Charles Payne

Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond today

"Ode On A Distant Prospect of Eton College"
Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray lamented in his poem "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" that young carefree students at the prestigious school had no idea of harsh reality that would greet them despite their lot in life and great education. Life isn't carefree for any of us beyond a certain day and for some that could be the date of their birth. Nonetheless, this thing called life has its ups and downs so maybe frolicking on the Eton campus is better than thinking of doom ahead. As adults, ways are found to play with little regard to a current status of victim.

Ills of life in such circumstances are often muted with sympathy, hope and charity. But this witch's brew can also mean getting stuck in a permanent state of doom. In those cases people find a way to play anyway.

Rahm Emanuel - Racist

Scores of states have voter identification laws and more are putting them on the books. In a world of increased security it's an idea whose time has come. Not only does it deter cheating but adds to the sanctity of voting, perhaps the most important of all our rights. Despite this legal and commonsense approach to protecting election outcomes there has been spin that these laws are racist. Most recently the Justice Department of the United States has gone after a number of states including Texas because of the audacity to establish their own rules on voting including identification requirements.

Eric Holder says Texas' voting requirements, which apply to all citizens of the state, are specifically aimed at harming blacks, Hispanics and the elderly.

There are cries that it's unreasonable to think blacks, Hispanics and the elderly would have automobiles to get to places where they could obtain a valid form of Identification. It presupposes that every person at the mall drove in their own cars or trucks. It's the flimsiest of cop outs, and yet the Attorney General of the United States is using this logic as the crux of his argument that states are violating the Voting Rights Act, 14th and 15th Amendments. It would seem to me those accused of lacking resourcefulness and resolve should actually be offended but they're being coddled in the process so accept the world's view of them as victims.

Taxing Blacks, Hispanics and the Elderly

President Obama is fond of saying he will not correct the nation's economic problems "on the backs of the poor" and yet he wanted to hike the federal tax on cigarettes by $0.94 to raise $78.0 billion over ten years. This on top of a previous tax hike (this was the very first tax increased under the current administration). Now his former right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, is preparing to hike cigarette taxes in the city of Chicago by $0.75 bringing total taxes to $7.42 a pack! Recently Cook County hiked taxes by $1.00 claiming it wasn't economic but to curb smoking. Talk about corporal punishment!

The mayor is saying he needs to raise $100.0 million to pay for safety at schools and parks. Here's the rub, a large swath of Chicagoans already head to Wisconsin or Indiana to evade paying the extraordinary tax on cigarettes. They simply hop in their cars and pick up a few packs. Wait a minute... what if they don't have cars?

According to Reynolds America the median household income for smokers is $27,700 versus $45,761 (2011) for non-smokers. According to the CDC 29% of smokers live under the poverty line.

The less education, the more likely one is to smoke, drop out of the job market and be unemployed. More than a third of high school dropouts smoke and two thirds aren't even in the job market. Conversely, only five percent of postgraduates are smokers.

Taking Black Crumbs for Greater Good

Getting off cigarettes by raising taxes is somewhat a dubious claim as I suspect greater knowledge of damage from long term smoking has been the largest deterrent to lighting up. On that note, most effective cessation programs cost up to $22 day or $660 a month, and that's obviously out of the reach of poor people. It's clear, hiking taxes on cigarettes is an attack on the poor.

In a piece in the Chicago Reporter titled "Second City or Dead Last? Income Apartheid in Chicago" it's pointed out the average white person in Chicago earns $63,635 annually compared to just $28,725 for the average black person, or 45% less. According to the author of the piece, this is the second worst disparity in the country falling only behind Dallas - see table. (Note all these are progressive cities and most have high taxes, unemployment and crime rates.)

Here's the Rub

If it's racist to expect blacks and others to find a ride to motor vehicle once every three years, then it's certainly racist to expect blacks and others to get a ride out of Chicago into Wisconsin or Indiana every other day for a few packs of cigarettes.

At the end of the day, whining about having to get voter ID's is a giant cop out while quietly accepting another blow to your limited income is inconceivable. The taxes collected from poor smokers in Chicago after Rahm gets his way adds up big time. A two pack a day parent will dish out $162,751 ($97,231 for taxes) over eighteen years. That's the kind of money that sends kids to school and changes the trajectory of a family. It gets future generations off the plantation and into the game of life. Of course this presumes people didn't smoke. But even for those that do, taxes alone seal their fate and limits options of their children.

Alas, regardless of their doom

The little victims play

Charles Payne

Charles V. Payne is a regular contributor to the Fox Business and Fox News Networks. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Principle Analyst of Wall Street Strategies, Inc. (WSSI), founded in 1991 which provides subscription analytical services to both individual and institutional investors.