Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Obama Taxes Christmas Trees

The Obama Administration's U.S. Department of Agriculture is imposing a $.15 tax on each Christmas tree to fund Christmas tree promotion and marketing because, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Task Force:


"[Money for] a national research and promotion program for Christmas trees would help the industry to address the many market problems it currently faces.  

According to the Task Force, two main factors currently affecting Christmas tree sales, both in the domestic market and abroad, are increased competition and changing consumer habits.


According to additional data supplied by the Task Force, the market share of fresh Christmas trees in the U.S. from 1965 to 2008 has declined by 6 percent.  

In comparison, the market share of artificial trees has increased 655 percent from 1965 to 2008.
According to the proponent data, sales of fresh cut Christmas trees decreased by 15 million trees from 37 million trees sold in 1991 down to 22 million trees sold in 2002.  

The industry saw an increase in sales in 2003 through 2007 when the industry conducted a voluntary marketing campaign which was lead by a small group of producers and retailers. 

This voluntary marketing campaign saw sales rebound by 9 million trees—from 22 million trees sold in 2002 to 31 million trees sold in 2007. Even with the strong sales response to the marketing efforts, the voluntary marketing program suffered from a lack of funding."

The time spans cited to justify the tax are complete nonsense.  

First, 1991 to 2002 is an entire decade and 2002 was still hurting from an economy battered by the September 11, 2001 attacks.  

Meanwhile, using the time span of 2003 through 2007 to imply that a small marketing campaign had helped Christmas tree sales recover is disingenuous.  

Anyone can take just about any industry during the 2003-2007 period to show an increase in sales because the economy was overheated due to the housing bubble.


The tax would be imposed on domestic or imported shipments of 500 or more Christmas trees, so smaller operations would not have to pay the 15 cent tax per tree.