Becker's Cigarette Tax Numbers Need Recrunching

In "Warning: A higher cigarette tax may be hazardous to health financing" (Economic Viewpoint, Aug. 15), Gary Becker claims a cigarette-tax increase is a bad idea because it will discourage too many people from smoking to raise significant revenue. He predicts that a $1-a-pack increase would raise $3 billion a year in new revenue. This prediction is so far outside the economic mainstream that it cannot be taken seriously.

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