No, America, President Obama didn’t impose a 15-cent tax on Christmas trees because he “Hates Christians,” or because he’s keen to launch another front in the War on Christmas. Christmas tree growers had the plan all along.
Remember those “Got Milk?” and “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” ads? Well, Christmas tree farmers and retailers thought those are pretty nifty. Plus, with more and more people buying artificial trees instead of the natural ones, they wanted to protect their brand. So three years ago — before Obama took office — a group of them started studying the pluses and minuses of starting a so-called “checkoff promotion and research program” of their very own.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with Obama, it’s not a tax,” National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Rick Dungey told TPM. “I’m slowly but surely narrowing down who the culprits are who put out that sinister little statement for whatever reasons there were.”
“Growers have been working on this for three and a half years,” Dungey added. “It’s just sort of interesting timing, and unfortunately somebody decided to smear it. It’s growers pooling their money to promote the crop that they grow on their farms.”
According to a statement issued by the group, there are at least 18 programs already in effect for other agricultural commodities under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996.
“This program was requested by the industry in 2009 and has gone through two industrywide comment periods during which 565 comments were submitted from interested parties,” the National Christmas Tree Association said in a statement, adding that nearly 90 percent of the state and multi-state associations who commented on the program supported it.
“The program is designed to benefit the industry and will be funded by the growers at a rate of 15 cents per tree sold,” the release states. “The program is not expected to have any impact on the final price consumers pay for their Christmas tree.”
But some conservatives aren’t letting the facts get in the way of an awesome headline.
“Just because the Obama Administration has the legal power to impose its Christmas Tree Tax doesn’t mean it should do so,” argues former Bush administration official David Addington. “The economy is barely growing and nine percent of the American people have no jobs. Is a new tax on Christmas trees the best President Obama can do?”