco Consumers

This is a multi-part series by Sheldon Richman.

If your attitude is, “well, I don’t smoke so it does not concern me”, or, “smoking and tobacco are bad so I support this effort”, these articles are for you.

Part 1:

For the last 10 years the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been writing draconian rules governing the makers, sellers, and ultimately consumers of cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, and even the pipes themselves (which of course are not made from tobacco) in what appears to be part of an effort aimed indirectly at eradicating these products from the marketplace. The fanatical campaign, reminiscent of America’s earlier crusade to prohibit alcoholic beverages, ought to concern everyone, including nonsmokers, because if it succeeds, other products could well be targeted on the grounds of public health. It is not just tobacco users who need to worry about the regulatory state’s tactics. . . .

As Thomas Szasz showed throughout his career as the top critic of what he dubbed the “therapeutic state,” this assault is moral, cultural, and political, not scientific or medical.

 

Part 2:

A bill introduced in the U.S. House last month would ban the flavoring of any “tobacco product.” The targets are vaping devices (vapes, e-cigarettes), but also cigars and pipe tobacco. (Flavored conventional cigarettes, other than menthol, have already been banned.) The Food and Drug Administration deems vaping devices “tobacco products” even though they contain no tobacco. Introduced without sponsors by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the bill would allow an exception for some vaping products, but it is one that would be all but impossible to qualify for.

The rationalization for the prohibition is that flavoring attracts underage consumers to the products. Yet this seems implausible because it suggests that without flavoring teenagers would be uninterested in e-cigarettes (not to mention conventional cigarettes). Yet kids have long been attracted to conventional unflavored cigarettes. (And unflavored marijuana has no troubling winning favor among the young.)

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How You Spend Your Money Is Your Business

Don Boudreaux to a reader:

Mr. Grant:

You ask how I “dare infer” that my “self-centered desire” to trade with foreigners as I choose should “outweigh the American people’s verdict to have our President conduct our trade in ways which he concludes advances our national interest.”

I ask how you dare infer that Donald Trump’s – or Chuck Schumer’s, or Lindsey Graham’s, or Bernie Sanders’s, or Peter Navarro’s, or Sherrod Brown’s, or Steve Bannon’s, or you-name-the-arrogant-brute’s – self-interested desire to prevent me from trading with foreigners should outweigh my own verdict, when spending my own money, to conduct my trade in ways that I conclude will advance my own interest.

How I spend my money is none of Trump’s – or American voters’ – business. Nor is it any of your business. Also none of Trump’s or American-voters’ business is how you spend your money. Nor is it any of mine.

To the extent that we embrace your and Trump’s belief that government officials have a right to superintend how each individual spends his or her own money, we treat our rights as garbage and become hapless beasts of burden for those whom we gullibly permit to shove their bridles into our mouths. I’ll have none of it.

My sentiments exactly.

Bill Maher Lashes Out At Democrats For Over-Regulation: “It Makes People Hate Us, It Makes Me Hate Us”

Yes! HBO Real Time host Bill Maher arguing for freedom to make choices in our lives.

“Until then all this will accomplish is to feed into the Republican message that Democrats don’t want to help people they just want to micromanage their lives,” Maher said. “It makes people hate us. It makes me hate us. And it prompts kickback.”

You bet your a$$ it prompts kickback, at least from me.

“I don’t want to let the right-wing own freedom,” Maher said. “People want to drain the swamp, not ban Big Gulps. Yes, I understand, you have a thousand good ideas for how I should live my life, check my privilege and sort my recycling. I will get to that. But first we need to get some Democrats elected and that’s hard when the movement to childproof the world has made Republicans the party of freedom and Democrats the party of poopers.”

With you on this, Bill. Here. I’d love to see more competition between the political parties over more freedom.

