Share This Page

The tree tax: It's pointless

The Obama administration surely should have second thoughts about imposing -- by executive fiat, under a 1996 federal law -- a tax on fresh-cut Christmas trees that defies logic.

Quick criticism led the Obama Agriculture Department to delay a new 15-cent tax on each Christmas tree sold by producers who sell more than 500 annually. The revenue would fund a new, image- and sales-enhancing Christmas Tree Promotion Board.

Yet, as David S. Addington writes for The Heritage Foundation blog, The Foundry, "the American Christmas tree has a great image that doesn't need any help from the government." That said, why is the government involved at all?

The National Christmas Tree Association, which wants the tax and the promotion board, says real trees overwhelmingly outsold fake trees, their only real competition, in 2010 -- 27 million, worth $976 million at retail, vs. 8.2 million, worth $530 million -- and the economy has little effect on real trees' sales.

It would be a pointless tax. Yet Agriculture disingenuously denies it would be a tax, despite -- as Mr. Addington points out -- mandating its payment and directing its revenue.

Only bureaucrats enamored of any and all taxes would even consider such idiocy. They richly deserve the coal they'll find in their Christmas stockings.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.