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New “Tax Oppression Index” Shows Grim Toll of OECD’s Statist Agenda

Back in 2009, I shared the results of a very helpful study by Pierre Bessard of Switzerland’s Liberal Institute (by the way, “liberal” in Europe means pro-market or “classical liberal“). Pierre ranked the then-30 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development based on their tax burdens, their quality of governance, and their […]

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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part III

In the world of tax policy, there’s an intense debate about the “border-adjustable” provision that is part of the tax plan put forth by House Republicans, which basically would tax imports and exempt revenues generated by exports. It’s a bit wonky, but the simplest explanation is that GOPers want to replace the current corporate income […]

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World’s Best-Ever Receipt and a Serious Lesson about Tax Visibility

I don’t often use the literary tactic of referring to something as the “best-ever.” Indeed, the only time that phrase appeared in the title of a column was back in 2014 when I smugly wrote about the collapse of government-run single-payer healthcare in Vermont. Recalling what Justice Brandeis wrote about states being the “laboratories of […]

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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part II

I wrote yesterday to praise the Better Way tax plan put forth by House Republicans, but I added a very important caveat: The “destination-based” nature of the revised corporate income tax could be a poison pill for reform. I listed five concerns about a so-called destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT), most notably my concerns that […]

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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part I

The Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Speaker Paul Ryan, have proposed a “Better Way” tax plan that has many very desirable features. Death tax repeal Depreciation replaced with expensing Corporate tax rate dropped to 20 percent No deduction for state and local taxes And there […]

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The Best and Worst News of 2016

There was some genuinely good news in 2016, which is more than I can say for 2015 (my “best” development for that year was some polling data, followed by some small-ball tinkering). Though the good news for 2016 was mostly overseas. Here are the four things from around the world that made me happy this […]

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Shocker: Paul Krugman Makes a Sensible and Accurate Observation about Tax Policy

I’m not the biggest fan of Paul Krugman in his role as a doctrinaire advocate of leftist policy (he used to be within the mainstream and occasionally point out the risks of government intervention in his former role as an academic economist). It’s not just that he believes in big government. He also has an […]

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Debunking VAT Myths

The value-added tax is a very dangerous levy for the simple reason that giving a big new source of revenue to Washington almost certainly would result in a larger burden of government spending. That’s certainly what happened in Europe, and there’s even more reason to think it would happen in America because we have a […]

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Beating the VAT Horse Until It’s Dead

This is a very strange political season. Some of the Senators running for the Republican presidential nomination are among the most principled advocates of smaller government in Washington. Yet all of them have proposed tax plans that, while theoretically far better than the current system, have features that I find troublesome. Marco Rubio, for instance, […]

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More Arguments against the Value-Added Tax

The left is very clever about accepting “compromise,” so long as the result is a larger burden of government. This is one of the reasons why I’m so concerned about Senator Cruz’s proposal for a value-added tax. Even though he wants a VAT for good reasons (to finance lower tax rates and also to reduce […]

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Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Payroll Taxes, and the Value-Added Tax

My views on the value-added tax are very simple and straightforward. If we completely eliminated all income-based taxes, I would be willing to accept a VAT (or even a national sales tax) as a revenue source for government. But unless that happens, I’m unalterably opposed because it’s far too risky to give politicians two major […]

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The Value-Added Tax Should Be Political Poison for Advocates of Limited Government

It’s not my role to pick sides in political fights, but I am very interested in trying to make bad ideas radioactive so that politicians won’t be tempted to do the wrong thing. This is why I’m a big fan of the no-tax-hike pledge. The folks in Washington salivate at the prospect of getting more […]

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The Best and Worst Developments of 2015

What were the most noteworthy events from 2015? Regarding bad news, there’s unfortunately a lot of competition. But if I’m forced to pick the very worst developments, here’s my list. Resuscitation of the Export-Import Bank – I did a premature victory dance last year when I celebrated the expiration of the Export-Import Bank’s authority.  I […]

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Grading Tax Reform Plans

With all of the GOP presidential candidates proposing varying plans to reduce the tax burden and reform the tax system, I’m constantly asked which one is best. But that’s hard to answer because all of the proposals have features I like…as well as some features that leave me underwhelmed, or perhaps even worried. My fantasy […]

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The Value-Added Tax: A Nixonian Scheme to Fund Bigger Government

In early 2013, a reader asked me the best place to go if America suffered a Greek-style economic collapse. I suggested Australia might be the best option, even if I would be too stubborn to take my own advice. Perhaps because of an irrational form of patriotism, I’m fairly certain that I will always live in […]

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Two Small-Government Candidates Inadvertently Could Put America in a VAT of Trouble

Sometimes the best way to help the cause of freedom is to stop a bad idea. And that’s why I’m vociferously opposed to a value-added tax. Here’s what I wrote today for National Review. I start by explaining that it’s a bad idea to give Washington a big new tax to finance a larger burden […]

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The Left’s Dream Is a Value-Added Tax on the Middle Class, so Why Are Advocates of Small Government Helping to Advance that Awful Levy?

Some honest statists understand and acknowledge that you can’t have bigger government unless you target middle-income taxpayers. The New York Times endorsed higher taxes on the middle class in 2010. The then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also gave a green light that year to higher taxes on the middle class. In 2012, MIT professor and former IMF official […]

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The Ted Cruz Tax Plan: A Pro-Growth Restructuring of the Internal Revenue Code, but with One Worrisome Feature

The tax-reform landscape is getting crowded. Adding to the proposals put forth by other candidates (I’ve previously reviewed the plans offered by Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, and Donald Trump), we now have a reform blueprint from Ted Cruz. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, the Texas Senator unveiled his rewrite of the tax […]

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Rearranging the Deck Chairs Isn’t the Solution for Belgium’s Titanic Tax System

It’s time for a lesson in tax economics. Though hopefully today’s topic won’t be as dry and boring as my missives on more technical issues like depreciation and worldwide taxation. That’s because we’re going to talk about the taxation of workers, which is something closer to home for most of us. And our lesson comes […]

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Senator Rand Paul’s Very Good Tax Plan Needs One Important Tweak

Our nation very much needs fundamental tax reform, so it’s welcome news that major public figures – including presidential candidates – are proposing to gut the internal revenue code and replace it with plans that collect revenue in less-destructive ways. A few months ago, I wrote about a sweeping proposal by Senator Marco Rubio of […]

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