So the Bay Guardian (i.e. editor Tim Redmond) applauds the Oakland government's plan to tax the city's four remaining cannabis dispensaries, claiming these clubs are "happy to pay." Sure Tim, just like business owners are "happy to pay" protection money when the mob puts the squeeze on them. The real reason Oakland dispensary owners reluctantly support this tax is in the hope that it will buy them protection against even worse forms of extortion and robbery, like DEA raids. Anyone should be able to see that "agreeing" under duress in this manner does not equal real support, any more than "agreeing" to give a blow job to avoid being anally raped constitutes consensual sex.
Redmond says nothing about how increasing the cost of running a dispensary will affect patients. Instead he claims that paying taxes tends to "legitimize the clubs." He should ask some undocumented immigrants about this. For years, undocumented workers have been paying Social Security taxes among other coercive takings. Many of them will never be eligible to receive a dime of this money in return. But the forced sacrifice hasn't bought them legitimacy in the eyes of either the U.S. government or much of the public, who appear more xenophobic than ever. Similarly, tobacco companies keep having higher and higher levels of taxation imposed on them, yet the laws against their products simultaneously get more and more restrictive.
Helping the cannabis community obviously isn't Redmond's priority. His concern is to make sure that politicians and bureaucrats at City Hall don't have to tighten their belts. To protect their ability to engage in profligate spending and handing out political favors at the rates to which they have become accustomed, he advocates taking more from dispensaries, along with "big business," because they are easy targets. I'm sure he'd favor a sales tax increase too if he wasn't clever enough to realize that the threat of this tax rising to 10% or higher would make a lot of people outraged. But the cruel consequences of eating into the budgets of businesses are no mystery. In this economic downturn, the reality of what happens when businesses lose revenue is staring us in the face -- people get laid off and lose their jobs, because companies can't afford to keep all the employees they had on the payroll when more money was coming in.
So what Redmond is really suggesting here is that ordinary people should lose their jobs so that the SF city government can maintain its bloated budget. He makes a weak passing objection to unnecessary bloat like the mayor's five press aides, the neighborhood pork of superfluous fire stations, etc., but when he arrives at the end of his column inches and it's time to issue a call to action he doesn't demand that the press office or other wasteful spending be cut. Instead he demands higher taxes. Why? Because on issues of money he is a statist who is ideologically committed to big government having more control over our lives.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
"loophole" (n) - A freedom they haven't taken away yet.