Monday, September 27, 2010

Indians Bite Off the Hand That Feeds them

As the NY Post is reporting the Indians in NY State, bellyaching about the effort to enforce the cigarette tax law, are crying all the way to the welfare bank: "Bargain-priced butts, cheap gas and gambling casinos get all the attention, but life on an Indian reservation includes other lifestyle elements that are as foreign as the Wild West to most New Yorkers. Step onto an Indian reservation and you're leaving the United States and entering a sovereign nation that includes free health care, a tribal justice system with its own courts, jails and police -- and even separate license plates and passports."

Not to mention that they're exempt from NY State sales tax as well. And are you worried about the cost of ObamaCare? Not if you're an Indian: "Native Americans who live on reservations are also entitled to free health care from the federal government, thanks to treaties their forefather's signed with the United States shortly after the Revolutionary War. The nation's courts have repeatedly found those treaties included an obligation by the federal government to provide health care."

Now no one is saying that the history of Native Americans in this country is any kind of bed of roses-but, that being said, it's over a hundred and fifty years, and if we can elect our first African American president we can certainly integrate Native Americans into the larger society. That would mean, however, eliminating the anachronistic relationships created by outdated treaties-and foster a dependency on the one hand, and an unfair advantage on the other.

But there are many who gain from this unfair advantage-and the thriving buttleging business, when coupled with gas sales on the reservations, is making a lot of Individual Indians rich (and others who may be Indians in Name Only). Here's how this privilege looks: "New York has seven federally recognized tribes -- including the upstate Seneca Nation, which is suing to stop the state from slapping a $4.35-a-pack tax on cigarettes sold to non-Indian smokers. "It's not the cigarettes. It's the symbol that this is yet again another effort to exterminate us and put us on our backs economically," said Robert Odawi Porter, a lawyer and member of the Seneca Nation. "We've been fighting with the colonists for years -- beaver pelts, gravel, salt, land and now the cigarettes."

Oh, good grief! Beaver pelts? When's the last time you heard this being brought up in a political debate? Seriously, when the exploiters talk the language of victimization you know the world is upside down-and when we hear, "extermination," as folks are operating an illegal business enterprise worth hundreds of millions of dollars, we are dumbstruck by the hubris. If anyone should be talking about extermination, it is the thousands of small retailers-and their tobacco suppliers-who have literally been smoked out by this tax scamming Indian rip-off.

And just to add a bit of perspective on all this, the Post has another news story right below the Indian saga-and it deals with the travail of small business in the age of ObamaCare: "Hundreds of struggling small-business owners have appealed to state regulators, demanding a rollback of double-digit health-insurance premium hikes that they're calling "criminal," The Post has learned...Defending the hikes, Leslie Moran of the New York Health Plan Association said that aside from medical inflation, Gov. Paterson and the Legislature raised health-care taxes last year, and federal health-care reform has added costly new benefits, starting immediately."

Not something the Seneca scammers have to be concerned with, as they have their cake and eat it under a treaty system that has long outlived both its equity and its usefulness. But maybe Jim Calvin and NYACS, along with the Bodega Association and the Newsstand Dealers, can declare war on the United States; after all, it pays to lose a war to Uncle Sam-just ask the Senecas.