Monday, July 20

Let's tax everything!

Earlier, Greg Mankiw wrote
[E]conomists have increasingly viewed "sin taxes" as a good way to raise revenue... [S]in taxes aim to protect people from themselves. To the extent that people have problems with self-control, sin taxes can be welfare-enhancing. Economists Jonathan Gruber and Sendhil Mullainathan report evidence that smokers are happier when cigarette taxes are higher. Of course, non-smokers won't object to shifting the tax burden to others. Maybe we should consider higher taxes on smoking, drinking, gambling and other activities about which people lack self-control.
Many people also lack self-control in the consumption of other recreational drugs, so as many have suggested, maybe they should be legalized...and taxed. And if religion is the opiate of the people (and certainly many people seem to lack the self control to belief responsibly), that should be taxed, too. And the same goes for people who can't stop from accessing the internet, or playing electronic games, or having sex. Let's tax everything!

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