Missouri’s legislature has approved nearly $2 billion in tax incentives for Boeing after a House vote today, and the plan awaits Governor Nixon’s (D) signature. We’ve written on this issue extensively, following it from...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Taxing a Minority to Fund Government -- What Would James Madison Say?
Taxing a Minority to Fund Government -- What Would James Madison Say?
Given the debate in Washington over raising the cigarette tax on a minority of individuals only to pay for a spending program that has broad public benefits (SCHIP), we thought it would be a good time to remind people of the foundations of liberty upon which this country was supposedly founded-at a time when principled individuals were actually concerned with the abuse known as a tyranny of the majority.
It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.
-- James Madison (Fourth President and "Father of the Constitution"), Federalist Paper 51
There is no better illustration of this tyranny than in the state of Wisconsin where these two headlines appeared in the same week:
The latter article is proof of the tyrannical mindset of many in power as one of the sponsors of the cigarette tax hike, Mark Pocan (D-Madison), says that the cigarette tax should be raised because it's "politically easy." Unbelievable. Why not impose a special excise tax on people who have two vowels in their last name? It's makes about as much sense as arbitrarily choosing smokers to fund various government programs that have nothing to do with smoking.
Buy this blogger a cup of coffee!
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.