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Taxes - for revenue or behavior control?
Posted by: mcq on Sunday, February 03, 2008

Look, I'm not a fan of taxation at all. And my acceptance of some taxation is conditional based on the realization that some level of government functions (legitimate government functions as outlined in the Constitution). I have no tolerance for taxation to fund illegitimate usurpations of power nor do I have any for this sort of nonsense:
In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.

Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.
Other than the obvious reasons, another reason this bothers me a lot is it is motivated by thinking like this:
It will take a big nationwide effort to accomplish a similar feat in the United States, but we can do it. It can't be a haphazard mishmash of rules, taxes, or appeals for voluntary compliance. We need a unified plan to eliminate this unnecessary blight, and soon.
We've seen anecdote after anecdote which warns us that such thinking and acceptance of such thinking is on the rise. Government, it seems, is the solution for everyone with a priority that they cannot be achieved by persuasion. And, of course, taxation as a tool of behavior control is just another way of approaching such problems.
 
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Government, it seems, is the solution for everyone with a priority that they cannot be achieved by persuasion
Yeah, I feel this way about giving a huge tax break to people who’s income is derived from trading instruments, as opposed to the double rate for people who’s income is derived from trading labor.
 
Written By: Captin_Sarcastic
URL: http://
Accessing no tax is an instance of governmental non-involvement. There’s no such thing as government "giving" a tax break, any more than my deciding not to take your wallet is my "giving" you something.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
If the taxing of plastic bags was to fund garbage collection and clean up then it wasn’t (primarily, at least) about modifying behavior. It seems unlikely that anyone would anticipate such a dramatic reduction in use.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
If the taxing of plastic bags was to fund garbage collection and clean up then it wasn’t (primarily, at least) about modifying behavior.
Well there’s going to be an official reason for everything, but when a punitive tax is attached to that official reason then it is up to your powers of reason to determine what the real intent of the law was.

And then there’s this:
But there were no plastic bag makers in Ireland (most bags here came from China), and a forceful environment minister gave reluctant shopkeepers little wiggle room, making it illegal for them to pay for the bags on behalf of customers. The government collects the tax, which finances environmental enforcement and cleanup programs.

Furthermore, the environment minister told shopkeepers that if they changed from plastic to paper, he would tax those bags, too.
Paper bags are biodegradable. So it isn’t an environmental issue at that point, nor is it as if some sort of "cleanup effort" would be required with them. It is simply government, via taxation instead of outright banning by law, deciding it is done with bags of any type and forcing its will on the people.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable - on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.
Dammed if I am going to clean a cloth bag after every "walkies".
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Does anyone really clean up after their pets with plastic bags? That takes a biodegradable substance, pet feces, and encases it in a non-degradable enclosure. Ten thousand years from now, archeologists will wonder what ritual we were practicing that caused this behavior.

When I lived in New York where these is a law prohibiting everything including dog poop, so I carried in my pocket, a plastic bag with a rock in it. When my greyhound did its thing, I would pull out the bag and pretend to pick it up. Only once did anyone question me, but she declined to examine the contents of my bag.

New York is also very talented in innovative taxation. Every bottle carries a deposit of 5 cents, on which you pay sales tax. When you return the bottle, you are not entitled to recover your sales tax because it was not certain at the time of sale that you would return the bottle! Who thinks this stuff up?

 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
Paper bags are biodegradable. So it isn’t an environmental issue at that point, nor is it as if some sort of "cleanup effort" would be required with them. It is simply government, via taxation instead of outright banning by law, deciding it is done with bags of any type and forcing its will on the people.
Just a technical bone to pick on the paper vs. plastic. Which is more a concern, liter or ground water/soil contamination?

Products in landfills that bio-degrade contribute to settling of the waste material which can undermined the strength of the landfill capping layer and the general structural integrity of the fill lining. They also to add to the effluent liquids and gasses which then leaches from the structurally degraded landfill into the surrounding ground water and soil. The paper’s contribution may have little or no toxicity, but it adds to the volume of effluent helping to carry the more harmful product out with it.

If its going in a landfill, degrading material is actually harmful to longterm pollution control.

 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Paper bags are biodegradable.
Not as far as the government are concerned. Both still need to be carted to a lanfill and dumped. Degradation periods of 2 years and 20 000 years only matter if the garbage is not picked up within the first 2 years & this is not Naples.
Does anyone really clean up after their pets with plastic bags?
Some people do far more than that - the flying toilets of Nairobi.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
There’s no such thing as government "giving" a tax break, any more than my deciding not to take your wallet is my "giving" you something.


Nice dodge. Here, try this, no language for you to use to ignore and obfuscate the point.

Yeah, I feel this way about the double tax rate for people who’s income is derived from trading labor as compared to the tax rate on income for people who derive their income from trading securities.
 
Written By: Captin_Sarcastic
URL: http://
"Does anyone really clean up after their pets with plastic bags?"

Yes.

"That takes a biodegradable substance, pet feces, and encases it in a non-degradable enclosure."

It may be biodegradeable, but for some reason most people do not want other people’s dog leavings biodegrading on their yards or their shoes. Sometimes their kids play in the yard.

"When my greyhound did its thing, I would pull out the bag and pretend to pick it up"

Frankly, I think you are an inconsiderate jerk. I am sure the other people who stepped in your dog’s droppings also think so.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Such thinking isn’t on the rise. Its here.

Congress just slapped a bunch more taxes on gas to bleed the public and install an anti-global warming tax err... as a key measure of their energy policy.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Hillary wants to garnishee your wages if you don’t buy health insurance. I wonder if illegal aliens are included in that proposal?





 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Tim:

You must be a city boy. Out here we watch were we walk.
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
Yeah, and we also have the National Firearms Act of 1934, essentially a $200 tax on full auto firearms, short carbines and shotguns, and silencers.

Back in ’34, $200 was a significant amount. What NFA ’34 really was was a restriction on firearms, not a serious revenue tax. Since back then it was generally understood that an outright ban would violate the 10th Amendment, the restriction was put in place in the form of a heavy tax.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"You must be a city boy. Out here we watch were we walk."

I guess it never gets dark where you live, either.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Taiwan passed laws banning giving away plastic bags for free. You now have to pay a few cents for them. I was a bit ambivalent to this plan, and it could use some tweaking, but my own personal use of plastic bags is way down. 7-11 used to automatically give you a bag when you bought a candy bar. Now you just put it in your pocket.

At the grocery store, you end up taking your cart down to your car and using the cloth bags you have in the trunk or just doing without. I occasionally buy plastic bags because we also use them to store organic waste - you have to recycle that, too.

Paper bags can be given away and are used mostly for food items.

The only place where the law is rightfully ignored is when you’re at the traditional market. You sort of need a plastic bag to carry home produce from 4 different vendor stalls.

In Taipei they actually banned garbage bags except for government approved ones. This to me sounds much more dangerous - too big of a chance for bribery.

In another attempt at greenery, they tried to ban the use of disposable crockery (styrofoam) and advocate the use of real dishes. This was ironic as the government previously advocated using disposable crockery for hygiene reasons.

Some of this is nanny statish, but it seriously helped me reduce my plastic bag consumption without much pain. I’m all for free choice, but apparently some nanny nagging me to use less plastic bags works pretty well. Don’t tell the wife.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I forgot, that if you don’t have cloth bags and don’t and don’t want plastic, some stores have cartons from product that you can use. That’s really the most effective - stuff comes in carton, stuff goes out in same carton. Old men drive around on tricycles picking up the cartons you leave in front of your house to recycle for money.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

 
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