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Last summer, I provided testimony to the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Financial Accountability Transparency & Integrity. I touched on many issues, but my testimony  focused on some core principles of sensible taxation. Low marginal tax rates on productive behavior. No bias in the tax code against saving and investment. No corrupt preferences that distort economic […]

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I’m not a big fan of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Simply stated, the Paris-based international bureaucracy represents the interests of governments, and that means the OECD often pushes policies that serve the interests of politicians at the expense of taxpayers and consumers. I’m particularly irked that OECD bureaucrats spend so much time […]

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When politicians target “the rich” with class-warfare schemes like wealth taxes, it’s often ordinary people that bear the costs. For a painful example of how this works in the real world, check out the first 42 seconds of this video. From an economic perspective, this is a story about secondary or indirect effects. Or, as […]

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On the rare occasions when I write about the Supreme Court, it’s usually to grouse that the Justices don’t defend the Constitution’s limits on the federal government. For example, the Court engaged in tortured reasoning to rule in favor of Obamacare even though there’s nothing in Article 1, Section 8, that gives Washington the power […]

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I’ve shared three reasons why Biden’s tax plan is misguided (the tax code is biased against rich taxpayers, the tax hike would have Laffer-Curve implications, and it would saddle America with the world’s highest corporate tax burden). For Part IV of the series, let’s explain why every piece of his plan will backfire. There are […]

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In Part I of this series, I explained that President-Elect Biden’s soak-the-rich agenda didn’t make sense because the internal revenue code already is very biased against upper-income taxpayers. Indeed, the U.S. tax system is even more weighted against the rich than the tax codes of nations such as France and Sweden. In Part II of […]

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A “capital gain” occurs when you buy something and later sell it for a higher price. A capital gains tax is when politicians decide they get to grab a slice of that additional wealth. I’ve repeatedly explained that it is economically foolish to have such a tax because it punishes saving, investment, risk taking, and […]

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After November’s election, I figured we would have gridlock. Biden would propose some statist ideas, but they would be blocked by Republicans in the Senate. All things considered, not a bad outcome. But Democrats won the run-off elections yesterday for both Georgia Senate seats, which means they now have total control of Washington. And that […]

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I don’t like higher taxes, whether looking at levies on income, capital gains, payroll, death, or consumption. But if asked to identify the worst way of hiking taxes, the wealth tax might lead the list because of the economic damage caused per dollar collected. If you don’t want to spend two minutes watching the video, […]

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In a new documentary film, Race to the Bottom, I had an opportunity to pontificate briefly about corporate tax and the Laffer Curve. At the risk of understatement, I represented a minority viewpoint in the documentary. Most of the people interviewed had a negative view of tax competition, considering it to be (as suggested by […]

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Professor James Buchanan won a Nobel Prize for developing the theory of “public choice,” which looks at how politicians, bureaucrats, and voters seek to maximize their self interest, generally in ways that lead to an ever-expanding burden of government. Some people wonder why Buchanan’s analysis was prize-worthy when the unseemly nature of government has long […]

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When examining state public policy, big jurisdictions such as California, Texas, New York, and Florida get a lot of attention. But what about Mississippi? It has mediocre scores for overall economic policy. It’s #29 according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. It’s #39 according to the Fraser Institute. It’s #35 according to Freedom in the […]

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Public finance experts sometime differ in how to describe a value-added tax. Is it a hidden form of a national sales tax, imposed at each stage of the production process? Is it a hidden withholding tax on income, imposed at each stage of the production process? Both answers are actually correct. The VAT is both […]

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In Part I of this series, I expressed some optimism that Joe Biden would not aggressively push his class-warfare tax plan, particularly since Republicans almost certainly will wind up controlling the Senate. But the main goal of that column was to explain that the internal revenue code already is heavily weighted against investors, entrepreneurs, business […]

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During the campaign, Joe Biden proposed a massive tax increase, far beyond what either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton put forth when they ran for the White House. Some people speculate that Biden isn’t actually that radical, and that his class-warfare agenda was simply a tactic to fend off Bernie Sanders, so it will be […]

