The father of modern economics, Adam Smith, spoke of the invisible hand of the free market to describe the unintended social benefits of individual self-interested actions. With markets so heavily regulated now, the invisible hand is getting harder to spot. What we are more likely to see is the dead hand of the state intervening in markets, doing untold damage in its wake. This is what has happened in the US State of Pennsylvania.
Politicians love spending other people's money. They throw it around as if it were confetti at a wedding. When they start running out of other people's money, they either borrow (which in turn costs future generations of taxpayers), raise taxes, or, more likely, a combination of both. As the vaping market in Pennsylvania grew, greedy Pennsylvania State legislators just couldn't stop themselves. They slapped on a 40 per cent vape tax which has raised an estimated $13.7 million, but has also managed to destroy over a quarter of all vaping stores in the state.
Pennsylvania Vape Association President, Charles Huff has remarked that "this virtually wiped me out. It just destroyed my business. It hurts a lot of people that our legislators are trying to balance the budget on the backs of small businesses.”
When it's not greedy politicians destroying businesses, in the USA, you can guarantee it's prejudiced regulators and tin pot councilmen and women discussing vaping bans. Land of the free it ain't.
Photo Credit: Mike Mozart