113 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 1999
Tax policy can function as an economic and social tool to influence behavior. The U.S. Congress, however, has failed to use this tool in addressing problems of overpopulation in this country. Instead, as Professor Mona Hymel argues, current tax policy exacerbates problems of overpopulation in three specific areas: reproductive rates, the strain on agricultural and natural resources, and the overconsumptive lifestyle of U.S. citizens. As it functions now, the U.S. tax system has a pronatalist bias, it fails to encourage sustainable farming practices and the conservation of resources, and it actually encourages overconsumption. This pattern can be altered, however, through proposals made by Professor Hymel such as environmental taxes, preferential treatment for practices such as organic farming, and the elimination of tax exclusions that encourage urban sprawl, to name a few. Since the United States sets the pace for the world on important social issues, Professor Hymel argues that it is imperative for the country to take the lead on addressing the catastrophic effects of overpopulation. Tax policy provides a viable place to start.
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