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Friday, October 06, 2006

Lavish weddings are good for the economy

When populism is so stupid, what does it say about people? IANS reports:
The Kerala Assembly united on Thursday to condemn ostentatious weddings in the state and came out with suggestions to curb wedding expenses.

With the increasing demand that the state government should intervene to curb extravagance in marriages, Law Minister M Vijayakumar said his department would soon come out with a law to limit marriage expenses.
A Congressman named George Merceir says that "the new law should see the number of guests invited is limited." The finance minister of the state, Thomas Isaac, has said that "he would consider levying a luxury tax, too."

This is a law borne out of jealousy, not sensible economics. The state should actually welcome lavish weddings, for they pump money back into the economy, and provide employment to people in associated industries, from catering to decor to entertainment to transport. Not only would a tax on wedding expenses disincentivise such expenditure, but it would inevitably find its way back into the economy far less inefficiently than had it simply been spent by the people paying it. Not only is it immoral -- as it always is when the state assumes jurisdiction over what other people do with their property -- it is also impractical, and harmful.

But it's populist, and therefore popular. Green, green monster, out with thee!

Cross-posted on The Indian Economy Blog.
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