The Democrats “A Better Deal”

Reading through their agenda, I conclude its the same old crap. More government control, rules, and bureaucracy. And, the results will be the very results they say they are trying to fix. For example, their first issue complains about special interests and so-called the rich getting the benefits of government largess. But, any legislation or regulatory change involves the input of special interests. In fact, Democrats welcome special interests to provide expertise in writing legislation. They are the experts and that’s why they’re involved. The Democrats invite the special interests that fit their agenda to help who then tilt the legislation to their benefit. The result is more bureaucracy and more complexity in the lives of the middle class they say they are trying to help. How much record-keeping do we already have for taxes, medical care, and on and on? Well, that is the result of the very government Democrats are pushing.

How about this:

Our plan for A Better Deal starts by creating millions of good-paying, full-time jobs by directly investing in our crumbling infrastructure and prioritizing small business and entrepreneurs, instead of giving tax breaks to special interests.

How are they going to “creating millions of good-paying, full-time jobs” Well, that crumbling infrastructure is located in states that have been run by Democrats, with an occasional Republican elected such as NY, NJ, CA, IL. The fiscal problem at the state level is that government employee pensions, public education, and Medicaid have consumed their budgets, leaving little budget dollars left for infrastructure. Having the federal government spend on infrastructure relieves the state governors, legislators, and judges of being responsible for the infrastructure in their states. No real reform here.

Next, “prioritizing small business and entrepreneurs, instead of giving tax breaks to special interests.” is funny because “small business” and “entrepreneurs”, from a political perspective, are special interests. “prioritizing” means giving special treatment to special interests. Democrats just hide it from the public by burdening firms with the rules then we get ticked off at the firms for acting the way they do.

Here’s another: “We will crack down on monopolies and the concentration of economic power that has led to higher prices for consumers, workers, and small business”. The monopolies in the economy are the federal, state, and local governments. Further, firms cannot raise their prices. The prices of products and services that are rising faster then general inflation are those with heavy government involvement such as college tuition and public education.

Another problem with their approach is that all this activity interferes with the peaceful, voluntary actions of the American people interacting with each other and others across borders. That interference tilts the playing field because that is how the Democrats view everything. In Progressivism, someone must lose for someone else to win.

Next, their plan “provides new tax incentives to employers that invest in workforce training and education and make sure the rules of the economy support companies that focus on long-term growth, rather than short-term profits.” That means more paperwork, meetings, and time taken away from concentrating resources on doing the work for the customers of the firm. As well, firms have strategies for the short, medium, and long terms. They may not be completely filled out, but that is not possible because the future is unknown. The details get filled in as more information is available and more knowledge acquired. That’s why 10 or 20 years plans are nonsense.

The funny thing is, if a firm invests for the long-term, the results might pay off in government antitrust action against it, see Amazon.com. They invested for the long-term by keeping the retail prices low to build market share. But, Democrats want congressional hearings on its proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. So the people at Amazon.com invested for the long-term and they get rewarded with congressional hearings. That makes no sense unless of course the hearings are for show and graft. Ahhh, graft. Squeeze a firm so its employees make financial contributions to the party.

And let’s not forget the mess the Democrats created in the health insurance market with Obamacare — monthly premiums higher, deductibles, higher, insurers leaving markets. So all in all, the Democrats are pulling the same stunts they always do.

Senator Charles Schumer Wants to Control ‘snortable chocolate’

Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY):

“This suspect product has no clear health value,” he said in a statement. “I can’t think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses.”

Senator, that’s not a good enough reason. Not every product or service must meet your enfeebled, limited imagination and memory. Interestingly, the good Senator is pro-choice on the abortion issue, so I’ll remind him of their universal mantra: it’s our body, and their our kids.

Here.

 

Obama’s Obsolete Call for Collectivism Cloaked in Service to Others

As we saw after 9/11, the strength of America has always been the character and compassion of our people. So as we mark this solemn anniversary, let’s summon that spirit once more. And let’s show that the sense of common purpose that we need in America doesn’t have to be a fleeting moment; it can be a lasting virtue—not just on one day, but every day.”

Here.. We do this all the time. It’s just that its voluntary, consensual, spontaneous, decentralized, under-reported, matter-of-fact. It was observed and popularized by Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, published in 1835.