November 5, 2019

WHICH IS WHY YOU TAX CONSUMPTION, NOT WEALTH:

How Is a Wealth Tax Like a Cigarette Tax? (Neil Irwin, Nov. 5, 2019, NY Times)

The United States government taxes people's income not because it wants them to earn less income, but because it is a way to raise a lot of money. States tax retail sales not to discourage people from buying stuff, but because it is a relatively efficient way to fill state coffers to pay for things like public schools and state highways.

But for some taxes, discouraging the thing being taxed is at least partly the point. Tobacco taxes are intended not just to raise money, but also to increase the prices of cigarettes so that fewer people smoke. A tax on carbon emissions would be intended to reduce carbon emissions.

Posted by at November 5, 2019 5:30 PM

  

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