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Added on: 11/09/2011 @ 11:27:31 AM
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Government Announces Christmas Tree Tax

The tax will go to fund a "Christmas Tree Promotion Board".

I'm not making this up.
View External Link [news.yahoo.com]
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scott.jpgScott - 6216 Posts
11/09/2011 @ 11:37:12 AM
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At least their calling it a Christmas tree, and not a holiday tree tax. Or are the holiday tree's tax exempt?

How do you define "Christmas tree" anyway? Couldn't producer's get around this by just calling them "temporary seasonal indoor evergreens"?

edit:
From the Federal Register link:
Section 1214.3 would define the term
‘‘Christmas tree’’ to mean any tree of the
coniferous species that is severed or cut
from its roots and marketed as a
Christmas tree.
The coniferous species
include the botanical group of trees that
have needle-like or scale-like leaves.


So I might actually be on to something. I only charge 5 cents per tree to utilize this loophole I discovered in 7 seconds of research.
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Scott edited this 3 times, last at 11/09/2011 11:43:45 am
2887.gifAlex - I don't need to get steady I know just how I feel
11/16/2011 @ 01:13:43 PM
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If this was done under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996, as stated in the article (but then again it's a Yahoo! news article so...), then I suggest that entire act should probably be undone.
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scott.jpgScott - 6216 Posts
11/22/2011 @ 10:12:04 AM
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For what it's worth (I saw Fox* and probably other networks and pundits and bloggers jumped all over this), that the motivation for this was actually to PROMOTE Christmas trees, not discourage them. Fox ran a segment on Fox and Friends with the on screen tagline "Grinched by the Government". I do believe they dropped the proposal to go forward with this, but to really be fair about the purpose behind the idea, any attempt to make this about some sort of warfare waged against Christmas is to grasp desperately at straws (in my humble opinion).

*I happened to see the headline on Fox News, so I know that for sure. I'm neither confirming nor denying any other media outlets simply based on lack of observation. And from the little internet searching I have done on the subject, the Fox & Friends segment was by a long stretch a very tame commentary compared to at number of other outlets.
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Scott perfected this at 11/22/2011 10:27:25 am
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
11/22/2011 @ 11:14:22 AM
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I'm not even sure how you could spin it any other way. As I understand it, Big Christmas Tree lobbied to get the tax in place, with the money going to the promotion of the trees.

Fox News should love it. Basically it was a round about way that the Big Christmas Tree producers could force the smaller ones (though there's still a min threshold) into paying for commercials. Also, since it's a "tax" now they can say trees are $40 + tax and get more, as opposed to it coming out of the $40.

There's really nothing to see here. "Please allow us to charge a tax." "Ok"
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
11/22/2011 @ 11:44:47 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:14:22 AM
I'm not even sure how you could spin it any other way.


If you please...

The stuff about the producers wanting it is just fluff compared the hatred Obama has for all things Christian!

'Tis but a taste of some of the things I've read about it. (not a direct quote, but there was plenty of "more evidence obama hates Christmas" rhetoric).
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8821 Posts
11/22/2011 @ 11:59:15 AM
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Well, I didn't say no one flew off the handle with dumbassery, but if you actually read what happened, or, you know, are telling people about what happened, I don't see how you get to "Obama hates Christmas."
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scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
11/22/2011 @ 12:02:10 PM
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Right. This is no more a war on Christmas than "Got Milk" is a war on the dairy industry. Just the opposite. this is actually a promotion of Christmas, just the naturally grown Christmas that is being hurt a little by the artificial tree industry.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist
11/22/2011 @ 12:18:28 PM
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I mean, don't get me wrong, it's pretty stupid. They should have told them to manage it on their own, especially since this isn't just a group of private businesses, but also crosses church/state separation lines.

I do find it interesting that really one of the only things to get even mildly upset about here is "Obama shouldn't be promoting Christmas", and even then it still gets spun as "Obama hates Christmas"
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scott.jpgScott - 6216 Posts
11/22/2011 @ 12:33:52 PM
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Yeah. I feel like the same critics would be praising a republican for doing the exact same thing with the exact same wording. The idea isn't to promote holiday trees, it is to promote "Christmas" trees, in so many words. For once the current administration isn't directly promoting multi-culturalism and cross-religious imagery. It is literally a promotion of the American tradition of cutting down pine trees for the specific purpose of celebrating the American day of recognition of the birth of the Christian savior. Why isn't the right thrilled about this?
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Scott edited this 2 times, last at 11/22/2011 12:37:24 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
11/22/2011 @ 12:41:42 PM
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Because we live in a country where everything the other guys do is tearing apart the fabric of our nation.

