Hit the Road Jack

A Moore County, TN resident’s proposed $10 per barrel tax on the county’s main employer Jack Daniel’s Distillery is causing the whiskey maker to think about hitting the road in search of lower taxes and a friendlier business climate. 

Claiming “We are entitled to more money from the only industry in the county – Jack Daniel’s distillery,” local resident Charles Rogers proposed the tax to the Moore County Council which has voted to ask the Tennessee Assembly for enabling legislation to place the proposed tax on the ballot. Rogers feels that the whiskey maker has profited from portraying the town of Lynchburg in its iconic ads and should pay usage fees similar to those film companies pay for a location. While adding only about 3.4 cents extra cost to a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, Rogers feels that an extra nickel of taxes wouldn’t hurt the storied brand in the marketplace.

In going after Jack Daniel’s for additional tax revenue, Rogers expresses the two most common themes pushed by Democrats seeking higher taxes. Democrats feel entitled to more tax money because they view the world as belonging to the collective instead of the individual, hence their entitlement mentality when it comes to tax revenue. This entitlement mentality exists for both individuals and businesses as the Democrats feel entitled to take as much as they feel they need from the incomes of both. Democrats sell the idea of additional taxes by claiming that it only ends up being a tiny additional cost to the product that consumers won’t even notice. Gullible voters lulled into thinking that they are supporting badly needed local services buy this premise without realizing all the incremental taxes previously heaped upon the product in question.

The liquor industry is one of the most heavily taxed industries in America, with approximately sixty percent of the cost of a bottle of whiskey being taxes of one form or another. When explaining this fact, Jack Daniel’s General Manager Tommy Beam asks the obvious question of “Where does it stop?” Taxes on liquor and tobacco are marketed as sin taxes to voters who see little redeeming value in the products being taxed while failing to realize the jobs these industries support. These same voters react differently when the targeted industry produces appliances and the manufacturer announces that they will close the factory and move elsewhere if the tax increases pass. Suddenly, all voters can see is the loss of jobs.

It is this entitlement mentality exhibited by Democrats that has jeopardized the deficit reduction super committee in congress. This committee was charged to reduce federal spending by $1.2 trillion, but committee Democrats are insisting on tax increases as part of the final package in violation with the committee’s original mission. Since assuming office in 2009, the Obama Administration has added some $5 trillion to the federal debt which now stands at over $15 trillion and growing. Obama has managed by himself to increase the federal debt by 50% before completing his second year in office. This unprecedented and unsustainable growth rate in the federal debt was the impetus for creating the super committee.

American industry has been taxed and regulated to the point where they have concluded that it is no longer profitable to conduct business in the United States. They have moved operations overseas to the benefit of countries such as China, Mexico, and the Philippines. American unemployment has soared along with federal debt levels. Democrats have sought to pin the blame entirely on what they label as poorly conceived free trade agreements passed by Republicans, but savvy voters are realizing that Democrats have an insatiable appetite for revenues to feed the growing government beast supporting their union constituencies. Americans worried about layoffs and pay cuts see government employees making more money and worrying less about their future as they enjoy gold-plated benefits private sector employees can only envy.

In a bid to lure the distillery to their state, officials from Michigan have reached out to executives at Jack Daniel’s who are giving the matter serious thought. Michigan officials touted their lower tax rates and business-friendly climate while inviting JD executives to see for themselves in a visit. Moore County, TN officials are worried that this latest proposed tax increase could have JD executives thinking of hitting the road and moving their iconic distillery, along with the taxes and tourism it generates, to a more appreciative locale.

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