Policy Economics Group

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Policy Economics Group was private economics consulting firm, previously known as deSeve Economics. Under both names it was available when needed by the Tobacco Institute to generate masses of figures and calculations in a report showing why the government shouldn't either limit advertising of cigarettes, or impose further excise taxes.

Both deSeve reports and Policy Economics Group reports were presented to Congress in December 1986. [2]

Documents & Timeline

1986 Dec 8 There must have been some falling out between the Tobacco Institute and Senator Packwood in the previous few months. President Ronald Reagan was desperately trying to raise some funds while giving the wealthy tax breaks, and Senator Packwood has renewed his suggestion of using excises.

The Packwood Tax Plan attempted to impose special excise taxes on tobacco, alcohol and fuel (in the oil crisis years) to reduce use, and he also wanted to make these cigarette taxes and tariffs non-deductable for federal income tax purposes.

Sam Chilcote is summing up the Tobacco Institute's activities in fighting this move. Their main tactics are:

  • A major study done for the TI by Policy Economics Group
  • Another commissioned from DeSeve Economics for the Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (CART)
    [CART was a front organisation, funded by tobacco to provide 'grassroots' cover.]
  • A paper on the "Burden of Tobacco Taxes on Selected Demographic Groups"
    [To prove that the burden fell most on those who could afford smoking (and health care) the least.]
  • Some booklet trying to rabble-rouse the Hispanic and Black communities and make them believe Packwood is attacking them racially
    [Using the 'disadvantaged' and regressive tax arguments.]
  • A Citizens for Tax Justice 'poll' on attitudes. and a Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (CART) document.
    [Both general front groups for the cigarette and alcohol industries.]
  • Many op-eds commissioned from a network of cash-for-comment academic economists. [3]