And I didn’t flinch. Well okay, I flinched. But what was I going to do? The guy is obsessed with clean floors. Also, when he buys things, he likes to buy the best (the vacuum cleaner has a “crush-proof hose” and a “whisper-quiet” suction). He’s a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy. I don’t care about clean floors and I’m cheap.
But I said nothing because I’ve found that if I tax Nivi too much–give him a hard time about everything I disagree with–I end up with nothing. I get much further if I tax selectively–say, put my foot down about a new Volvo station wagon he can’t stop talking about, but let the vacuum cleaner go.
I’m paying attention to what economists would call a “deadweight cost.” That’s when the side effects of a tax are so powerful, they override any potential benefits. For example, if the government taxes workers too much, and everyone decides it’s not in their interests to work hard anymore, tax receipts dwindle. That’s the theory, at least (and it sure does make libertarians mad).
So I wish Nivi all the best with his new vacuum cleaner. Just don’t expect me to use it.