The Obama administration has backed away from a proposed fee on Christmas trees, after critics called the measure a Christmas tax and Obama the Grinch who stole Christmas.
The White House denied claims that this was a tax on Christmas. The measure, set to go in effect last week, was touted as a 15 Cents per tree self-imposed assessment among producers and importers of fresh Christmas trees.
Supporters say that the industry assessment was meant to raise money for advertising campaigns to support natural Christmas tree producers, which have fallen behind in sales in recent years to artificial tree producers. In this regard, it would be no different from the "Got Milk" campaign for the dairy industry or the "Beef, it's what's for dinner" campaign for beef producers.
Nonetheless, the public shaming from the incident has resulted in retreat for supporters of the measure. The White House says that the USDA has pulled the measure to be "revisited" at a later time (maybe a less conspicuous time of year--like Arbor Day?).
Christmas Tree, How Will O Tax Thee?
This story would be laughable, if it wasn't so damned scary. What are the chances that this "assessment" does not trickle down to the consumer? Once again, the powers that be have attempted to curtail our behavior through the power of the tax. This feel-good measure is supposed to promote U.S. jobs, maybe, under the ruse that plastic trees come mainly from China? (I received this message when I tried to check the stats for this hypothesis online-"Thank you for visiting Made-in-China.com! Your access to Made-in-China.com has been temporarily denied."). Maybe, our fiendish enjoyment of plastic trees is somehow worse for the environment than, say, cutting down fresh trees? Idunno...
Anyway, I am opening the electronic lines for your free suggestions for the struggling fresh tree industry's new slogan. Best slogan gets $100 off their 2012 tax return preparation. Good luck! P.S. "Got Wood?" and "Don't Tax Me Bro" are already taken.