Behavior Modification and Incentives

This week’s Parade magazine “Intelligence Report” had two reports on proposals that would deepen government’s dubious role in behavior modification. One proposal would be to ban smoking in public parks and beaches. The other would create a tax deduction for pet expenses in order to incentivize animal ownership.

Both may have their own individual justifications and merits, but they also unavoidably increase government authority over individual behavior. Whether or not that increased authority is an overall good thing or not is often not looked at by those proposing such moves.

One critic argued in the smoking article that, “We’re giving away the right to self-determination.” But, sadly, many politicians seem to prefer their determination over the individual’s.

2 Responses to Behavior Modification and Incentives

  1. Joe Gehring says:

    I agree with the smoking ban in public areas. If smokers, in general, were better about making sure their butts made it into the garbage instead of onto the ground, I might have a different opinion. However, since government is required to pay people to clean up public areas, and we all like to complain about government spending, then a ban seems like the best way to minimize the necessary cleanup. If people were as sloppy about thier picnics, you’d probably see a similar ban on sandwiches and lemonade.

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