Scientist Discovers a Gene For Tax Response (Sort Of)

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Are the incentive effects of taxes genetic? Do some of us respond more strongly to tax increases than others? Probably not. But in the case of tobacco taxes, we might. Here’s what a new study says:

This study used a moderated regression framework to test the association between current tobacco use and (i) CHRNA6 genotype, (ii) the logarithm of state-level tobacco tax rates and (iii) their interaction….Like previous literature, the G/G genotype is protective, as are high tobacco taxes; the interaction between CHRNA6 and tax rates showed that the effect of the tax is only present for individuals with the protective (G/G) genotype (p<.01) and absent in other individuals.

This study showed that the impact of tobacco taxation on tobacco use is moderated by individual genotype. Indeed, only individuals with the protective G/G genotype were found to respond to state level tobacco taxation rates, suggesting an important clue in understanding why the rates of tobacco use among US adults have remained stubbornly persistent during a time period of large changes in tobacco control policies during the past two decades.

So there you have it. Who knows? Maybe someday researchers will analyze Paul Ryan’s DNA and discover other genes that elevate aversion to taxes in general. We could even make a TV show out of it, sort of a cross between CSI and West Wing. Science marches on.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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