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From the politician's point of view there is a very important difference. If you raise taxes and then use that money to pay for something then you are responsible for a tax increase. Opposition politicians can point to your tax increase and complain that this is costing the average taxpayer $N per year.

However if you make a regulation which does the same thing then the cost does not cross the government's books, so nobody can say that you are costing anybody anything in particular. Its much better politics, regardless of the economics.




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