Taxes, American Style

Monday, September 27, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

A while back Harvard economist Greg Mankiw caused a bit of a kerfufle when he noted that the amount of tax revenues raised by the United States per capita wasn’t much different than the amount raised in Europe. Tax rates in the United States are lower than in Europe, but per capita income is also higher in America, and the two facts seem to largely cancel each other out. Here, for example, are the per capita tax revenues for a handful of developed countries:

France .461 x 33,744 = 15,556
Germany .406 x 34,219 = 13,893
UK .390 x 35,165 = 13,714
US .282 x 46,443 = 13,097
Canada .334 x 38,290 = 12,789
Italy .426 x 29,290 = 12,478
Spain .373 x 29,527 = 11,014

Now granted, European countries tend to spend their tax revenues differently than we do in the U.S. For example, we spend more on defense, whereas they spend more on welfare. However, to some extent Europe’s apparently larger welfare state is an optical illusion. It looks bigger than it is, because the rest of the economy is so small.

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Licensing Bloggers

Monday, August 23, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers.  If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license.  (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.)   Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.

Just how many things are wrong about this?  Let us count the ways: Read the rest of this entry »


The Flypaper Theory of Taxation

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

Here’s a very interesting post by Stephen Gordon on what seems like a dull subject, namely tax incidence:

One of the more important things that distinguishes economists from non-economists is a familiarity with the notion of tax incidence. The statutory incidence of a tax (who sends the cheque to the Receiver-General?) is usually very different from its economic incidence (who is out of pocket?).

The basic intuition is simple enough. We all understand that if the government chooses to impose a tax on gasoline retailers of $0.50 per litre, customers can expect to see a similar increase in gas prices. Even if the statutory incidence falls on the sellers, the economic incidence is borne by the consumers.

The question of who ultimately bears the burden of the tax is almost entirely separate from the question of statutory incidence. (There’s even a pejorative term – the ‘flypaper theory’ – for the claim that taxes stick to those who are first touched by it.) So what does determine the economic incidence of a tax?

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Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has brought out an interesting mystery in regard to the federal funds given to Worse Than Murder, Inc, aka Planned Parenthood:

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on federal tax money funneled into Planned Parenthood and similar organizations raises more questions than it answers about the nation’s largest abortion chain.

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Catholic View of the Political Community (part 4)

Sunday, June 28, 2009 \PM\.\Sun\.

We continue the test of our Catholic worldview on the subject of the role of the Political Community- drawing upon Chapter 8 in the authoritative Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. We have looked at the Old Testament (#377-378) and Jesus’ interaction with political authorities #379) to see the development of doctrine relating to how we are to regard the political community. Now we turn to “The early Christian communities”.

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TAX REVOLT!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

Bear Flag Republic 

California often is a trend setter for the nation, for good and ill.  In 1978 the passage of Proposition 13 in California which capped property taxes presaged a national movement against high taxes which helped sweep Reagan and the GOP into power in 1980.  On Tuesday California voters rejected by better than 60% five ballot propositions which would have resulted in higher taxes, the raiding of special funds for general budget purposes and the selling of future lottery proceeds.  Here is a good analysis, albeit from a Libertarian perspective, of the ballot propositions that went down in flames.  The only ballot proposition to pass, politicians everywhere take note!, by a 73%  vote,  would prevent salary increases for legislators and statewide officials during deficit years.

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Spirit of ’09

Thursday, April 16, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

tea-party-map

Yesterday Americans rallied in hundreds of tea party protests against high government spending and taxation.  In my state 3000 people turned out in Peoria alone.  Good coverage of the tea parties is at Instapundit.  Much more at Tea Party online HQ

Elements of the mainstream media were openly contemptuous of the tea parties, perhaps one of the more obvious examples being here at Hot Air.

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