Saturday, February 27, 2010

Did we do it? Looks like somebody did.

So despite our strong misgivings, our deep doubts, our unshakeable belief that the government will never listen to we few pipe smokers, we put our signatures on petitions and sent letters and called our elected officials, knowing deep in our hearts that nothing was going to change and that a 775 percent pipe tobacco tax hike was inevitable. We were right ... and wrong. Right in the action we took, right in the stand we made, right in coming together in brotherhood to fight against what we saw as unjust. We were just wrong about one thing.
We were wrong that it wouldn't work.

But before you all run around singing "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead," we have to get some details out of the way.
The following was posted by Ronnie B. of Night Owl Pipe Works on the Smokers Forums on Friday evening. It is a statement reportedly from the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. In the interest of full disclosure, I was unable to find this statement on the IPCPR Web site or anywhere else directly related to the group, but I have no reason to doubt the statement either, as it matches information I have received elsewhere. So with no further ado, here's the victory speech.
"At this time, H.R. 4439, proposed federal legislation to increase the pipe tobacco tax to the same rate of the RYO tax, has little life or attention in Congress. Lobbyists from the IPCPR the Pipe Tobacco Council (a division of the Cigar Association of America (CAA)), and others have met with key members of Congress to discuss and detail our industry's opposition to the bill. H.R. 4439 is currently sitting in the U.S. House of Representatives' Ways & Means Committee. No hearings or further action has been scheduled at this time nor do we expect any immediate action. Several more meetings are scheduled with Congress in the coming days."
Please do not take this to mean the fight is over and we have won forever. It is possible that, by next year, Congress will have forgotten it's tiff with the roll-your-own tobacco manufacturers. It's possible the legislators could forget all about us lowly pipe smokers. It's possible that Washington could roll back all it's taxes in favor smaller government. It could.
But what's likely to happen is that, at some point, this bill or another like it or a completely different one with a similar aim. We live to fight another day, but we will have to fight another day.
In the meantime, though, it is once again alright to pace your spending. You don't need to stock up on everything right now. Get some tobacco this week, some next week, some the week after. It's once again alright to buy by the ounce instead of the pound. You don't need to take out a loan to fill your cellar. You might have to next year, but at least you have some breathing room for now.
Well, that's it. Go ahead and dance. I'll join in too.
"Ding dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the wicked witch. Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead ..."

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