Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Puffin' Away in Pee-Ay

If you aren't directly affected by some turn of events, your reaction can range from objective to just bemused. So it is with today's headline here in Pee-Ay (that's the way you better say it) about tobacco taxes rising precipitously: $2.94 on each pack now; retail total, $4.82 each. Why anyone would want to own a chimpanzee, live in North Dakota or smoke tobacco is beyond me, but they do.

"Stogie" as a slang term for cigars comes from the town of Conestoga (as did the Wagon Train mode of transport) in Lancaster County, due to its being the heart of PA tobacco country. The Amish raise a lot of it; why they regard electricity as a moral hazard and tobacco not so much is also beyond me. Harrisburg's airport is designated International not because you can get anywhere other than Charlotte, but because of tobacco exports. The convenience shop in the basement of the State Capitol where cigarettes are sold has been run by a blind man for 30 years, and he does a darn good job, recognizing his customers by voice (and maybe smell).

Heading south, a theory about why Virginia failed to continue producing Presidents on its soil after the first batch holds that the land was depleted and ruined after about 1790 due to a long run of tobacco farming; malnutrition followed and the quality of the population declined quickly. Those with strength and pluck (or a criminal record) migrated west, anyway.
Since we don't consume solely local food any more, this no longer applies to my peeps in the Dominion.

Now, if taxes on beer are also raised as dramatically, I'm going to have to care.

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