Monday, May 25, 2015

Your tax dollars at work: Helping coal and oil companies?

Subsidies: What Fossil Fuels & Porn Have in Common

Posted by Alex B. Berezow on May 27, 2015, RealClearScience

It's time to end the federal porn subsidy.

You might be asking, What federal porn subsidy? Fair question. Technically, there isn't a federal porn subsidy. However, if we borrow some of the logic commonly used by politically driven economists, we can redefine the word subsidy to mean whatever we want.

Pornography is enjoyed by many people, but it comes with a very real social cost: it can break up families and perhaps even become an addiction, which are profound losses of productivity. Economists refer to these as negative externalities -- i.e., bad side effects that affect people other than the person making the decision. One way to deal with such decisions is to tax them. This should, in theory, reduce the negative side effects, while simultaneously forcing the decisionmaker to bear the "true cost" of his actions. Clearly, if anyone should have to pay for this societal cost, it should be porn watchers, in the form of a porn tax. If they don't pay such a tax, they are getting an indirect subsidy.

As it turns out, we don't have a federal porn tax. Thus, we could say that the American government has issued a federal porn subsidy.

(Continued here.)


Blogger Tom Koch said...

VV brings up a good point - crony capitalism. It would be a rare day when I would support any involvement in business by our government, the temptation to play favorites and thwart the free market is just too strong. While the article is not political in nature, I have to ask, just what action did the DEM party take on this type of crony capitalism when DEM's controlled the White House and had majorities in both the House and Senate?

7:31 PM  

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