I’m sure that many of the readers of this site commute to and within Manhattan on a daily basis. Those who do are probably at least aware, if not avid readers, of AM New York and Metro, two free daily newspapers distributed primarily to commuters within New York City. Beginning June 3rd, the New York City government purchased ads wrapping the outside of these two free papers proclaiming that the price of a pack of cigarettes is now over $8 a pack, and suggesting things that a smoker could spend his money on if he chose to quit smoking. Let’s for a minute ignore the fact that the municipal government is essentially paying for the printing of the two most widely distributed newspapers in the city (He who pays the piper picks the tune,) and focus instead on the fact that this is another example of Mayor Bloomberg trying to run our lives for us. The article states that New York City is spending $83 million dollars of taxpayer money to tell us how to spend what little money we’re allowed to keep. There is nothing inherently evil about smoking. As with most actions, there are costs and benefits to smoking. As a non-smoker, I can’t vouch for what the benefits are, but I can assure you that they do in fact exist. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people decide they would rather have their pack of cigarettes than whatever amount of money they are willing to trade for it. A pack of cigarettes does not cost $8, it costs around $4. The only reason it hovers around $8 is the taxes of about 100% on packs of cigarettes. Imagine what pack a day smokers could do with the $1500 a year they’re throwing away in taxes (My math: the ads claim that a pack a day smoker would save $3000 a year by quitting smoking, taxes make up about half of the price of cigarettes, if the taxes were repealed they would spend about half as much on cigarettes.) If the taxes were repealed, the smokers could have their cigarettes and whatever else they would spend the money on, even more cigarettes if they so desired. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, Mayor Bloomberg has not yet learned that cities are not corporations, and the objective is not to bring in as much money as possible. While a corporation brings gains to its associates when it increases cash flow, a government, be it city, state or federal, can do nothing but harm with increased tax receipts. The fact that Bloomberg sees us as wards which must be shaken down for every last cent is an affront to anyone who doesn’t think Mayor Bloomberg knows how to run their life. By not banning but instead heavily taxing cigarettes, New York City is attempting to micromanage the lives of its citizens while making it appear that they still have freedom.