'O Christmas Tree' - A Future Federal Tax Source?

The Obama administration has decided not to let the Grinch steal Christmas this year, according to White House spokesman Matt Lehrich.

The United States Department of Agriculture has decided to delay implementation of a program that could have raised the price of fresh Christmas trees by 15 cents per tree. Can you say "Christmas tree tax?”

Here is the background: The USDA has established a new Christmas Tree Promotion Board for promoting “sales of fresh Christmas trees.” The board is composed of 11 producers and one importer of Christmas trees.

At issue is a 15-cent charge per Christmas tree sold by producers and importers who produce more than 500 trees annually. Would the fee be passed on to consumers - like a tax?

The Christmas Tree Promotion Board is modeled after the folks who brought us “Got Milk” commercials and “Beef. It's what"s for dinner” ads. Those cost $1 per cow, by the way.

So let's see how this works: People buy Christmas trees. The government charges 15 cents for selling those trees. Then it uses the money to create a federal program to promote the sale of Christmas trees.

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents ...” - James Madison

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