Greeks Sample the Effects of Using Taxes to Alter Habits

February 4, 2013

I have long called for the use of tax policy and planning (phase ins vs overnight changes) as a strong policy tool to shift consumption and budget patterns to more sustainable frameworks. Altering the tax landscape is the simplest way in a democracy to leverage the population and alter habits. As hard as shifts can be, people are smart (individually) and resourceful. Taxes should, however, be set to 1. Protect the Commons; 2. Protect the Populace; 3. Protect the Economic Order.

This is a tremendous example of the tertiary and other unintended consequences of brash and ill-planned tax changes in Greece. As horrible as this outcome is, there are way to conceive of policies that maximize positive outcomes and minimize negative ones from a triple bottom line perspective.

This is clearly a failure, but the larger failure would be if legislators use it to argue for more of the status quo either in Greece or around the world. Article: As Oil Is Taxed, Greeks Go Back to Ancient Times

Even in the leafy northern stretches of this city, home to luxury apartment buildings, mansions with swimming pools and tennis clubs, the smell of wood smoke lingers everywhere at night, the New York Times reports.

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