While the bodies pile up in many large Democrat-controlled cities across the nation, an academic is conjuring up visions of sugarplums and new taxes on the Left’s favorite boogeymen—guns and gun owners.
According a bio at US News, “John Stoehr is a lecturer in political science at Yale, a business columnist for Hearst Newspapers, an essayist for the New Haven Register and a U.S. News & World Report contributing editor.” Sounds impressive, and on many subjects Mr. Stoehr is probably pretty great.
But in his op-ed for the Connecticut Post’s online site, he displays a stunning arrogance about taxation and what constitutes infringement on the Second Amendment. Stoehr offers three points to support his argument for taxing guns—the need to raise revenue for Connecticut, that a tax on guns would have zero impact on gun sales, and that no one cares about guns anymore because President Trump is in office, so consequently it’s a “no brainer.”
“Dear Peasant: We are mismanaging the money that we currently take from you.”Whenever you hear a Democrat or his surrogate start a discussion on any subject with the words, “We need to raise revenue,” hear this instead: “Dear Peasant: We are mismanaging the money that we currently take from you. We require more funds to waste. We do not wish you to think on this, just vote to allocate us more funds. Do it for the children.”
Stoehr should explain why Connecticut finds itself in such dire financial straits to require taxing one tool more than others—such as say knives. Instead, he pivots to a covetous description of a taxpaying private business that is, in his opinion, doing a little too much business. Stoehr points out that gun manufacturer Sturm Ruger’s sales were up 21 percent before the 2016 election, and have since dropped 20 percent.
Now that sales have stabilized, he’s making assumptions about the reasons why as well as demonizing the NRA: “So with guns sales down, a Republican in charge, and the NRA trying to figure out what to do with itself now that it no longer had its favorite boogie man in the White House, time for a gun tax.” Does this line of thinking make any sense to you? It’s almost as if Stoehr seeks to punish Ruger and other gun sellers for providing a well-loved, high-quality product. He proposes to use their success as a tool to galvanize voter support for a gun tax. He mentions the NRA as a dog whistle, assuming that gun owners are lost without someone to drive gun purchases.
This is ridiculous. Taxation for the sake of taxation is a limp argument. To add insult to injury, Stoehr completes the fallacious proposition by making an appeal to legitimacy: “Taxation is entirely legitimate. The government has the right. It is not an infringement on the Second Amendment.”
But isn’t it? At no point in his column does he consider the effect that taxation will have on the purchasers of firearms. Taxation has a chilling effect on commerce. The more tax that is levied, the lower the revenue collected.
Obviously, the state has a spending problem. Isn’t it interesting that Stoehr didn’t see the need to write about that?But back to Connecticut’s finances: According to Ballotpedia, in fiscal year 2015 Connecticut’s debt was $35.4 billion. That means that each citizen’s portion of the debt was $9,862, placing Connecticut in second place for per capita debt, and eighth place when compared with all other states. Ballotpedia notes, “The total state debt owned by the 50 states was $1.15 trillion with a per capita debt of $3,582.”
Obviously, the state has a spending problem. Isn’t it interesting that Stoehr didn’t see the need to write about that?
According to Travis H. Brown, the author of “How Money Walks, How $2 Trillion Moved Between the States, and Why It Matters,” Connecticut comes in at number 10 for loss of adjusted gross income over the period studied, 1995-2010. Connecticut is one of the top 10 states in the country for state-local tax burdens.
According to Brown, “The states with the lowest overall per capita state tax burdens saw great gains in AGI ($69.9 billion), while the states with the highest per capita tax burdens saw stunning losses ($139 billion).”
In truth, taxing guns isn’t going to draw Americans into the state of Connecticut, either. Connecticut’s gun owners already refused to participate in an ill-conceived scheme to force registration of AR-15’s owned in the state. I can, however, agree with Stoehr on one statement made in his article: His idea is going nowhere as the Connecticut state legislature can’t even get a budget going.
Instead of rooting around for ways to drive even more residents, including gun owners, from the state of Connecticut, energies would be better placed on lowering spending and taxes.
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis. She loves God and guns, and is a member of the NRA, obviously.