Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Taxing the sin of freedom

Cook County, Illinois has a problem, and I'm not even referring to the fact that it contains Chicago, the armpit of the Midwest. What I am referring to is the fact that the county is looking at a half billion dollar budget deficit (and I shudder to contemplate how many billions of dollars of cumulative debt). Needless to say, the county is in a rather desperate scramble for cash, made all the more interesting by the promise made by the new (and utterly helpless) County Board President, Todd Stroger, not to raise taxes.

Commissioner Roberto Maldonado proposed this ingenious method of raising revenue: a ten cent tax on every round of ammunition sold in the county. In other words, a box of 50 rounds of cheap .22 rimfire, going for somewhere around $1.50, would now be $6.50--or a 333% increase. That's quite a jump--particularly for an administration that has pledged "no tax increases."

Maldonado claimed that such a measure could raise $250,000 dollars per year--or .05% (that's 1/2000th) of the $500 million shortfall. That, of course, would require one to believe that Cook County residents would be dumb enough to buy 2.5 million rounds of grossly overpriced ammunition every year in Cook County, when they could just drive over the county line and save a bundle.

Best yet is how Maldonado attempted to justify the proposal.

Maldonado said an ammo tax "is as close as possible to a sin tax."
Let me see if I have this right--exercising a Constitutional right is a sin? Well, far be it from me to criticize Mr. Maldonado's religious beliefs (I do, after all, revere the First Amendment, as well as the Second--wait a second! Is the First Amendment sinful, too? I wonder if the entire Bill of Rights is really just a road map to damnation).

As it turns out, apparently there are just too many sinners on the Cook County Board, because they rejected Mr. Maldonado's--I mean Saint Roberto's measure, even when he tried to sweeten the deal, by boosting the proposed "sin tax" to fifty cents per bullet. That would push the price of our hypothetical fifty-round box of .22 ammunition from $1.50 (without any sin tax), past $6.50 (with the initial, 10 cent tax), all the way to an impressive $26.50 for a box of 50 rounds of .22 rimfire ammunition. A 1667% increase in price ought to discourage quite a lot of sin, eh?

Too bad the rest of the commissioners don't share our hero's goodness and wisdom.