Sunday, June 28, 2009

Is Brian Perry a CINO?

Conservatism is a pretty simple philosophy: A belief that limited government and the free market best preserve our individual liberties and ensure our prosperity. Unfortunately for conservatism, many people who call themselves conservatives are actually CINO's: Conservatives in Name Only. The CINO loudly touts his conservatism but when push comes to shove, he will do things like vote for bailouts, support Medicare expansion, or work to sabotage the free market.

Brian Perry is a columnist for the Madison County Journal and former spokesman for Governor Barbour. While calling himself a free-market conservative, he is fighting to hike taxes on tobacco companies that didn't sign Mike Moore's tobacco settlement agreement. As the video above demonstrates, the tobacco companies agreed to the shakedown from Moore and his fellow AG's for several reasons. It protected them from future state lawsuits. It allowed them to fix their costs and pass them on to the consumer. It was to be a barrier for potential new competitors who weren't protected from future lawsuits. The states received billions of dollars from the deal while the tobacco companies received protection from the free market and further legal action. Not a bad deal if you can get it.

However, the free market is a pesky little thing. It has this funny way of responding to what consumers want much better than do the government and crony capitalists. In this case, Big Tobacco miscalculated when it decided to pay the vig to Vito and Bruno as it thought there would be no more competition. Unfortunately for Big Tobacco, the free market is teaching it a lesson it doesn't want to learn as tobacco sales by Non-participating (in the settlement) Manufacturers (NPM 's) are increasing due to their lower costs. According to a recent column by Sid Salter, Mr. Perry himself states NPM 's now have a market share of 14% in Mississippi. Most of these agreements are based on market share so the states and Big Tobacco have an interest in preserving their market share.

Mr. Perry and his clients have a solution for their problem and it is one familiar to liberals: raise the taxes on NPM tobacco sales. In true Clintonian fashion, Mr. Perry defends the tax hike as a free-market and thus conservative solution:
"Currently it is competing in a tobacco market where Mississippi has created a built in cost disadvantage for certain companies, including Altria. It wants to level the playing field and has advertised this fact on the radio. It is a pro-competition, pro-free market, pro-capitalism message.
Altria pays about 52 cents a pack above all taxes to Mississippi to off-set the health associated costs of smoking. Altria has proposed that other companies also pay for their health associated costs and has suggested 43 cents a pack as their share. It isn’t as high as the settlement companies like Altria, but it is still a fair share for the NPM’s contribution to health care costs. I believe 46 other states have an NPM fee; it is an established and workable policy option and for Mississippi could produce an additional $20 million per year. Additionally, under an equal NPM fee, whether a smoker continues to buy the NPM cigarette or switches to a different brand, the state would not be losing health care funds.
So it is a win-win-win situation for both Mississippi and Altria. Of course, Altria
(Altria was formerly Philip Morris) benefits from a fair and competitive market place..." Mr. Perry's blog

Big Tobacco tries to rig the marketplace with the government's help only to see its efforts crumble as Smith's invisible hand works its magic. Like most companies that have seen their business threatened after hopping in bed with the government, Big Tobacco squeals for more taxation and government regulation while their hired gun talks about competitive marketplaces and how he believes in free markets. Obama's saying he doesn't want to run GM while firing the CEO comes to mind (In fact, part of Mr. Perry's blog reads as if it were written by a UAW chieftain complaining about Honda and Nissan). None of the NPM's agreed to the terms of the settlement yet Mr. Perry wants it imposed on them through a tax.

It should be pointed out there is nothing stopping Mr. Hood from pursuing the same course of action Mr. Moore did and seek damages from these manufacturers yet for some strange reason, Mr. Perry fails to mention that fact. There is nothing wrong with Mr. Perry advocating his position for his client. However, there is something wrong with someone calling raising taxes and working with the government to destroy competition a "pro-competition, pro-free market, pro-capitalism message".


Kingfish said...

Part of the video is wrong as Congress did pass a law protecting the settlement from the federal government.

Anonymous said...

Jack Kemp, a noted conservative on tax issues, once said: if you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it. I want less smoking, less cancer, etc. I am willing to let Mr. Perry step off the conservative ranch on this issue, since tobacco is a dangerous substance that should be outlawed. However, since no one has the balls to outlaw it, we should tax it to the point that the high cost deters smoking. That include higher taxes for ALL cigarette manufacturers, not just NPM's. And yes, the same for liquor, etc.

Anonymous said...

Oh and BTW, after my last comment (Above), in full disclosure, let me add that my wife is a smoker and I actually have to pay any higher taxes on tobacco, unfortunately

Anonymous said...

As far as outlawing tobacco we tried that with alcohol, and Prohibition was such a social disaster it was the only Constitutional Amendment ever repealed. In the time since then no one has seemed to come up with a solution to get rid of a substance that is bad for society without making it lucrative for criminals.

Kingfish said...

My problem was more with someone using left-wing tactics to rig the marketplace while portraying it as free market conservatism.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS