Paul Jacob

President Barack Obama is not a Muslim; he is not foreign-born; and he’s not taxing Christmas!

Glad we cleared that up.

The president is, however, taxing Christmas trees. Or, at least, his Department of Agriculture was . . . until the public found out about it.

That’s when Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, announced, “USDA is going to delay implementation and revisit this action.”

Now, like so many other issues, including whether to permit the Keystone XL oil pipeline to be built, a final decision will wait until after the 2012 election. It makes the election sort of a grab bag surprise. Reminiscent of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s credo for passing the health care legislation: First, re-elect Obama; then, find out what he will do.

Yet, what is there to revisit? The policy is clear enough. The U.S. Department of Agriculture hatched a plan, along with some of the tall timbers in the freshly-cut Christmas Tree biz, to impose a 15-cent fee (did someone call it a “tax”?) on every fresh-cut Christmas tree produced or imported by businesses selling or importing at least 500 trees a year, so that a new federal Christmas Tree Promotion Board could confiscate enough dough to fund an advertising campaign promoting “real” Christmas trees over artificial trees.

Some may wish to portray Obama as simply attacking Christmas. He’s not. This is, instead, a good old-fashioned Washington-style multi-faceted attack on common sense.

Not that for decades millions of Americans haven’t hungered for a federal Christmas Tree Promotion Board, mind you.

The Obama Administration balks at the term “tax,” by the way. An Agriculture Department spokesman declared the 15-cent per tree fee was decidedly “not a tax.”

“I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama administration is not taxing Christmas trees,” asserted White House spokesman Lehrich. “What's being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the 'Got Milk?' campaign.”

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.