The Watertight Case for Taxing Everything

The Watertight Case for Taxing Everything

I have a certain fascination with tax fads. You know what I mean -- those odd, improbable, and sometimes appealing tax ideas that capture the public imagination from time to time. But seriously: this soda tax has got to go away. It was fun for a while, even intriguing. But it's a bad tax -- regressive, incoherent, arbitrary, and annoying. Please, let's stop the madness.


[E]very sin tax makes sense to someone. In theory, we could spend a lot of time crafting millions of tiny little taxes designed to compensate for every "market failure" imaginable. But that's the road to fiscal hell.

The soda tax is a trivial issue, but it points up a bigger problem: our tendency to use the tax system in pursuit of narrow goals. That might be good for the goals, but it's bad for the tax system.

View TaxAnalysts' Joe Thorndike's opinion in its entirety on