Elizabeth Warren wants to tax guns so people buy less of them. Now apply that logic across the board

I’ve written often about how many politicians are utterly incoherent on the subject of taxes. One the one hand, they raise taxes on things like cigarettes to disincentiveize people from smoking. On the other, the raise taxes on working and investing and assume that people will just carry on working and investing as before.

An excellent example of this incoherence comes from presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).

At the weekend, she tweeted the following

Read that again: “Increasing taxes on gun manufacturers will reduce gun and ammunition sales”. Can you imagine Sen. Warren saying “Increasing taxes on income will reduce work” or “Increasing taxes on investment will reduce investment”? Of course not, even though both are correct. But the logic is identical. What basis does Sen. Warren have to think that taxes are disincentives in this context but not when it comes to income or capital gains taxes?

Everybody gets a unicorn!

Another striking thing bout Sen. Warren’s tweet is how taxes on gun manufacturers magically do two things at once. On the one hand, they stop gun and ammo sales. On the other, they massively increase tax revenues from those gun and ammo sales.

Both of these things can’t be true simultaneously. You are being lied to, or, more charitably, sold magic beans by someone too dim to realize they are not just kidney beans.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore