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$10 a Pack For Smokes (Page 2)
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Mar 11, 2013, 10:30 PM
 
Australia here. I quit smoking about 17-18 years ago when the price of a pack of 25s went up 70¢ overnight (to $6.70). Quit by outraged cold turkey.

Out of curiosity, a couple of weeks ago I asked my newsagent how much my old brand cost per packet. AU $18.70. (US $19.26).

They don't want poor looking cool.

US $10 a packet? Suck it up, subego.
     
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Mar 12, 2013, 04:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Is that supposed to be a dig?
No. Allow me to to be concise. I was wrong.


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
My point isn't that hard to figure out - I apologize if you take issue with me for picking on CA as an example, but excessive sin taxes as a feel-good measure, or worse outright bans on public roads and sidewalks, serve no purpose other then lining the pockets of the lobby for insert cause here while throwing those who partake in that activity (mainly in this case lower income individuals) in an even tougher spot.
Which is why I countered that cigarette taxes are less than rare. All 50 states have them. Such notable states as Florida, Texas, PA, and Maryland have higher taxes than California.


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
California's problems cannot be attributed solely to this issue but the general ideology of their ruling class can.
Interesting viewpoint, as one of California's faults is it's much more of a direct democracy, rather than representative.


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Who's paying for CA's problems now? The taxpayer. It's great that they just started on the path to a solvent future but they are by no means there now, today.
Who voted for to create those problems? The tax payer- Literally. Jetty Brown couldn't have raised taxes without them passing the referendum.


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
In case you missed it the first time, here it is again:
Ok, well then I think you're reasoning is flawed, for what I stated above. Smoking isn't a partisan issue, and sin taxes exist in every state, and there's some type of ban on smoking in 40 of 50 states. You're interpreting wrong.
     
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Mar 15, 2013, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
No. Allow me to to be concise. I was wrong.
Apologies.

Which is why I countered that cigarette taxes are less than rare. All 50 states have them. Such notable states as Florida, Texas, PA, and Maryland have higher taxes than California.
Fair enough.

Interesting viewpoint, as one of California's faults is it's much more of a direct democracy, rather than representative.
Worth noting.

Who voted for to create those problems? The tax payer- Literally. Jetty Brown couldn't have raised taxes without them passing the referendum.
This is true. But that doesn't vindicate the mismanagement of CA's fiscal health up to that point. Who else was going to bail CA out? Sounds to me like the CA residents made the right decision in a bad situation. They wouldn't have had to raise taxes without the years of fiscal abuse that put them in that spot.

Ok, well then I think you're reasoning is flawed, for what I stated above. Smoking isn't a partisan issue, and sin taxes exist in every state, and there's some type of ban on smoking in 40 of 50 states. You're interpreting wrong.
I'm not sure you can cite nationwide sin taxes against my statement. I would say that those taxes are more of the ruling class seeing another revenue stream then making some sort of cultural or social statement.

How about speed cameras? Several studies have called into question their effectiveness in reducing accidents yet MD puts em up anyways....later to take them down in areas where they don't turn a profit.
     
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Mar 18, 2013, 02:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
This is true. But that doesn't vindicate the mismanagement of CA's fiscal health up to that point. Who else was going to bail CA out? Sounds to me like the CA residents made the right decision in a bad situation. They wouldn't have had to raise taxes without the years of fiscal abuse that put them in that spot.
Again, the blame likely goes to residents. From my understanding they spent years (decades?) approving increased funding or more programs without raising revenue to properly fund them.

Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I'm not sure you can cite nationwide sin taxes against my statement. I would say that those taxes are more of the ruling class seeing another revenue stream then making some sort of cultural or social statement.
It may be a case of the right thing for the wrong reasons, but I think the majority of people are still for them (Cases of massive excess notwithstanding).


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
How about speed cameras? Several studies have called into question their effectiveness in reducing accidents yet MD puts em up anyways....later to take them down in areas where they don't turn a profit.
Well, it's an interesting subject.

Pros:
• They are catching people breaking the law
• moving it to where its most cost-effective
• likely supplementing funding for their dept that would otherwise be raised through taxes.

Cons:
• Most people see speeding as a minor offense (even though it contributes to auto fatalities)
• the cameras should be used in high-risk areas to make traffic safer, not to make money
• who knows where the extra revenue really goes

I mean, I can see some room for objection, but on principle its hard for me not to be a hypocrite in opposing them.
     
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Mar 18, 2013, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Again, the blame likely goes to residents. From my understanding they spent years (decades?) approving increased funding or more programs without raising revenue to properly fund them.
So Cali has just been devoid of competent leadership in that time?
It may be a case of the right thing for the wrong reasons, but I think the majority of people are still for them (Cases of massive excess notwithstanding).
Agreed.

