I got a lot of pushback, mainly from Rand Paul fanboys, to my suggestion that the Kentucky senator’s blaming Eric Garner’s death on cigarette taxes was tin-eared, to say the least. The complaints, on Twitter and (surprisingly) in a lot of personal email, took two forms: 1) I’m a nanny state liberal who doesn’t care about the wanton abuse of state power to not only impose taxes but then aggressively police their enforcement. And 2) I’m terrified that Rand Paul can beat Hillary Clinton, especially because he’s better than she is when it comes to issues of our expanding police state.
On the first point: I support high cigarette taxes, because cigarettes kill people and impose vast costs on society. I regret that those taxes fall heavily on the poor, and I support community programs to help people stop smoking and improve their health. But on the issue of enforcement, cigarette taxes are just one of many, many “laws” that are over-enforced or arbitrarily enforced in poor communities, in order to give the police greater control over the population.Read More.Source: Salon/Joan Walsh