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George Pyle: Utah lawmakers want to make it even harder to be poor

Related Topics: Utah, Wyoming, It Is

“If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.”

It is the idea behind taxing, sometimes at very high rates, cigarettes and alcohol. And for subsidizing, for reasons that escape logic in the 21st century, oil wells and coal mines.

Although true libertarian economic thinkers would point out that, if sin taxes get too high, it only serves to create a black market in butts and booze, reducing government revenue and moving product that might be even more unhealthy than the legal stuff.

And their progressive brethren would note that subsidizing an industry unwisely insulates it from market forces that, as the real price of renewable energy goes down, could help to clean up the planet.