H.R. 4439 has been the talk of the pipe smoking town for the last week. It has a lot of people up in arms, and rightfully so (to some extent). Just when we thought that nothing more could happen and the government couldn’t be anymore oppressive, this happens. Now, I’m not going to drone on and on about the politics here, quite honestly there is no point in talking about the politics. I do think however that we all need to take a step back and breathe.
Do I think that we shouldn’t be concerned… no, I think by all means we need to be aware and most importantly pro-active. That’s why before I get any farther I want to post this link, Petition Against H.R. 4439. The folks over at Pipes Magazine.com got this petition started and it’s a great way to speak out against this new tax. It’s also a great petition, it sends emails off to your individual congressman based on your zip code… kinda cool.
Anyway, the whole point of this article is to simply remind everyone not to get to caught up in the “hype” aspect of this. What I mean to say (and not to get to technical) but this is just in the early stages, and might not even make it anywhere near becoming a law. Again… be proactive, sign the petition and take steps individually, complacency is the worst thing we can do. However; this was just introduced into committee. There is a very good chance it will never make it out of committee. I’m not going to bore everyone or waste their time explaining the process, so I will simply link to it here. For those that have been out of high school for a decade or more, you might want to brush up on your Government 101 a little. The process can be found here, “How a Bill becomes a Law”.
I’m not trying to downplay the danger here, it is obvious that our hobby is being attacked. It is also most certainly up to us to make sure that it doesn’t happen, but it is also important to keep a clear head and stay in this for the long haul. The attention that our community is giving this issue is phenomenal, but what happens if it passes through committee and it becomes a SERIOUS problem for us. Will it be forgotten by then? Are we all getting caught up in the immediate hype? I think that we all need to avoid jumping into action only when an issue like this arises, but stay ever vigilant. Keep in touch with your congressman, write them, email them and let them know that this issue concerns you and that you are a taxpayer and a voter. If we all spent as much time, energy and money protecting our hobby as we do building our cellars and collections, we would be much better off.
Hysteria dies, vigilance persists.