I cannot quite decide whether this report is in jest or not, but it appears to be real.  But if it is real, I am having a difficult time understanding the aims of the tax.  Why is it necessary to improve and expand the Christmas tree market?  What secular government purpose is at stake, other than improving the lot of people who sell Christmas trees?  And if that’s all that is at stake, why did the government choose Christmas tree sellers as opposed to a different group; say, clothes retailers or winter sled manufacturers?  At least on one currently popular understanding of the Establishment Clause, why is collecting revenue for the explicit purpose of promoting the image and marketability of a “sectarian symbol” like this not problematic?  — MOD

UPDATE: Thanks to my alert colleague, Mark, I see that the US Department of Agriculture has decided to delay imposition of the tax.  The Administration spokesman does not want to call it a tax, but prefers to call it a “fee” which the “industry group [is] deciding to impose . . . on itself.”  If that is the case, then why is the US Department of Agriculture involved in imposing the fee?  On the other hand, it appears from at least some accounts that none of the money is going to the federal government itself.

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