What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 12, 2011

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum The War On Christmas Returns!

But the facts are, of course, obscured (this is the Trib, remember).  Take a look at The Trib op-ed page today:
The Obama administration surely should have second thoughts about imposing -- by executive fiat, under a 1996 federal law -- a tax on fresh-cut Christmas trees that defies logic.

Quick criticism led the Obama Agriculture Department to delay a new 15-cent tax on each Christmas tree sold by producers who sell more than 500 annually. The revenue would fund a new, image- and sales-enhancing Christmas Tree Promotion Board.

Yet, as David S. Addington writes for The Heritage Foundation blog, The Foundry, "the American Christmas tree has a great image that doesn't need any help from the government." That said, why is the government involved at all?

The National Christmas Tree Association, which wants the tax and the promotion board, says real trees overwhelmingly outsold fake trees, their only real competition, in 2010 -- 27 million, worth $976 million at retail, vs. 8.2 million, worth $530 million -- and the economy has little effect on real trees' sales.
For some reality based faced framework, let's first go to Jake Tapper at ABC and see where it leads:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees, sources tell ABC News. The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009, was first announced in the Federal Registry yesterday and has generated criticism of President Obama from conservative media outlets.
Let's go take a look at that link. That'll be what the NCTA has to say. Take a look:
The program is designed to benefit the industry and will be funded by the growers at a rate of 15 cents per tree sold. The program will be administered by an independent 12-member board of small business owners who grow and sell farm-grown Christmas trees and they will be responsible for developing and approving promotional and research efforts to benefit the entire industry. The program is not expected to have any impact on the final price consumers pay for their Christmas tree. The funds collected after this season will be used to develop promotion and research programs for the 2012 season. [Underline/bold in original.]
And it's not exactly a "tax" in that it's not intended to raise funds for the guv'ment - the growers of the trees come up with $.15/per tree.  And  the what was supposed to happen to that money?  Here's a clue from the NCTA:
This program was developed under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. There are at least 18 other similar programs already in effect for various agricultural commodities. Although smaller in scope, the Christmas tree program will be similar to recognizable programs for milk, cotton and beef that have brought consumers commodity-oriented messages such as “Got Milk?” and “Beef, It’s what’s for dinner.”
But is any of that true?  Yes, it is - from the Federal Register:
This rule establishes an industry-funded promotion, research, and information program for fresh cut Christmas trees. The Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order), was submitted to the Department of Agriculture (Department) by the Christmas Tree Checkoff Task Force (Task Force), an industry wide group of producers and importers that support this program. Under the Order, producers and importers of fresh cut Christmas trees will pay an initial assessment of $0.15 cents per tree, which would be paid to the Christmas Tree Promotion Board (Board). This Board will be responsible for administration and operation of the Order. Producers and importers that produce or import less than 500 Christmas trees annually will be exempt from the assessment. The program is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act).
An industry funded promotional board that isn't expected to raise the price of a Christmas Tree to fund a promotional campaign along the lines of those "Got Milk?" ads.  OF COURSE it's because Obama hates America and he wants his heartless bureaucrats to raise taxes on everyone - AT CHRISTMASTIME.

There are two points to this op-ed that I haven't raised yet.  Did you see where the initial report came from?

David S Addington at the Heritage Foundation.

The same Heritage Foundation that's taken tens of millions in Scaife money.  But that's not the big point.  You remember David Addington, don't you?
Yea, that David Addington.

Good to see they got him writing about Christmas Trees because when he's written about stuff that matters, he shreds democracy.


rich10e said...

snore snore

EdHeath said...

Ah, rich, champion of distorters of truth.