Well, it's an interesting subject.


Pros:
• They are catching people breaking the law
But not charging them with criminal offenses to avoid due process and still get their money. They are not, technically, catching anyone breaking the law. They are taking a photo of a car then extorting the owner of that vehicle to pay up or point a finger.
• moving it to where its most cost-effective
• likely supplementing funding for their dept that would otherwise be raised through taxes.
Taxes that would get them booted from office should they be constitutionally obtained. It's also a highly regressive tax, so I'd put this one in the Con section.
Cons:
• Most people see speeding as a minor offense (even though it contributes to auto fatalities)
• the cameras should be used in high-risk areas to make traffic safer, not to make money
But in these areas, speed humps which are virtually costless and highly effective are being neglected for the cameras. Also, in MD, it is only legal to put up speed cameras in school zones....Solution? School zones that are no where near schools, defeating the purpose of having school zones.
• who knows where the extra revenue really goes
Lines the pockets of the businesses who run the speed cameras. Crony capitalism at its finest.
I mean, I can see some room for objection, but on principle its hard for me not to be a hypocrite in opposing them.
I would not object as highly if they were criminal tickets afforded due process in traffic court. They are not. It's essentially the MVA extorting you for not paying an invoice they sent you "just because they can." At least, that's the legal justification for it.
     
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Mar 18, 2013, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
So Cali has just been devoid of competent leadership in that time?
Leadership can only do so much. Jerry Brown pleaded for a tax raise to fix their deficit and it still only passed at 54%.

Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
But not charging them with criminal offenses to avoid due process and still get their money. They are not, technically, catching anyone breaking the law. They are taking a photo of a car then extorting the owner of that vehicle to pay up or point a finger.
You're going to have to explain this to me, as maybe I'm getting confused because of wording issues. Is speeding not against the law? Is speeding supposed to be a criminal offense? What's the difference between being fined for speeding by a camera and a police officer?
     
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Mar 19, 2013, 12:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Leadership can only do so much. Jerry Brown pleaded for a tax raise to fix their deficit and it still only passed at 54%.
My point is, and I'm not indicting Governor Brown, that Cali's troubles were caused by the funding of these programs that never should have gotten out of control to necessitate a tax hike in the first place. A responsible government does not throw away it's constituents' futures. The programs should have never been up for a vote anyways. But that's just me. We'll have to agree to disagree here.
You're going to have to explain this to me, as maybe I'm getting confused because of wording issues. Is speeding not against the law? Is speeding supposed to be a criminal offense? What's the difference between being fined for speeding by a camera and a police officer?
When a police officer pulls you over and gives you a ticket, it is a criminal citation to be prosecuted under a court of law under a criminal statute.

When a speed camera takes a picture of your car, it is not a criminal offense because they cannot prove you were driving, your speed, anything. You have no right to a trial.

It is a civil citation issued by the MVA (with no criminal consequence). If you want to fight it, you are not fighting it in a court of law. You are going to an MVA hearing and they are deciding your guilt not based on criminal standards, but instead on well pretty much anything they want. Because driving is not a right and the MVA retains exclusive rights to prevent you from driving, you have no recourse except to sue (and who would do that over a $40 ticket?). If you don't pay, nothing happens to you except the MVA will slap you with more fines and prevent you from registering your car, or depending on the local jurisdiction they may boot/tow you. It has the same legal binding as an invoice from a company - a company that can deny you a license and/or registration if you piss them off.

They do not need to prove you were speeding, only that a car registered in your name was and not to a criminal standard, but to one they've arbitrarily set. If someone else was driving, in order to get out of the fine, you have to provide their name, address, and driver's license number. You are guilty until proven innocent.

The extra money: Anything 10% over the operating cost of the automated systems goes to the general fund of the jurisdiction which operates the cameras. Despite the promise of the Maryland state government to the contrary, most jurisdictions are operating on a per-ticket bounty system, where they will reduce the yellow light in instances of red-light cameras to get more tickets and narrow the camera view on speed cameras. They narrow the view because in multi-lane situations, the cars to either side of you could be what the radar is reading while your license is getting snagged. If another car is in the picture they will lose in a real court on the ticket.

Police officers and/or MVA officials have no requirement to review any of the tickets, and in many cases it's a representative of the company operating the camera. They are pushed to issue the max amount of tickets and have no incentive for fairness, and because there is no criminal offense there is no judicial oversight.

Here's the government FAQ on it, you can see how they word their answers to avoid calling a spade a spade.

Frequently Asked Questions by Office or Topic
post blog on a blatant failure that was signed off on anyways.
Speed camera nabs car stopped at light - Rosenwald, Md. - The Washington Post

This article cites Xerox, a major player in this market, to admitting a %5.2 error rate after weeding out erroneous tickets. 5.2% of people paying for tickets with almost zero recourse except to lawyer up and sue over $40 dollars, or convince a "judge" that the MVA could be held liable in a real court should they ticket you anyways.

