|Barack Obama Christmas Tree|
David R. Shipman, Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing, said the Sec. of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board (Christmas Tree Czars?) to administer a
"program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry." And the program of "information" is to include efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States."Or as Doug Powers put it,
"The alleged point of the fee… or tax… or levy… whatever — is to stem the growth of the artificial tree industry to promote the sale of real trees (by making them a little more expensive?)"Media Matters correctly points out that the Christmas tree lobby has been pushing to create a fresh Christmas tree marketing campaign since 2008, the final year of the Bush Administration.
USDA received a proposal for a national research and promotion program for Christmas trees from the Christmas Tree Checkoff Task Force (Task Force). The program will be financed by an assessment on Christmas trees domestic producers and importers and would be administered by a board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). The initial assessment rate will be $0.15 per Christmas tree domestically produced or imported into the United States and could be increased up to $0.20 per Christmas tree. The purpose of the program will be to strengthen the position of fresh cut Christmas trees in the marketplace and maintain and expand markets for Christmas trees within the United States.So, it could have been worse - a 20¢ tax; I feel so much better. And Media Matters cites other examples of agricultural commodity Checkoffs that
include the egg, beef, pork, mushroom, milk, and honey, etc. industries. We're all familiar with the Dairy industry's ad campaigns; "Milk Does a Body Good" and "Got Milk." "Pork: the Other White Meat," "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" and "The Incredible Edible Egg" are recognizable slogans developed and funded by Checkoff programs. These four 'big guns' collect between $45 and $91.2 million in assessments annually.Hey! Is that why the price of all those products have increased to the point of unaffordability for many millions of Americans? I used to buy a lot of eggs, beef, pork, mushrooms, milk, and honey; not so much any more. This is why I'm not an economist in government. I would have thought to increase the sale of fresh Christmas trees, one would lower the cost of the fresh trees and increase the cost of the artificial trees the fresh Christmas tree lobby is trying to destroy.
Merry Christmas from Scrooge Obama.
UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees, sources tell ABC News.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.