Taxation, Destruction, and Discouragement: “North Carolina Tax Fairness Act”

The power to tax is the power to destroy, or at least discourage.   As an advocate of higher, indexed taxes on alcohol, I don’t get North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger’s “North Carolina Tax Fairness Act” proposal to impose sales or services taxes on prescription drugs and doctors’ fees.

Some of the Locke Foundation group would tax alcohol like milk, and tax doctors like tattoo artists.  Seriously.  Look at  Roy Cordato, Sales taxes and free choices, (May 25, 2010), http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/05/25/v-print/498695/sales-taxes-and-free-choices.html. 

I understand that folks distrust government, and I don’t blame them.  Distrusting government was at the top of the Founders’ agenda.  And once government starts picking winners and losers, it can get carried away.  But to insist on neutrality — to oppose having government make any distinctions — is to throw out the baby with the bath water.  Taxing medicine and doctors’ visits takes the principle of neutrality to an extreme.  I don’t think they’ll make that happen.

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Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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