Skip to main content

See also:

Obama budget to increase social security benefits at cigarette smokers' expense

Cigarette smokers to see higher taxes in Pres. Obama's new revised budget.
Cigarette smokers to see higher taxes in Pres. Obama's new revised budget.
Wikimedia Commons

Light up that cigarette you purchase in the future and you will be helping to pay for social security benefit recipients' future monthly payment increase, according to a February 21 report from the Star-Telegram. That is because President Obama feels that someone has to pay for the increase debt of raising social security benefits, and he believes it should be smokers.

Democrats are applauding the president's most recent budget announcement about dropping his plan to cut Social Security benefits. But Republicans feel he is once again throwing in the towel when it comes to decreasing the nation's tremendous debt burden.

An argument can be made in support of both sides of the issue. For example, senior citizens do deserve an increase in the money they receive from the government based upon their decades spent in the labor force, especially during a difficult economy. But if Congress continues to raise the dollar amount they are already receiving, but refuses to address the trillions dollar budget deficit at the same time, then they may inevitably receive nothing at all. So which scenario is worse?

On top of that, President Obama is proposing $56 billion in new spending in his revised budget plan to be unveiled on March 4. And not all of it is for seniors. In fact, he wants to put more dollars into early childhood education, job training and manufacturing help for companies. But hasn't he already done that with the last stimulus, with no visible success?

Republicans believe that the president is putting the country on a worse future course financially, and they hope the American people will realize that and voice their opposition when elections are held this year for congressional members. Democrats believe just having the president make promises of future fund disbursements (even if they don't come to fruition), will be enough to make sure they return to control the Senate--and even take over the House.

The president's plan to tax cigarette smokers will bring in more tax dollars, for sure. However, based upon the current estimates by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), only 18.1 percent of adults smoke in America. That's roughly 42 million people. Compare that to the fact that the Social Security Agency reports there are 58 million Americans receiving social security benefits as of 2013.

So even if all the smokers in America lit up on a daily basis, there still would not be enough tax collected from the sale of cigarettes to offset the cost the SSA would incur if seniors were to receive an increase in benefits in 2014.

These figures are readily available by simply searching for this data on the Google search engine. So how come the president isn't taking this into account when creating his revised national budget? And will the American people realize that taxing cigarette smokers will not offset the increased debt of $56 billion the president is going to propose, let alone whittle down the trillions of debt America already has right now? Hopefully so, because the greater concern right now should be how to make this country solvent again. And taxing smokers more isn't going to do it, obviously.