Although Bush is against it, an overwhelming majority of 17 to 4, of the US Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to expand child healthcare using a large increase in tobacco tax.The new bill would entitle another 3.2 million children in low income families to receive state funded health insurance. These families can’t afford medical insurance but don’t qualify for Medicaid because their earnings are just above the cut off point.
President Bush has said a number of times he is against the bill because the tobacco companies are among the largest contributers to Republican causes. “Also”, said the President,
” I have consulted with scientists employed by Philip Morris, Lorillard, and R.J. Reynolds; scientists who know much more about tobacco than my incompetent scientists at the Department of Health who contribute nothing to getting tobacco-friendly congressmen elected. The tobacco scientists say that there is no proof that smoking causes cancer. In fact, Dr. David Saber, chief chemist of R.J.Reynolds, says that tests at his lab prove that smoking contributes to a healthy heart and in coating the lungs with tar, prevents cancer.”
Satisfied that the President will veto the tobacco tax, Cigarette company executives are making plans for the future. Jim Fiske speaking on behalf of Philip Morris, says, “In view of discontinuing the unhealthy sugar and fat loaded junk food advertising on kids’ TV programs, we have negotiated with the Disney company to use their characters to promote tobacco use on the Saturday kid programs. Our new brand, ‘ Harry Potter Smokeys’ will feature him on the attractive package, which will also display, ‘WARNING, STOPPING SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH.’ “
Mark Sanford (R) governor of South Carolina, the major tobacco-producing state, hailed the new findings of the safety and beneficial effects of smoking. ” I have approved the installation of cigarette dispensing machines in all of our public schools. Smoking will be allowed in classrooms, and children below the poverty level will be issued a free cigarette with their subsidized breakfast.”
Many nervous southern tobacco farmers who were fearful of increased tobacco taxes, and who considered growing corn for enthanol instead of tobacco breathed a sigh of relief. ” We won’t have to retrain our Mexican field hands to pick corn at three dollars an hour instead of their present two dollars and fifty cents an hour gathering tobacco leaves.” said Carolina farmer Bubba DeWayne.