It's extortion, and completely unnecessary. Speed control studies have repeatedly shown much more effective methods that don't raise the incidence of accidents.

This is a UK study, but it's a stark indictment of ASE technology vs convential policing methods. The study was large in scope but you won't find any government agencies in the states willing to fund a study such as this. No $$$ to be made there.
UK Study: Speed Cameras Increase Injury Accidents
Speed Cameras Increase Freeway Accidents 31-55% | Techdirt


Apologize for not finding more primary sources, but the links I provided do have a lot of primary sources from reputable sources if you so choose to explore it further.
     
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Mar 19, 2013, 11:15 AM
 
All taxes carry with them a degree of social engineering. We, usually, don't kick up too much of a fuss about this because there's an unspoken agreement that what's good for the individual, i.e. total freedom do to as s/he wishes, is not necessarily good for the collective.

Good reading on this: Frank, R.H.: The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good.

This concludes my annual post in the pol/war lounge.
     
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Mar 19, 2013, 03:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
My point is, and I'm not indicting Governor Brown, that Cali's troubles were caused by the funding of these programs that never should have gotten out of control to necessitate a tax hike in the first place. A responsible government does not throw away it's constituents' futures. The programs should have never been up for a vote anyways. But that's just me. We'll have to agree to disagree here.
What are we disagreeing on? That the citizens deserve more blame than most states because of their direct democracy?


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
When a police officer pulls you over and gives you a ticket, it is a criminal citation to be prosecuted under a court of law under a criminal statute.

When a speed camera takes a picture of your car, it is not a criminal offense because they cannot prove you were driving, your speed, anything. You have no right to a trial.

It is a civil citation issued by the MVA (with no criminal consequence). If you want to fight it, you are not fighting it in a court of law. You are going to an MVA hearing and they are deciding your guilt not based on criminal standards, but instead on well pretty much anything they want. Because driving is not a right and the MVA retains exclusive rights to prevent you from driving, you have no recourse except to sue (and who would do that over a $40 ticket?). If you don't pay, nothing happens to you except the MVA will slap you with more fines and prevent you from registering your car, or depending on the local jurisdiction they may boot/tow you. It has the same legal binding as an invoice from a company - a company that can deny you a license and/or registration if you piss them off.

They do not need to prove you were speeding, only that a car registered in your name was and not to a criminal standard, but to one they've arbitrarily set. If someone else was driving, in order to get out of the fine, you have to provide their name, address, and driver's license number. You are guilty until proven innocent.

The extra money: Anything 10% over the operating cost of the automated systems goes to the general fund of the jurisdiction which operates the cameras. Despite the promise of the Maryland state government to the contrary, most jurisdictions are operating on a per-ticket bounty system, where they will reduce the yellow light in instances of red-light cameras to get more tickets and narrow the camera view on speed cameras. They narrow the view because in multi-lane situations, the cars to either side of you could be what the radar is reading while your license is getting snagged. If another car is in the picture they will lose in a real court on the ticket.

Police officers and/or MVA officials have no requirement to review any of the tickets, and in many cases it's a representative of the company operating the camera. They are pushed to issue the max amount of tickets and have no incentive for fairness, and because there is no criminal offense there is no judicial oversight.

Here's the government FAQ on it, you can see how they word their answers to avoid calling a spade a spade.

Frequently Asked Questions by Office or Topic
post blog on a blatant failure that was signed off on anyways.
Speed camera nabs car stopped at light - Rosenwald, Md. - The Washington Post

This article cites Xerox, a major player in this market, to admitting a %5.2 error rate after weeding out erroneous tickets. 5.2% of people paying for tickets with almost zero recourse except to lawyer up and sue over $40 dollars, or convince a "judge" that the MVA could be held liable in a real court should they ticket you anyways.

It's extortion, and completely unnecessary. Speed control studies have repeatedly shown much more effective methods that don't raise the incidence of accidents.

This is a UK study, but it's a stark indictment of ASE technology vs convential policing methods. The study was large in scope but you won't find any government agencies in the states willing to fund a study such as this. No $$$ to be made there.
UK Study: Speed Cameras Increase Injury Accidents
Speed Cameras Increase Freeway Accidents 31-55% | Techdirt


Apologize for not finding more primary sources, but the links I provided do have a lot of primary sources from reputable sources if you so choose to explore it further.
Did I stumble into a pet peeve of yours?
Edit: Well, not stumble, but get hooked into...

