First 5 funding up in smoke

John Seiler:

Back in 1998, actor Rob “Meathead” Reiner tricked voters into passing Prop. 10, the California First 5 initiative, which jacked up cigarette taxes 50 cents a pack to pay for programs that took over from parents the privilege of raising young children. Of course, it was sold as a way to improve kids’ health, education and welfare.

Ironically, poor folks smoke more than others. So Prop. 10 effectively forced the poor to work longer, keeping them away from their kids longer, so the government could barge in and run their kids’ lives.

But people have been smoking less. And when the Federal government doubled its cig taxes last year, part of President Obama’s intricate plan to wreck the economy even more than Bush did and make even more of us miserable, why, more people quit smoking — or bought smokes on the black market.

The result: a sharp drop in funding for the Meathead’s child-control programs.

Meanwhile, a couple of years ago Reiner had to leave as head of the program because of a scandal. As Archie said, The pied piper ain’t pickin’ up no more rollin’ moss.

And down here in Orange County, a couple of our “small-government” Republicans, Hugh Hewitt and Matt Cunningham, were discovered helping themselves to some of the tobacco-tax loot pried from the poor who are smokers.

First 5 was, is, and always will be a typical modern government scam. But at least it’s a little bit less of a scam than it was.


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