Baptists and bootleggers


Baptists and bootleggers is a concept we often see: two wildly disparate groups agitating for the same policies. The Baptists thought Prohibition was great because it stopped people from getting the demon drink and bootleggers for they made huge profits supplying the demon drink.

There's an intruiging story of something similar happening in the US at the moment. One of the biggest lobbying groups over there is the life assurance industry. They seem to be lobbying hard for the revival of the estate tax. This is all rather strange until you realise that fully 10% of the industry's revenues come from selling people life assurance plans which aid in getting around the estate tax.

There's even a gentle hint (entirely unfounded I have no doubt) that Warren Buffett's enthusiasm for the estate tax is partially fuelled by his ownership of 6 life assurance companies.

Just another example of that old maxim about cui bono? It can defintitely be helpful to work out who is going to make money out of a proposal when evaluating who and why people are proposing it.