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When I opine about class-warfare taxation, I generally focus on the obvious argument that it’s not a good idea to penalize people for creating prosperity. This argument against punitive tax policy is based on the fact that entrepreneurs, investors, business owners, and other successful people can choose to reduce their levels of work, saving, investment, […]

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Whether we’re examining Economic Freedom of the World, Index of Economic Freedom, World Competitiveness Ranking, the Global Competitiveness Report, or the World Bank’s Doing Business, publications that endeavor to give us apples-to-apples comparisons of economic policy provide useful measuring sticks. We can learn how Hong Kong compares to Singapore. We can determine the freest nation […]

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Yesterday’s column featured some of Milton Friedman’s wisdom from 50 years ago on how a high level of societal capital (work ethic, spirit of self-reliance, etc) is needed if we want to limit government. Today, let’s look at what he said back then about that era’s high tax rates. His core argument is that high […]

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Washington is a cesspool of waste, fraud, and abuse. All taxpayers, to avoid having their income squandered in D.C., should go above and beyond the call of duty to minimize the amount they send to the IRS. Which is why today’s column is a bipartisan love fest for Donald Trump and Joe Biden – both […]

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Every single economic school of thought agrees with the proposition that investment is a key factor in driving wages and growth. Even foolish concepts such as socialism and Marxism acknowledge this relationship, though they want the government to be in charge of deciding where to invest and how much to invest (an approach that has […]

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It’s not easy to identify the worst international bureaucracy. The United Nations embraces some terrible ideas on a range of policies, though it is usually too incompetent to actually move policy in the wrong direction. The International Monetary Fund relentlessly pushes for higher taxes and even uses the lure of bailout cash to coerce nations […]

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There are two reasons why I generally don’t write much about government debt. First, red ink is not desirable, but it’s mostly just the symptom of the far more important problem of excessive government spending. Second, our friends on the left periodically try to push through big tax increases by hypocritically exploiting anxiety about red […]

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Two weeks ago, I shared some video from a presentation to the New Economic School of Georgia (the country, not the state) as part of my “Primer on the Laffer Curve.” Here’s that portion of that presentation that outlines the principles of sensible taxation. Just in case you don’t want to watch me pontificate for […]

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Speculating about tax policy in 2021, with Washington potentially being controlling by Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi, there are four points to consider. The bad news is that Joe Biden has endorsed a wide range of punitive tax increases. The good news is that Joe Biden has not endorsed a wealth tax, which […]

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Because of changing demographics and poorly designed entitlement programs, the burden of government spending in the United States (in the absence of genuine reform) is going to increase dramatically over the next few decades. That bad outlook will get even worse thanks to all the coronavirus-related spending from Washington. This is bad news for America […]

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I participated in a debate yesterday on “tax havens” for the BBC World Service. If you read last month’s two-part series on the topic (here and here), you already know I’m a big defender of low-tax jurisdictions. But it’s always interesting to interact with people with a different perspective (in this case, former Obama appointee […]

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The good news is that Joe Biden has not embraced many of Bernie Sanders’ worst tax ideas, such as imposing a wealth tax or hiking the top income tax rate to 52 percent.. The bad news is that he nonetheless is supporting a wide range of punitive tax increases. Increasing the top income tax rate […]

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Yesterday’s column focused on the theoretical argument for tax havens. At the risk of oversimplifying, I explained that the pressure of tax competition was necessary to prevent “stationary bandits” from saddling nations with “goldfish government.” And I specifically explained why the left’s theory of “capital export neutrality” was only persuasive if people just paid attention […]

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As part of my presentation earlier this month to IES Europe, I discussed topics such as comparative economics and federalism. I also had a chance to explain why tax havens are good for global prosperity. Many of the points I made will be familiar to regular readers. 1. Because politicians have been worried that the “geese […]

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Assuming the goal is more prosperity, lawmakers who work on tax issues should be guided by the “Holy Trinity” of good policy. Low marginal tax rates on productive activity such as work and entrepreneurship. No tax bias (i.e., extra layers of tax) that penalizes saving and investment. No complicating preferences and loopholes that encourage inefficient economic choices. Today, […]

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