• But should it be...?

    Sure, you can. If you make things cost more, then people physically can't buy as much, so will tend to buy less of the thing. But isn't this infringing on people's right to choose?

    This kind of social engineering by holding people's pay check hostage seems kind of stupid. I don't like the idea of the government regulating individual behaviours that don't effect anyone else. You want to smoke, drink, do drugs, eat fatty foods, fill your boots. Not my business, even though I keep such things pretty moderate.

    It also has the problem of penalizing the people that aren't over-indulging, as it ends up being a blanket policy with no recognition of the fact that a person may indulge once or twice a year in something.

  • Yes, behavior can be regulated via taxes.

    Increasing taxes will cause the behavior of people to be more pessimistic and not want to do their day to day jobs or hobbies. Lets say you invoke a tax towards a certain hobby. The people that do this hobby on a daily basis would be less likely to do the hobby and if they continue to do the hobby they wont fee quite as rewarded. The same works in the other way. If we decrease the road tax then people are more willing to drive to places, thus increasing the behavior in that activity.

  • But not effectively

    In the broadest sense of the term, behavior can definitely be modified by taxes. People respond to incentives. People, over the course of a population, do respond to even a tiny increase in taxes in goods. The issues, however, is that there are too many factors to think about for them to really be used with no fear of backfire.

  • No, habits are hard to break

    If we're talking about bad habits like eating too much junk food, smoking, and drinking, then no, it can't be regulated with taxes. The reason why is that addictive behavior is hard to break, and simply forcing people to spend more money for their indulgences with taxes will not make them stop. For example, cigarettes are way more expensive than they were 5, 10 years ago because of taxes, but smokers are still buying them, because they can't quit. Ditto junk food and other bad behavior.

  • no, taxes can't regulate behavior

    There are not many things that can regulate behavior. Usually it's a mixture of things and the passage of time. Some legislation can make certain behaviors illegal, but if you were to tax, say, obesity, I really doubt people would start eating less. Look at cigarettes. Price sky-rockets, people still smoke.

  • Government of the people

    No, I do not think that you can change the things that people believe in through taxes. Here we have a government of the people, so if you try to throw taxes at us to get our behaviors to change, we will not let you, and start a big conflict.

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