In praise of taxes

On Tax Day, a reminder that taxes are about way more than the federal budget

The IRS comes a knockin'.
(Image credit: (illustration Works/Corbis))

Once again, it's April 15: Tax Day. Most of us will grumble about the government raiding our pocketbooks, and some of us will defend taxes as investments in public goods and services. What we will have in common is thinking of taxes as revenue raisers that fill the government's coffers.

But that isn't the only purpose taxes can serve. Precisely because people tend to try to avoid paying them, taxes can be used to structure the economy and direct how money flows through it in different ways. Tax something and you'll get less of it, as the old observation goes.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us