Common Sense: Butt Out, Washington!

Did I ever mention that I like Yodels? You know, the chocolate snack cakes? Looking at me, some of you might say, "Wow, big surprise." But I do have a point here.

I love them so much I'd pay darn near anything to get them. Just call it a vice of mine. But a tasty one. Some things, I figure, are worth it no matter the price.

I think a lot of cigarette smokers feel the same way. Maybe because it is an addiction. Maybe because, like me, they just like the taste. But it's a tough habit to break. Addictions usually are.

So imagine my reaction upon hearing that a presidential panel is now advocating a 50 percent increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes. The idea, I guess, is to price smokers out of the market. To literally make it so expensive to light up, that most smokers will snuff out. If only it were that simple.

Take me. I dare say they could double the price of Yodels and I'd still buy them. Why? Because I'm addicted, that's why!

Now start offering them for a hundred bucks, and even I might pause. But we're not there yet on Yodels. And we're not there yet on cigarettes. And all because addicted users will pay anything to feed their addictions. Well, almost anything. But you get my point.

Breaking a vice takes a lot more than hiking the price on that vice. It takes training. In my case with Yodels, maybe simple will power. It doesn't take Washington butting in.

Clearly Uncle Sam's heart is right. It's his approach that's wrong. I'll lecture my kid on smoking, not you. Yodels? All right, that is a tougher call. But you get my point.

Butt out.

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