I'm finding with the side of science on this, though I didn't see a reason listed for why accidents go up when cameras are around. Same kind of bias having a cop behind you causes?
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 20, 2013, 05:55 AM
 
The stoplight ones flash with the brilliance of a thousand suns.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 06:04 AM
 
I had a speed camera case last year (33 in a 25), my lawyer and I showed for the hearing but no one from the camera company (it was a 3rd party system) bothered to come. So the whole thing was thrown out and my record was expunged.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 20, 2013, 06:13 AM
 
I've always been able to get out of a ticket if I actually go and fight it.

I usually don't take my lawyer with me either, Gonzo.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 02:26 PM
 
I'd never been to one for speed cameras and he hadn't either, we were both curious.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 20, 2013, 02:37 PM
 
And it's bat country.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 05:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
What are we disagreeing on? That the citizens deserve more blame than most states because of their direct democracy?
Yes. I don't put this on the citizens. There are many manipulated by the ruling class's unfilled campaign promises that ultimately hurt everyone to the benefit of the ruling class.

I believe in democracy in the form of constitutional republic, and referendum for very few issues.


Did I stumble into a pet peeve of yours?
Edit: Well, not stumble, but get hooked into...
Yes. Though I brought it up originally...

It's an example of rampant government crony capitalism - preying on the citizenry under the guise of safety."THINK OF THE CHILDREN." It's a regressive tax that targets you and I, while doing nothing for the community.

I feel much better seeing a cop around the elementary school near my house. I never blast down that road and hence never get a ticket, but then again my area is blessed with a good police force (anne arundel CO eastern).


I'm finding with the side of science on this, though I didn't see a reason listed for why accidents go up when cameras are around. Same kind of bias having a cop behind you causes?
Generally, it's because of a few factors.

A) In the case of red light cameras, studies found that on average red lights with camera's have 1-2 second shorter yellow lights to increase the number of tickets given. (Don't have a source on this study - pulled it from UMD's library while in school there for a sociology paper I wrote. It's behind a paywall).
B) In areas with speed cameras, many will jam their brakes and/or stop paying attention to their surroundings to avoid a ticket. Anecdotally, I've experienced this first hand many times in Bethesda and DC. Annapolis put them up on the 1st, but aren't issuing "tickets" yet.
C)The ticket camera operator gets input on traffic flow around the camera - they set up these areas as traps with little regard to safety. Granted the government makes the final decision, but they both profit from these tickets.

Yellow Light Timing Myths | Red Light Cameras - secondary source containing excerpts from studies exemplifying what happens with yellow-light duration tinkering.


I am much in favor of police manually issuing speeding tickets. There's no violations of due process, the police get a chance to interface with the community, Exigent circumstances can be assessed on site (such as needing to cross a red light to make room for an ambulance), and if the speed trap causes/correlates to an accident emergency personnel are already on scene.
     
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Mar 20, 2013, 10:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
And it's bat country.
It was great. I was in greasy jeans and a Mothers t-shirt, if memory serves, he was wearing a $5k Italian suit (he had a client meeting beforehand). Since no one came forward for the prosecution, my lawyer asked that the charges be dismissed, and they were. Sure he would have throw it out anyway, but it was funny to see his reaction to an attorney being present.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
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Mar 21, 2013, 11:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Yes. I don't put this on the citizens. There are many manipulated by the ruling class's unfilled campaign promises that ultimately hurt everyone to the benefit of the ruling class.
I don't get it, how do you think the citizens are being manipulated? It reminds me of how your state's pop approved what you consider gerrymandered districts. When they were given the choice to disapprove and didn't the blame gets laid squarely at their feet.

Or in California's case, Prop 8. I don't see how the outcome could be manipulation from the ruling class. No, California's citizens are either bigoted or misinformed.

And really that my point here – where you claim ruling class manipulation I see public ignorance. Occam's razor and all.


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I believe in democracy in the form of constitutional republic, and referendum for very few issues.
Right, but that's neither here nor there with regards to assigning responsibility for California's decisions.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2013, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
And really that my point here – where you claim ruling class manipulation I see public ignorance. Occam's razor and all.
Never explain by conspiracy that which can be equally explained by stupidity.

- Penn Jillette
     
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Apr 7, 2013, 03:59 AM
 
I smoke and live in South Korea where the cost of a packet of cigarettes has been US $2.20 for the last eight years or so.

While this is good for my wallet, it is very bad for my lungs.

I am pretty sure that I would be far, far more motivated to quit if my habit were costing me 70 bucks a week.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 7, 2013, 11:36 AM
 
How are Korean cigarettes? Can you get Chinese cigarettes, and have you done so?

These are probably silly questions, cigs tend to have severe brand loyalty.


I am told, that at least a few decades ago (before they started paying us to buy all their shit), the Chinese didn't have the same causation with cigs and death, and had a significant population of smokers to pull from.

The theory is no chemical shit added, air cure vs. sugar cure, etc.
     
 
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