What could make more sense than discouraging weak-minded sinners from the path of wrongfulness (or whatever the fuck the word is) by loading high tariffs on smokes, booze, sodas or whatever might rub today’s bien pensant crew the wrong way while they’re tut-tutting over the failures of lesser creatures? Why, it’s a no-brainer! And you could close government budgetary gaps with the moolah pouring in from the proceeds of those high taxes, too.
Forget that there’s a bit of a disconnect between simultaneously using taxes as proxies for prohibition and revenue raising. Well…No. Don’t forget that. And don’t forget that people have always been a tad resistant to actual prohibition efforts,and the historical record shows similar pitfalls for sin taxes.
Anyway, that’s the gist of my new piece for Reason. Pour a tall glass and light a smoke while you read “It’s Time We Learned from Sin Taxes’ Impressive History of Failure.”
Paul BonneauJuly 22, 2015 at 11:46 am
I’m cheered by any increase in black market activity, since it by definition is not government regulated. But let’s not forget that prohibition also produces corruption. I suppose that is good news for the corrupted, bad news for everybody else. But it in turn also causes ordinary peons to lose what little faith they still have in the government religion. There are so many factors here, it is hard to see how it all plays out.