« Should the United States Institute a Federal Value-Added Tax? Posner | Main | The Value of Profitable Speculation-Becker »

04/25/2010

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Jack -- thanks for your reply.

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As you mentioned, VAT is more efficient and relatively harmless tax. We shouldn't forget what damage it could make if were not carefully managed. If the VAT is introduced, the income tax could be immediately reduced or abolished. To prevent policymakers' temptations to increase VAT later on, as many countries have experienced, VAT should be written as an amendement to the Constitution, next to law that would prevent policymakers to increase VAT together with income tax. Otherwise, the US economy would resemble the European model of high-tax welfare state.

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Since a VAT is a tax on the value added by companies at each stage of production of consumer and investment goods, it is similar to a sales tax levied directly on these consumer and investment goods.

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If Americans consume less then foreigners will have fewer funds to invest in US treasuries. It is not at all clear that the interest rate on the public debt would decrease

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There are plenty of people who are perfectly capable of moving to locations even within the US with lower overall tax rates and a lower cost of living and/or getting their income down to a no or little income tax levels. The other trick of course with a VAT is to buy as little as possible; That would really help the economy. Of course I would mind paying more taxes a lot less if the governments which tax me would waste less of my tax money, say like the SEC attorney who makes 200 K plus per year and has been surfing porn sites 8 hours a day on his government computer. The SEC announced the other day that he was Disciplined. Wow, thank God he wasn't fired. My own personal goal is to find a spot within the 40-50% of American tax filers who pay NO federal income tax. The VAT I can handle simply by living simply and , I might add, more freely from the desires of those who wish to be supported by my labors, the weak and needy excepted. Do you think that it has ever occured to governments

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Is the upcoming tax rebate free money or an advance on next years tax refund?

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Pat

Companies are right in that they are not privileged to be citizens in the same manner as individuals under the Constitution. Nothing could be clearer in their desire to locate offshore to avoid American taxes. Like illegal immigrants, they prefer to be "stateless" and thereby avoid obligations which ordinarily would come from nationalism and national obligations, not to mention state obligations.

In recognizing their stateless, nationless status, however, doesn't necessarily excuse them from legal obligations which could be created through the VAT by which other nations control their ability to influence and regulate the quasi-affiliation of corporates who claim one, and make an oath to operate within the framework of that nation's laws, or state laws.

Ending income tax for companies may make sense, but it would only be replaced by VAT tax by which it may be recognized that excise taxes are the proper method of taxing foreign companies, whether for imports, exports, or for services.

There is no need to have an income tax for corporations, and most simply use avoidance techniques anyway. That is why they are offshore - to avoid laws, and regulation, to avoid costs of American labor, and to maximize profits.

In recognition of that self-initiated aggression, leaving America high and dry, it seems reasonable that imposing a VAT tax upon them is more just by recognizing the status they are signaling they desire, while still holding them liable for harms caused in the course of their business.

Globalization requires a new tact, and a new attitude toward companies freely able to locate offshore but need not impose restrictions upon America whose best interest is to secure, preserve, and protect its own country, and its taxpaying citizens.


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