I originally posted this at The Southern Libertarian, where I am now contributing articles as well. Check out the site, it’s great!
In case you didn’t hear, the USDA announced on Tuesday, November 8 that a promotional program will be created to promote the live Christmas tree industry. Funding will come from a $0.15/tree tax on producers and importers of live trees. After much uproar in the national media, the USDA said they would delay the program.
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise (R) joined the outrage and sounded off, calling the president “the grinch who taxed Christmas.” I ask Scalise to take the matter even further. Why stop at just the Christmas tree program? Let’s repeal the entire law that authorizes these programs, the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. A quick glance shows existing programs for the promotion of softwood lumber, mangoes, sorghum, and Haas avocados, to name a few.
Where in the universe of common sense should the federal government be in the business of directly and blatantly promoting one business or industry over another? I know that plenty more examples of this ridiculousness exist, but Christmas trees? Really?! If tree growers feel that it is a worthy expense to charge themselves $0.15 for every tree they sell to try and convince me to buy a real tree instead of pulling out the 20 yr old plastic one every year, then by all means go ahead and hire yourselves a COMPANY who’s business is to advertise and build promotional campaigns. And what about those artificial tree makers? I’m going to go ahead and predict a similar program for them in 5 years to help make up for lost market share as a result of this. After that we’ll obviously need a program for menorah makers and so on and so on.