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James Savarese
economists networks
cash-for-comments — academic economists


A Philip Randolph Institute

— A union-labor oriented policy institute which had considerable dealings with the tobacco industry. —

The A Philip Randolph Institute appears to have been brought into the tobacco industry's circle of friends by the efforts of a group of economists, led by James Savarese (of both Ogilvy & Mather, and later James Savarese & Associates).

The line that proved to be most convincing with the labor unions, was the claim made by compliant economists that cigarette excise taxes were retrogressive (had a greater impact on the poor, rather than the rich) and therefore any increase constituted a form of attack on the working class.

See the economists network and the activities of the cash-for-comments academic economists. These were mainly 'Public Choice' (neo-con) academics at major universities in each State, who were paid to promote the "retrogressive cigarette taxes" line.

Like many economic ideas, this concept has some superficial attraction to the economicly unsophisticated ... but it doesn't stand up to analysis in any depth. The retrogressive cigarette tax concept completely ignores the fact that, in most cases, such taxes supplemented the health and welfare funds available to the States and to the Federal Government.

Higher cigarette taxes also stop more young people from becoming addicted, and cause cash-limited smokers to cut back, or even to stop smoking. The improvement in health, better welfare services, and the reduction in day-to-day living costs, are far more significant to the finances of working class families than they are to the wealthy.

So, far from being retrogressive, such taxes were highly supportive of the lower paid workers and the minorities.

However the tobacco industry very cleverly played up the idea that cigarette tax increases were a deliberate and direct attack by a callous-government on the down-trodden labor-force, and on Afro-Americans and Hispanics.

1989: Tobacco Institute: Susan Stuntz "The Plan" for countering public-smoking ban hearings. She writes under "Action Neeeded":

To place the ETS issue in the broader context of indoor air quality.

Gray Robertson, ACVA Atlantic, Inc. is ready and willing. He should be a part of continued private briefings with Congressional staff.

Frank Powell, Director of Engineering for the National Energy Management Institute, is available to brief Congressional staff and members on ventilation standards and indoor air quality issues. He also is available to testify at hearings as appropriate. Briefings and testimony may include use of two videos on indoor air quality, one featuring Sheet Metal Workers union president Ed Carlough; one produced by the Service Employees International Union.

[Both videos produced with tobacco industry money under Tobacco Institute control.]

Also representives from the AFL-CIO and other unions and:
Representatives from several liberal/labor groups have been briefed on this issue and are willing to write letters, sponsor briefings with members of Congress and, if appropriate, to testify. These include:
  • New Populist Forum
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
  • A. Philip Randolph Institute

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