USA Today focuses in this piece on the gigantic federal tax hike on tobacco, imposed by President Obama in 2009. The tax went from 39 cents to $1.09 on each pack. It was clearly a gigantic tax hike on the middle class.

The tax hits hardest on families who make less than $50,000 a year and account for two-thirds of smokers.

Smoking rates have dropped in the wake of the tax, illustrating that when tax something more, you get less of it. Those who believe in using the tax code to punish behavior — which is bad policy that favors some and demonizes  others — clearly understand the impact their policy will have. That’s why they support the policy.  So do they not understand that increasing taxes on “the rich” will also have an  impact? Actually, I’ve come to believe they DO understand this. Sadly, in the case of  “the rich,” the behavior progressives want to penalize is success. And if progressives succeed,” we will definitely get less of what they disdain: success and private-sector vitality.

What a shame, and what a disservice to the millions of Americans whose economic future depends on “the rich” making capital investments in businesses that create jobs.

For a roadmap to sound state tax policy, take a few moments to review JLF’s Agenda 2012. This section lays out a plan for reform of the personal income, corporate income, and sales tax codes.