Monday 3 October 2011

Thuggery, Extortion, And Theft - A Governmental Policy

As breath-taking examples of inverted realities go, this quote - from an Independent article on counterfeit tobacco - is from the top drawer.

"Contraband cigarettes are a massive problem in the area, especially in view of the economic climate," says DS O'Brien. "This raid may seem small scale but it is linked to organised crime. And make no mistake; these people are thieves, stealing from the taxpayer."
Err, run that by me again?

To recap. We have an industry which - just as any other industry does within normal rules of supply and demand - wishes to sell a product at a rate which maximises their profit, and customers who wish to buy at a price which they are willing to pay dependent on the value they ascribe to it. So far, so good.

However, this equilibrium is disturbed by the state, who tax the product beyond any measure of fairness or reason, often to be spent on daft ideological schemes and eye-watering waste.

Enforced by way of their instruments of violence (legislation, fines, intimidation and imprisonment), the result is that every purchaser of that product has a portion of the purchase price stolen from them on the whim of government.

And, as if to add insult to injury, the justification is usually to reduce costs to a compulsory health service which, again, is paid for by money taken by force from the population, and from which there is no opt-out.

As a result, counterfeiters move into the space between the natural price and the unrealistic false taxed price. An entirely predictable scenario and one which can be blamed on one party only ... the state.

Incredibly, said state then has the brass neck to accuse others of stealing from the taxpayer. That is to say, stealing the money which has already been stolen from consumers by government.

It's like saying that if you lock your car away in the garage, you are stealing it from the scrote down the road who might want to pinch and sell it to pay for his crack habit.

That politicians have managed to convince their sheep that such an arrangement is perfectly normal is staggering enough, but there is one player in all this that they haven't looted yet.

The middle men.

Tesco faces £38m bill for selling tobacco

According to analysis by property firm Ryden, Tesco has 90 out of the 221 stores in Scotland that are set to be affected by the government's public health levy. The government intends to raise £110 million over the next three years, with £38m due to come from Tesco alone as it has the highest number of stores with a rateable value of £300,000 or more. The levy is aimed at big retailers that sell both alcohol and tobacco, with Morrisons, Asda, and Sainsbury's also set to cough up tens of millions each in additional business rates over the next three years.
Not content with moving heaven and earth to vandalise suppliers of a desired product, and thieving from those who wish to buy it, governments are now moving into the protection racket.

"Nice business selling booze and fags you have there Mr Sainsbury, wouldn't want anything nasty to happen to it, now would we? Just pay the instalments every month and we won't close you down and sequestrate your assets, there's a good lad."

Or how about this staggering heist in Greece.

Smoking will be once again permitted in Greece given the country’s poor financial situation. The new measure will allow smokers to smoke inside casinos and big nightclubs exceeding 300m2.

According to the decision of Finance and Health Ministers, Mr. Venizelos and Mr. Loverdos, casino and big nightclub owners will be authorized to set up a smoking area, which could cover 50% of the total acreage of their business.

In order to set up a special area for smokers, the owner will have to pay annually 200 euros per square meter. The tax must be paid before the 30th of November 2011 in Public Revenue Offices.
That's right. The Greek government is now stealing cash, by way of menaces, to evade prosecution for a law that they themselves imposed without mandate.

Al Capone had nothing on these guys!

These oleaginous bastards have long since lost the authority to moralise on law and order, or anti-social behaviour. Governments are the most organised criminal syndicates the world has ever seen.


Anonymous said...

Just a little footnote on how
Government interference and
Health freak's bufoonery can
lose a fortune

July 1st 2007 (Yes we know what day of infamy that was)
Punch Tavern Pubco Shares
were worth......1230.25p each

Today 3rd October 2011
................. 10.4p

For any state school educated
that's a loss of....1219.7 pence
per share.

Sadly there is not a Politician
who has the integrity or guts
to stand up and give the cranks
their marching orders.

Ex Democrat

Twenty_Rothmans said...

"Contraband cigarettes are a massive problem in the area, especially in view of the economic climate," says DS O'Brien.
Emeritus Professor in Economics in his spare time.

Who gives a shit? He's not exactly shovelling up victims of drive-by shootings as a result, is he?

And make no mistake; these people are thieves, stealing from the taxpayer.
This guy's an alien who's never seen a housing estate.

Bugger Scotland. They're too busy still whining about Thatcher to watch their country being turned into some Statist guinea pig for everyone else.

I hasten to add that I don't mean the Scottish as a whole. I feel sympathy for those stuck up there, pincered between the SNP and Labour, whose policies appear to be identical.

Smoking Hot said...

Good news for the cross-border shopper!

Anonymous said...

"In order to set up a special area for smokers, the owner will have to pay annually 200 euros per square meter. The tax must be paid before the 30th of November 2011 in Public Revenue Offices."

