Justifying Pigovian taxation.


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Some questions in political economy are difficult, or at least have good arguments on both sides.

Intellectual property, and each area of Pigovian taxation are pretty murky, at least to me.

Some aren’t all that difficult, like healthcare, social security, and education, but they’re extremely important and emotional issues, so I understand why people take a strong position that they’re not really willing to examine.

But some questions are so clearcut and obvious that there is absolutely no room for good faith disagreement, yet people are immediately ready to grind in their heels and fight to the bitter end on the wrong side based on nothing. There is no good faith argument for the Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction, for instance.

Economists across the spectrum broadly oppose tax deductions and exemptions, for clear and concise reasons. No one seriously has an argument against exploiting free trade (except in strategic industries). There is no good faith argument for continuing to subsidize college loans. There is no defensible argument for income, corporate, and payroll taxes over taxes on consumption and land ownership. The Payroll Tax is particularly harmful.

And, of course, the privatization of Air Traffic Control, airports, and the post office, which people support with the fervour and commitment of any religious zealot, even without the slightest awareness of why.

What is this phenomenon?


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