Even healthcare. At its core the issue is getting moochers to kick in what/when they can, instead of the status quo where those of us who do have means to pay also pay for other poor or irresponsible people. Under any/every other guise the sides are completely switched. Taxes, Welfare, Unemployment, you name it.
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2887.gifAlex - But let history remember, that as free men, we chose to make it so!
11/22/2011 @ 01:23:48 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:14:22 AM
I'm not even sure how you could spin it any other way. As I understand it, Big Christmas Tree lobbied to get the tax in place, with the money going to the promotion of the trees.


By attempting to argue that it raises the price of the tree for the consumer, therefore it's bad for consumers. That's a Tea Party/Libertarian argument anyway. It's definitely a pro-big business bill which is usually the realm of the righties so they should love it, although Obama seems to have been fairly pro big business himself so far.

If Christmas tree producers want to use their profits for advertising so be it. Why in the world would the government have to get involved with a tax scheme? Possible answers: worthless government jobs for somebody to use as bribes/kickbacks, producers can say, "Hey the government made us do this tax, it's not our fault prices went up", the tax program itself was some sort of bargaining chip, Ag Dept trying to create more programs to prevent budget cuts?

Notice no where in there was, "benefits the general public" or "protects rights of citizens" or anything like that. The best stretch I can think of is increasing sales of real trees would presumably decrease sales of fake trees which are most likely not made in the USA, thereby decreasing the trade deficit. But even that wouldn't require a $2 million per year budget, just post it all over facebook.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8821 Posts
11/22/2011 @ 01:53:52 PM
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I think it's 2 fold:

1) The tree producers who didn't want to contribute, but would have benefited from the campaign, now have to
2) So they can hide the cost as a tax, if they want
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matt.jpgMatt - Ombudsman
11/22/2011 @ 05:01:24 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:14:22 AM
Fox News should love it.


Not sure what you mean by this.

Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:14:22 AM
There's really nothing to see here. "Please allow us to charge a tax." "Ok"


Actually, there is something to see here.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:33:52 PM
Yeah. I feel like the same critics would be praising a republican for doing the exact same thing with the exact same wording.


Maybe some, but I think the serious small government conservatives/libertarians would be just as mad (and the left would say that it was some sort of plan to enrich Halliburtonemoticon).

Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:33:52 PM
The idea isn't to promote holiday trees, it is to promote "Christmas" trees, in so many words.


I think you are stuck too much on a minor point. The fact that they haven't gone ultra-PC on this yet is a minor consolation to the fact that this is the Federal Government getting involved in a matter that is best left to private industry and the free market.

Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 12:41:42 PM
Because we live in a country where everything the other guys do is tearing apart the fabric of our nation.

Even healthcare. At its core the issue is getting moochers to kick in what/when they can, instead of the status quo where those of us who do have means to pay also pay for other poor or irresponsible people. Under any/every other guise the sides are completely switched. Taxes, Welfare, Unemployment, you name it.


The first part is, too often, true. As for the healthcare part, I'm sure we've had this discussion many times here, but I don't fully agree with your characterization of the issue, and even if I did, the bill did nothing to fix that problem (in fact, it probably increases the degree that people have to subsidize the "moochers"). Not to mention the fact that you still have the issue of whether the Feds should/are allowed to involve themselves that way (especially since most of the problems are because they got involved in the first place). But I digress.

To me, the problem with the "Christmas Tree Tax" (and yes, they have already backtracked from it) is that it is another example of government picking winners and losers, and forcing one group to pay for something more than they value it, so another group who really wants the thing can have it for less. As Alex said, there isn't any even any real government interest to do this. Unlike a road or a social safety net, you really have to stretch to find how this benefits society as a whole in a way that the free market outcome can't.

More specifically, you have some tree sellers who want to advertise their product to help the industry, and thus, themselves. They can't get enough cooperation from other sellers who don't value the advertising as much as it would cost them. So, the first group now goes to the government to force the second group to kick in money so the first group can get the advertising they wanted in the first place. Yes the second group will potentially receive some benefit from the advertising, though not necessarily enough to outweigh the costs of it, or of the potential benefits they could have gotten from that money if they were allowed to spend it how they saw fit.

Meanwhile, this is done, presumably, to the detriment of the artificial tree industry and all the people associated with it (buyers, sellers, makers, suppliers, etc.). If fake trees are increasing their share of the marketplace, it is presumably because they are providing better value to more and more consumers. The government shouldn't get involved by aiding the other side to counteract this trend.
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