Dichotomy

I'm torn.

When Marilyn Mostek, a senior living in a subsidized apartment, heard she could save $20 on a carton of cigarettes by ordering from an out-of-state Indian reservation, she thought she had found a clever way to save money.

Those savings went up in smoke on May 19 when she received a bill from the state of Michigan for $511 in unpaid cigarette taxes -- nearly half of her fixed monthly income. Her neighbor, Robert Stutsman, received a bill the same day for $744.

Mostek, 69, and Stutsman, 75, are among 11,000 Michigan residents who over the past year and a half have felt the pinch of a state crackdown on people who have avoided Michigan's cigarette tax by buying from out-of-state vendors online.

The bills, averaging $1,787, have hit the elderly and poor particularly hard.

Higher rates of smoking among the poor only increase the likelihood that the tax is hurting them more than others. A 2004 state survey showed 35.7 percent of those making $20,000 a year are smokers, versus 14.3 percent of those earning more than $75,000.

I get irked by the state government and feel sympathy for the poor and elderly here.

Then I'm bemused by the fact that the (publicly subsidized) poor and elderly - supposedly eeking by life and struggling to buy food and medicine - are the objects of sympathy in the article as they choose to blow their meager funds on cigarettes.

Then I'm back to being irked by the state government again.

:juggle:

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are the objects of

are the objects of sympathy in the article as they choose to blow their meager funds on cigarettes.

For "Succumb to a very hard to break addiction" values of "choose".