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Archive for November 19th, 2010

I get nauseated and disgusted when guilt-ridden wealthy people try to come across as friends of the common man by endorsing soak-the rich taxes. I’ve even debated a couple of self-loathing trust fund babies (see here and here) about class-warfare policy.

If neurotic rich people believe that the government should have more money, there’s nothing stopping them from writing big checks to Uncle Sam. This is a free country and they have the right to be stupid.

But they shouldn’t be allowed to lie, either intentionally or accidentally. And this is why I get so upset when Warren Buffett says that rich people have lower tax rates than their secretaries. I’ve already explained on the blog that this is completely inaccurate because it ignores double taxation, and I reiterated that argument in this CNBC interview.

I’m not surprised that my debate opponent disagreed (even though I assume he knows I’m right), but I am surprised that one of the CNBC hosts didn’t understand the concept.

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Here are two interesting quotes.

The first is from the New International Version of the Bible, and it’s been circulating among right wingers over email. Have fun with it.

The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.

The second quote – and this one is serious – is from President Andrew Jackson’s remarkable farewell address in March of 1837. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have leaders who still cherished the Constitution and understood the danger of excessive government?

It is well known that there have always been those amongst us who wish to enlarge the powers of the General Government, and experience would seem to indicate that there is a tendency on the part of this Government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the Constitution. …There is, perhaps, no one of the powers conferred on the Federal Government so liable to abuse as the taxing power. …Congress has no right under the Constitution to take money from the people unless it is required to execute some one of the specific powers intrusted to the Government; and if they raise more than is necessary for such purposes, it is an abuse of the power of taxation, and unjust and oppressive. …Plain as these principles appear to be, you will yet find there is a constant effort to induce the General Government to go beyond the limits of its taxing power and to impose unnecessary burdens upon the people. …There is but one safe rule, and that is to confine the General Government rigidly within the sphere of its appropriate duties. It has no power to raise a revenue or impose taxes except for the purposes enumerated in the Constitution, and if its income is found to exceed these wants it should be forthwith reduced and the burden of the people so far lightened.

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Every since the current government won a landslide election, there’s been a widespread assumption that Hungary would be the next nation in Europe to hop on the flat tax bandwagon. Well, the assumption has become reality. Here’s a report from Tax-news.com.

The Hungarian parliament has approved the government’s 2011 tax bill, which introduces a flat rate personal income tax of 16%, and grants a 10% corporate tax rate to certain companies from next year. The bill also contains a highly controversial amendment to the country’s original bank tax legislation. Hungary’s 2011 tax bill, which was adopted by 259 votes to 104, provides for a 16% flat rate of personal income tax in a bid to boost domestic demand. It also reduces the corporate tax rate from 19% to 10% for all companies from January 1, 2013.

It’s a bit disturbing to see that Keynesian theory (“boost domestic demand”) was part of the rationale for this tax reform, but I’m not going to quibble. Any port in a storm, as the saying goes.

So it’s time to cue up the flat tax theme song and celebrate the growing list of flat tax nations. More than 30 nations now have the morally and economically superior tax regime, a remarkable increase since I narrated a video two years ago and there were only 25 countries on the list.

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