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A Christmas Tree Tax? Sort Of.

1 min readBy: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed an assessment of 15 cents per Christmas tree sold, with the proceeds used "for a national research and promotion program for Christmas trees" (and against artificial trees), overseen by a board of domestic producers and importers. As the argument goes, a commodity like Christmas trees (or milk or pork or in 16 other areas) requires industry-wide collective advertising, and thus a government-backed cartelized assessment is the most efficient way to fund brand advertising and prevent free riders. (In actuality, few anted up for voluntary advertising efforts.) The existing producers backed the assessment overwhelmingly.

Whatever the explanation, the Heritage Foundation said it was a Christmas Tree Tax, and struck a chord with Americans. The Obama Administration withdrew the proposal.

More on this at Snopes, the Urban Legend Reference Pages.