Hmm. So first they enact smoking bans and drive nearly everyone out of business, based on the pretense of a fraud (SHS). Then they don't want to admit they are wrong - but they do wish to find a way to extort more money - so in order to have a relaxation of the smoking ban will now cost business a bundle in cash to payoff government who created the whole mess in the first place.

Wonder if there wasn't long-term planning in effect early on, on ways to extort even more money for promises of relaxing the bans somewhat.

Wonder if that's not what they'd do in UK too in regard to ban relaxation - license it and require yearly fees for smoking rooms.

Michael J. McFadden said...

I have a hard time keeping a proper playlist of all the crazies out there. Was it Deborah Arnott who argued a few months ago that raising tobacco taxes had nothing to do with encouraging the black market?

I just bumped into an Anti over here who shrugged off the black market selling to kids with "Oh, kids always find ways to buy cigarettes anyway." Of course in half a heartbeat that same Anti would push for higher taxes -- purely to protect the children due to their "higher price sensitivity" of course.

And a protection racket is EXACTLY what it is. Over here in the States we had the Master Settlement Agreement where the Cops Gang cracked down on the big boys in town (Big T companies) and told them that if they wanted to stay in biz they'd have to add a surcharge on their "drug trade" and pass it over. In return the Cops Gang guaranteed that if any small time hoodlums (small tobacco companies who hadn't signed the MSA) moved into the neighborhood to try to undercut the big boys that they'd send some muscle around to beat them into submission.


Anonymous said...

I may be in the minority, but I regard the Greek U-turn as a big step forward.
First, it demonstrates that the ban was not brought in to protect employees, as the Greek Government would now be cynically putting a price on lives.
Second, once a Goverment has tacitly admitted that the issue is purely financial, it has lost the moral high ground and will find it very difficult to implement a total ban in the future, particularly as there are now separate smoking rooms, about which only the most neurotic or fanatical anti smokers will complain.
Finally, though it will inevitably rise to what the market will bear, 200 euro is not that high - less than 60 cents a day per sq m. Think of the seating arrangements and throughput in your local Caffe Nero. 60 cents a day per sq m is neither here nor there.
What do others think?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.45 again. Tesco are being a charged a large sum of money for the privilege of selling cigarettes. Is this legal? Would it be legal to charge every shop in Scotland £1 billion a year, effectively making the sale of cigarettes illegal? The priciple is the same. Are the supermarkets or the tobacco companies protesting about this measure? It must surely contravene some EU law.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.45 again. I should have noted the amendment applies only to large night clubs and casinos, so my earlier remarks have less validity.

It should be noted that the EU has not spoken out about this amendment to the Greek ban. Each EU country is free to set its own smoking regulations. That's good news.

Sam Duncan said...

“pincered between the SNP and Labour, whose policies appear to be identical.”

Indeed, 20R. That's the bugger. Yet they're at each other's throats. Labour's hatred for the Tories has nothing on what they reserve for the Nats, presumably for trying to muscle in on their racket. And vice-versa. They're like the communists and fascists: not a fag paper (heh!) between them, yet we're supposed to believe they're polar opposites.

And that's our choice up here. Nobody else stands a chance. We're doomed. Save yourselves.

Anon 12:45: I'd have thought so. But they seem to be going ahead regardless. I also wonder how alcohol price controls have suddenly become legal, too.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Anon1245, you wrote, "Each EU country is free to set its own smoking regulations. That's good news."

Anon, ever hear of the WFCTC? The World Framework Convention on Tobacco Control? If Greece doesn't toe the line they're liable to find their food and medical aid from the UN cut off. After enough of their people die maybe they'll behave.

Incredible, eh?


Anonymous said...

Anon.12.45 again. Yes, I've heard of the WFCTC. I don't know the exact relationship between the WFCTC and the EU - I'm assuming the EU is supposed to be going along with some anti-tobacco strategey; and that's why I'm surprised Greece got away with it. Like I said, it will be very difficult to put the ban back once it's established that it is a means of taxation rather than a health measure.

nisakiman said...

"...200 euro is not that high - less than 60 cents a day per sq m..."

A club of 300 sq m which wants to go for the maximum of 50% of smoking area will have to pay €30,000 up front, doubtless out of already taxed income. In the current economic climate people are not spending like they used to, so any club paying that money out will be taking a big gamble on recouping their outlay. It's a blatant rip-off, and shows how far removed from reality the Greek politicians are. Businesses here are closing in droves, particularly in the urban hospitality trade, where the smoking ban tends to be more difficult to ignore. It (the ban) couldn't have come at a worse time for Greece, but of course the directive came from above, in Brussels, and they don't give a rat's arse that the ban puts people out of work.

I can't see many businesses taking up the full option at €200 / sq m.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:45 oooh the force is strong over here. both the eu and individual countries are locked into FCTC. the individual country answers to FCTC as well as to EU. nice arrangement, ehh?