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The War Against Cash, India, and a Lesson about Big Government

The War against Cash is a battle that shouldn’t even exist. But politicians don’t like cash because it’s hard to control something that people can freely trade back and forth. So folks on the left are arguing that governments should ban or restrict paper money. In Part I, we looked at the argument that cash […]

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Trump’s Social-Engineering Scheme to Make the Tax Code More Complex and Increase the Cost of Child Care

When I wrote last year about “Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Increase the Cost of College,” I explained that colleges and universities boost tuition when the government hands out more subsidies to students, so the main effect is to make higher education even more expensive. Today, let’s look at Donald Trump’s plan to increase the cost […]

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Tax Complexity Is a Tax on Paying Taxes

What’s the best measure of the tax burden on the U.S. economy? Is it the amount of money that we’re forced to surrender to the knaves in Washington (i.e., the difference between our pre-tax income and post-tax consumption)? Or is it the loss of economic output caused by high tax rates, distorting preferences, and pervasive […]

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For Keeping Money out of the Hands of Politicians, Three Cheers for David Cameron’s Parents

I recently wrote a primer on the issue of tax evasion, which is illegal. I made the elementary point that low tax rates and a simple tax code are the best (and only good) way of promoting high levels of tax compliance. Now let’s shift to the related topic of tax avoidance, which is legal. […]

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Tax-the-Rich Delusions from Hillary and Bernie

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are basically two peas in a pod on economic policy. The only difference is that Sanders wants America to become Greece at a faster rate. Folks on the left may get excited by whether we travel 60 mph in the wrong direction or 90 mph in the wrong direction, but […]

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Tax-the-Rich Delusions from Hillary and Bernie

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are basically two peas in a pod on economic policy. The only difference is that Sanders wants America to become Greece at a faster rate. Folks on the left may get excited by whether we travel 60 mph in the wrong direction or 90 mph in the wrong direction, but […]

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Everything You ever Needed to Know about Why Low Tax Rates Are the Best Way to Reduce Evasion

Why do many people engage in civil disobedience and decide not to comply with tax laws? Our leftist friends (the ones who think that they’re compassionate because they want to spend other people’s money) assert that those who don’t obey the revenue demands of government are greedy tax evaders who don’t care about society. And […]

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The OECD’s Jihad against American Taxpayers and its Campaign to Undermine U.S. Fiscal Sovereignty

It’s time to criticize my least-favorite international bureaucracy. Regular readers probably know that I’m not talking about the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, or World Bank. Those institutions all deserve mockery, but I think the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is – on a per-dollar basis – the bureaucracy that is most destructive […]

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The War against Cash, Part I

Politicians hate cash. That may seem an odd assertion given that they love spending money (other people’s money, of course, as illustrated by this cartoon). But what I’m talking about is the fact that politicians get upset when there’s not 100 percent compliance with tax laws. They hate tax havens since the option of a […]

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Good news: The Greed of Politicians Is once again Thwarted by the Laffer Curve

If you owned a restaurant and wanted to generate more income and boost your bottom line, would you double your prices thinking that this would double your revenue? Of course not. You would understand that a lot of your patrons would simply dine elsewhere. And if they didn’t have other restaurants available, many of them […]

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Everything You Need to Know about Deductions, Loopholes, and Special-Interest Tax Provisions

Why does the tax code require more than 10,000,000 words and more than 75,000 pages? There are several reasons and none of them are good. But if you had to pick one cause for all the mess, it would be the fact that politicians have worked with interest groups and lobbyists to create myriad deductions, […]

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In One Image, the Case for Ripping Up the Internal Revenue Code

I’m happy that many of the presidential candidates are proposing big tax cuts. Bobby Jindal and Donald Trump have large tax cuts, and Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio are proposing smaller – but still significant – reductions in the federal tax burden. All of these plans, to be credible, should be accompanied by […]

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Deconstructing the European Union’s Convoluted New Attack on “Tax Havens”

Europe is suffering from economic stagnation caused in part by excessive fiscal burdens. So what are European policy makers doing to address this problem? If you think the answer might have something to do with a shift to responsible fiscal policy, you obviously have no familiarity with Europe’s political elite. But if you have paid […]

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The Real Beneficiaries of the Death Tax

Who benefits most from the death tax? There are two obvious answers. First, politicians presumably benefit since they get more money to spend. Yes, it’s true that the tax discourages capital formation and may actually lose revenue in the long run, but politicians aren’t exactly famous for thinking past the next election cycle. Second, there […]

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Great (and Not so Great) Moments in Tax Avoidance

When people figure out ways to keep the money they earn in their own pockets, rather than having it confiscated by government, I’m almost always happy. That’s because governments tend to waste money (should any of us pay for corrupt pork-barrel spending?). And it’s because government impose bad tax policy (is it fair to have […]

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If You Want Better Business Tax Policy, Handcuff Politicians with Pro-Growth Forms of Tax Competition

Tax competition is a very important tool for constraining the greed of the political class. Simply stated, politicians are less likely to impose bad tax policy if they are afraid that jobs and investment (and accompanying tax revenue) will move to jurisdictions with better tax policy. This works to limit revenue grabs by politicians at […]

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Another Victory for the Laffer Curve, this Time over the Lifestyle Puritans

What do cigarettes and capital gains have in common? Well, they both start with the same letter, so maybe the Cookie Monster could incorporate them into his favorite song, but I’m thinking about something else. Specifically, both cigarettes and capital gains tell us something important about tax policy, the Laffer Curve, and the limits of […]

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World Bank Research Shows Tax Complexity Facilitates Corruption

I don’t like international bureaucracies because they generally push for policies that expand the burden of government and undermine economic growth. But I recognize that there are some good people who work at these institutions and I’m always willing to acknowledge when they publish good research. The IMF said that Greece had reached the tipping point where […]

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Tax Day Fantasies

I realize this may be a thought crime by DC standards, but it sure would be nice to eliminate the high tax rates that undermine economic growth and reduce American competitiveness. At the risk of sharing too much information, I fantasize about a world without the internal revenue code. In addition to getting rid of […]

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