There's been a recent wave afoot to rename sin taxes as health taxes. R Street's Kevin Kosar writes for American Spectator about how this doesn't alleviate any of the drawbacks of using sin taxes:
Have you heard the news? So-called “sin taxes” — particularly those on alcoholic beverages — are being rebranded as “health taxes.” It’s true...
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other public health advocates think sin taxes should be called and viewed as “health taxes.” Certain activities and products, like gambling and booze, issue “externalities” that are born by the community collectively. They say the overwhelming evidence indicates that higher taxes on alcohol and other vices will reduce excessive consumption and the associated health costs.
For sure, alcohol addiction and severe abuse is damaging. Anyone who has ever known an addict can speak to the awfulness and tragedy of it all. The same goes with compulsive gambling, which is horrifically costly.
So, what’s not to like about a sin or health tax?
Plenty. Dressing up the sin tax as a “health tax” sweeps under the rug some of the problems with this policy tool...
Read the rest of Kevin's column here.