Loosie in the streets, with patdowns

In a Saturday editorial, the Washington Post calls for further hiking Maryland’s tobacco tax so as to push the state’s smuggled-cigarettes rate, currently around 20%, closer to New York state’s Bloomberg-influenced, nation-leading 57%. The New York policy has proved a highly effective way to bring petty and not-always-so-petty crime to New Yorkers’ everyday lives. With I-95, I-70 and other corridors, Maryland is already one of the most accessible states for contraband smugglers, and if the Post has its way organized gangs on the streets of Baltimore stand to get their hands on a new cash engine that, as one Brooklyn distributor is said to have boasted on wiretap, is “better than selling drugs.” What could go wrong?

P.S. The Post’s editorial never even mentions smuggling or evasion of the law, let alone bring up the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, although the Post’s own news analysts and opinion writers have repeatedly explored the role of taxes in that case. Is it too much to ask of the Post editorialists that they keep up with their own paper? [rewritten and expanded; cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]


Filed under Media criticism, Policy

2 responses to “Loosie in the streets, with patdowns

  1. Walter Olson

    In September, Eli Lehrer of the R Street Institute noted in the Weekly Standard that smoking rates in New York appear actually to be headed up, not down, and wondered at what point the growth of a black market would prove counterproductive to efforts to reduce smoking rates among younger people especially:


    If such a backfire effect does pan out as real, I wonder what the mechanism might be. Possibly NY’s having established a small army of illegal distributors with a financial incentive to push the product on new users. Or possibly the local Gotham war on vaping (which in saner jurisdictions is being encouraged as a substitute so as to cut deeply into smoking rates, as would be its natural tendency):


  2. Pingback: “New York Creates Massive Cigarette Black Market, Wants Virginia to Fix It” | Free State Notes

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