Skip to comments.The Wages of Sin Taxes
Posted on 02/23/2013 7:40:02 AM PST by libertarian27
Forward to the study:
In his study, The Wages of Sin Taxes, Chris Snowdon reveals that these taxes not only do little to limit the use of bad products, they do nothing to reduce societal costs. Most remarkably, Snowdon demonstrates that those shockingly large estimates of the costs that the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and fat supposedly impose on society have little basis in reality.
As Snowdon shows, the myth that sinnersthose who drink, smoke, and eat unhealthful foodscost more to society than everyone else has been perpetuated in large part because government has no incentive to tell the public that these groups are being exploited and the affected industries dare not advertise the savings that come from lives being cut short by excessive use of their products. We have been down this road beforefirst it was the campaign against alcohol, then onto tobacco and other products.
As The Wages of Sin Taxes brilliantly demonstrates, sin taxes do not promote public safety and do nothing to reduce costs to society, and fleece taxpayers. Certainly, many sin tax proponents genuinely wish to improve the health of their fellow man and view these price increases as an unobtrusive way to achieve that goal. Yet, even when we set aside the argument about the morality of government interfering in individual choices, Snowdon demonstrates that these policies do not have the outcome they intend and in many cases cause greater harm to those they are meant to help.
(Excerpt) Read more at cei.org ...
The government is counting on it. They don't pass the tax to curb behavior. They pass it to cash in on someone else's addiction. And at the federal level, when it comes to cigarettes, they are also counting on a smoker's early death. As long as people continue to die prematurely from smoking, the government will save billions on social security liabilities. If everyone quit smoking altogether, the government would start subsidizing tobacco. Oh wait, they already do.
There’s a reason nicotine is the number one smuggled drug in America and it ain’t because its illegal.
Sin taxes are also very PC.
Want to tax an extremely unhealthy lifestyle that costs society billions in unneeded healthcare? costs? Then start heavily taxing the homosexual lifestyle.
Abortions have a host of health related issues. We need to tax them heavily.
Movies and TV cause much violence and bad behavior (if not, why did the Feds ban cigarette advertisements?). These need to be heavily taxed. Also include the entertainers.
What liberals never figure out is that what they impose on their “enemies” will one day be used against them.
The subsides, paid for through the MSA by manufacturers(since 2004)- not a government taxpayer tax, will be ending in 2014.
They can have my field of two-row barley and my hops vines when they take them from my cold, dead hands.
Those who would impose these sin taxes also are ignorant of history and basic economics. The demand for liquor during Prohibition was quickly met by organized crime and the cost of enforcing Prohibition was considerable. Raising the price of cigarettes for example has some impact on demand, but the market will also seek cheaper substitutes often from illegal sources. If cigarettes are high in price, but remain legal to use, manufacture and import and the penalties (opportunity cost) for bootlegging them are relatively low it would be very profitable to engage in bootlegging. It is also very expensive to stamp out bootlegging if the product remains legal and popular in the market.
I like your ‘nickname’ on FR
You’ll love a word I bumped into in the Snowdon article here.
It makes a lot of sense. The failure of centralized planning is humanity itself, among other things. We will only allow ourselves to be pushed so far. No matter what schemes the planners cook up to try to get us to stop, we’re we’re going to do it anyways - if for no other reason than to say no to the boss.
Even in the most severe tyrannies, there’s always at least one lone person willing to stand in front of the tank.
...sin taxes do not promote public safety and do nothing to reduce costs to society, and fleece taxpayers...these policies do not have the outcome they intend and in many cases cause greater harm to those they are meant to help.No, they tax people who choose to use the products. This belongs with the ridiculous idea that gov't-run lotteries are a "tax on the poor".
...even when we set aside the argument about the morality of government interfering in individual choices...It's good to set that aside, because it's a completely bogus argument.