Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas Tree Tax - A Pointless, Misuse of Government

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree ShoppingImage by K!T via FlickrThe Christmas tree tax will not be implemented this holiday season because of consumer outrage. Is the Department of Agriculture asleep at the wheel? This tax is a total PR blunder for the Obama administration. Just saying the word tax can get you in trouble. The truth is the Department of Agriculture was going to implement a 15 cent tax on every fresh cut Christmas tree. It's not the amount that is the concern. It's the how, why, and who is the real problem.

Who's to blame for the tax?

The Department of Agriculture's new Christmas Tree Promotion Board was set up at the request of the Christmas tree sellers. They want the industry promoted and want the growers to pay for it. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace”. It's only for sellers who sell more than 500 tree per year.

What's the big deal, it's only 15 cents?

It really is insignificant for a once per year purchase. But that doesn't mean it makes sense or is right. The fact that much of the industry practically begged the government to impose the tax on them doesn't help either. The American Spectator reports:
"If they want to fund a promotional campaign for their product, they should do it themselves, without involving the USDA. "
"That goes for all similar checkoff taxes, such as the ones for beef, milk, soybeans, etc. There's no reason the federal government should be involved in shaping consumer preferences. The Christmas Tree Tax has done something useful in reminding us that the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 is a dumb law."

What if someone doesn't pay?

You go to jail. When you don't pay a federal tax you go to jail.
"What are you in for pal? I didn't pay my Christmas Tree Tax."

Whats wrong with the tax from a constitutional point of view?

  • Could it violate the Free Exercise of Religion Clause because it effects Christians.
  • The Equal Protection Clause for the same reason.
  • Does the government have the right to tax local agriculture products?
  • Is the Interstate Commerce Clause effected when the trees stay in state?
  • Doesn't the Congress have the power to regulate taxes and not the USDA?

Here is an example of why people have a problem with government. Should government be involved with promoting Christmas tree sales. What happened to separation of church and state. Christmas is clearly a religious holiday or did the ACLU forget?

The administration should squash this issue right away and put the promotion of Christmas trees back onto the industry, where it belongs. This is only going to make a bad issue for President Obama's  opponents to use against him.


  1. Agree. At this point in time when he is running for a re-election, Obama cannot make mistakes. Christmas Tree Tax. lol

  2. I don't understand how his advisers could let this one get out.


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