Sin taxes breed criminality and contempt for the law. They give governments a financial incentive to foster the vice they profess to despise. They are tools of disingenuous paternalists and would-be prohibitionists. They are favored by political cowards who dare not raise taxes openly and honestly. Their enduring popularity amongst the political class is summed up in the maxim of the late Senator Russell B.Long (D-La.): “Don’t tax me. Don’t tax thee. Tax that fellow behind the tree.”
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