One of the worst aspects of the federal tax code is the way it treats saving. Under ordinary circumstances, saving is treated to double taxation at the individual level, reducing after-tax returns to saving and...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Eric Garner Arrest Linked to Excessive Cigarette Taxes
Eric Garner Arrest Linked to Excessive Cigarette Taxes
The recent death of Eric Garner after an incident with New York police has recently made headlines and sparked controversy about excessive force and police practices. Sources report that police and prosecutors are investigating the use of a chokehold by an officer in the process of detaining Garner.
Garner was in the process of being arrested on charges of illegally selling cigarettes, a crime that is only profitable because cigarettes are taxed at such exorbitant rates in New York City ($5.85 per pack in state and local taxes). Reason’s Hit and Run Blog covered this well:
We should be concerned that the reason why the police swarmed Garner in the first place is getting lost. He allegedly possessed "untaxed cigarettes." That is it. There is this press focus on how the police took Garner down, and the problem with that focus is the question, "Well, what do you do when a 400-pound man refuses to cooperate when you try to arrest him?" Or to put it another way: Would there be an objection to police using a chokehold to take down and subdue man who was engaged in violent activity harming others? Because you know that's going to be part of the defense of this behavior.
There needs to be more attention on the absurd reason that a pack of police officers was on top of Garner in the first place: black market cigarettes. It's a crime that only takes place because of the city's own oppressive taxation system. It's a crime that happens when the city makes it too hard for people (especially poor people, of course) to get what they want legally.
Follow Scott on Twitter.
Subscribe to the Tax Foundation Newsletter
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official weblog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.