Tuesday, August 09, 2005

To The Ashtray Of History

By Christine Hall - August 9th, 2005 - National Review Online
Big tobacco companies, as it turned out, did quite well by the [court dictated tobacco] settlement. They raised cigarette prices beyond the actual settlement costs and gained the states as partners in a cartel to hamstring competitors. Small tobacco companies that were never part of the state lawsuits or the multi-state settlement were required to make annual escrow payments to the states. Then, when the upstarts did better than expected and carved into the market share enjoyed by the majors — and state revenue — states responded by passing laws raising taxes, er, escrow payments. "All states have an interest in reducing ... sales [by non-settlement companies] in every state," Vermont's attorney general admonished his peers in 2003.

There is no question; our courts are first and foremost a system of extortion and bribery. They are secondarily a system that turns criminals out to prey on society again. This article focuses on the first of these two egregious practices. Having extorted money from the major tobacco companies, the states then raised taxes to punish the competitors of the companies who were paying extortion. If you think this is just, here is hoping that someday government comes after you because one of their favorite corporations sees you as a competitor.


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