When I saw the headline, I assumed it was from the Onion News Network.
President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees . . . the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace . . . [including] efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).
Holiday trees, presumably, are not being similarly taxed.
Come one. This is adorable. Everyone who buys Christmas Trees — because they love them — will be spending an additional fifteen cents to help people understand why they should love Christmas Trees, or better-appreciate the Christmas Trees they are purchasing.
See, this is where Governor Walker made his mistake: If you want to call ’em Christmas Trees, you have to tax them, first. Then you’re allowed.
UPDATE: Over at Facebook my friend Thomas L. McDonald, who is a dandy writer, wondered puckishly:
Doesn’t this amount to a tax on religious speech? Other questions: will there be a menorah tax? A halal tax? A tax for whatever it is pagans use to do whatever it is they do?
Hmmmm, quite the conundrum, there, since they have in fact called referred to these trees as “Christmas” trees. Perhaps the administration should have called them “Holiday” trees, after all, in order to avoid any and all suggestions that they were unduly taxing religious speech. Then again, “Holiday” does mean “Holy Day,” in which case, the thing might be unavoidable. Perhaps then, they should have referred to taxing “trees used for celebratory purposes on or around December 25.”
UPDATE II: Ed Morrissey says Satire is dead. And so are “live” Christmas trees.
I just thought we were supposed to not use live trees because you know, the environment and global warming.
UPDATE III: Ann Althouse gets serious and makes distinctions involving commerce:
In Wisconsin, we’ve got a tree in the state capitol, the government’s own display. Calling that particular tree a “Christmas tree” adds something to what already is the appearance that the state is endorsing or favoring a holiday that originated with one set of religious groups, the Christians.
In the case of the Department of Agriculture’s new Christmas Tree Promotion Board, the government is involving itself with a particular crop and using the name of the crop that is used by those who are in the business of growing that crop. That is, the Department of Agriculture is going about its usual business . . . and not giving special hands-off treatment to this crop that happens to have an end-use in activities that have some connection to a particular religion.
UPDATE IV: And just like that it’s Ixnay on the Axtay. Whatever delayed means.