Theres an old saying in politics: Dont believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.
In the case of the so-called Christmas tree tax, dont believe anything youve heard or seen.
Last week conservative bloggers and others shifted into hyperdrive to try to hang a new Christmas tree tax on President Barack Obama.
Theres only one problem: It aint so.
You could blame Obama for a number of problems but a Christmas tree tax? Not hardly. Its got nothing to do with Obama. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Tree growers sought the assessment two years ago. The proceeds will be used to market real Christmas trees against the Chinese-made phonies overflowing the shelves at big-box stores.
It should be noted that this is not something Christmas tree growers took lightly. They are on the ropes economically, as the chintzy metal-and-plastic Christmas trees from overseas continue to flood the market.
Growers asked the USDA to initiate a 15-cent-a-tree self-assessment so they could market and promote their crop. After three years, growers will vote on whether to retain the assessment.
Thats some tax, isnt it? In fact, the beef, pork and dozens of other similar checkoff programs have been around for years without so much as a whimper from the anti-tax crusaders.
When they talk about some onerous new tax they dont know what they are saying. Its that simple.
But heres the kicker. Not only was the criticism of the assessment unfounded, so was USDAs response. Instead of patiently explaining why these self-appointed crusaders were off-base, USDA suspended the assessment.
That only added credence to an argument that initially had none. What remains is a total lack of understanding about checkoffs and how important they can be to commodity groups to market their crops and underwrite research.
So, dear bloggers and other deep thinkers, take a deep breath. The Christmas tree tax really is much ado about nothing.
The only people they helped are the Chinese manufacturers cranking out fake Christmas trees and it was at the expense of American farmers.