Manipulating Consumers

During its regular session, the Texas Legislature revived a program that offers a tax rebate of $2,500 for the purchase of an electric car. This is on top of the $7,500 tax credit offered by the federal government. While I am certainly in favor of lowering taxes, these programs are intended to manipulate consumers.

Much of the tax code is designed to reward taxpayers who act as the government deems desirable. If you own a house, donate to charity, or purchase certain products, your actions are rewarded with lower taxes. If you fail to take the actions the government wants, you are penalized with a higher tax bill.

Government would like us to believe that we have a choice in the matter. But that is akin to saying we have a choice when the tax collector proclaims, “Your money or go to jail.” Alternatives offered under the threat of physical force do not represent a choice.

These types of programs reward obedience to the government’s desires. If you buy an electric car, install solar panels, or do any number of other things that the government deems desirable, you will be allowed to keep more of your money. The greater your obedience, the greater your rewards. Conversely, less obedience translates to having more of your money taken by the government.

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