CEI Daily - Menthol Cigarettes, Unemployment Offices, and High-Speed Rail

Menthol Cigarettes


The FDA is considering a ban on menthol cigarettes. Some advocates of the ban claim that advertising for menthol cigarettes unfairly targets minorities, and that the ban will benefit the black community.


In the current issue of Cigar Magazine, General Counsel Sam Kazman debunks myths about menthol.


"By some accounts, black smokers, who heavily favor menthol, seem to suffer more than white smokers from smoking-related illnesses.  But other analyses show that this difference becomes insignificant once socio-economic status is taken into account.  And biomarker studies on the levels of absorbed smoking by-products find no real differences. Even if such differences in risk do exist, there would seem to be a simple regulatory fix—just change the warnings on cigarette packs and in ads to reflect the added risk.  Whether FDA has enough respect for smokers to entrust them with this knowledge is another question.




Unemployment Offices


Indiana has hired armed security officials to guard unemployment offices.


Warren Brookes Fellow Kathryn Ciano points out the sad irony of the state employing people to control the unemployed.


"What caused the job gap in the first place was an attitude of excessive regulation, overprotection, and the promise to back up private businesses no matter what they do. When in the course of human events it becomes clear that the government has failed, it is the duty of the people to demand a change. This election Tuesday the American people made perfectly clear their frustration with failed government policies. Perhaps these unemployment offices in Indiana should find a better way to counsel job seekers, rather than wrap themselves in further state protection, not blind but tangibly uninterested in what the people have to say."




High-Speed Rail


Matthew Yglesias claims that $1 trillion isn't a lot to spend on high-speed rail when you consider how much America spends on defense.


Policy Analyst Marc Scribner points out that Yglesias' argument is pretty weak.

"Yglesias doesn’t consider whether or not high-speed rail makes sense from a cost/benefit perspective. It doesn’t. Nor does he address the inconvenient truth that many of the so-called 'high-speed' rail corridors aren’t high-speed by developed-world standards. In fact, he doesn’t even make a case for high-speed rail; rather, he compares subsidies for his preferred project to defense spending. And that’s about it."