Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
What follows is from the September 15, 2014 Wall Street Journal
Any day now the White House and Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) will attempt to raise taxes on business, while making the U.S. tax code even more complex. The Obama and Schumer plans to punish businesses for moving their legal domicile overseas will arrive even as a new international ranking shows that the U.S. tax burden on business is close to the worst in the industrialized world. Way to go, Washington.
By neutrality the foundation means "a tax code that seeks to raise the most revenue with the fewest economic distortions. This means that it doesn't favor consumption over saving, as happens with capital gains and dividends taxes, estate taxes, and high progressive income taxes. This also means no targeted tax breaks for businesses for specific business activities." Crony capitalism that rewards the likes of green energy with lower tax bills while imposing higher bills on other firms is political arbitrage that misallocates capital and reduces economic growth.
The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
With the developed world's highest corporate tax rate at over 39% including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist.
The Tax Foundation benchmark compares developed economies with large and expensive governments, but the U.S. would do even worse if it were measured against the world's roughly 190 countries. The accounting firm KPMG maintains a corporate tax table that includes more than 130 countries and only one has a higher overall corporate tax rate than the U.S. The United Arab Emirates' 55% rate is an exception, however, because it usually applies only to foreign oil companies.
The new ranking is especially timely coming amid the campaign led by Messrs. Obama and Schumer to punish companies that move their legal domicile overseas to be able to reinvest future profits in the U.S. without paying the punitive American tax rate. If they succeed, the U.S. could fall to dead last on next year's ranking. Now there's a second-term legacy project for the President.
The new index also suggests taxation is a greater burden on business in the U.S. than in countries that American liberals have long praised as models of enlightened big government. Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden, with their large social safety nets, all finish in the top 20 on the new ranking. The United Kingdom manages to fund socialized medicine while finishing 11 spots ahead of the U.S.
The new champion of tax competitiveness is Estonia, where—liberals may be astonished to learn—people enjoy the rule of law and even paved roads, despite reasonable tax rates. (See the list nearby.)
Liberals argue that U.S. tax rates don't need to come down because they are already well below the level when Ronald Reagan came into office. But unlike the U.S., the world hasn't stood still. Reagan's tax-cutting example ignited a worldwide revolution that has seen waves of corporate tax-rate reductions. The U.S. last reduced the top marginal corporate income tax rate in 1986. But the Tax Foundation reports that other countries have reduced "the OECD average corporate tax rate from 47.5 percent in the early 1980s to around 25 percent today."
This is also a message to self-styled conservative "reformers" who lecture that today's economic challenges aren't the same as they were under Reagan but propose to do nothing about the destructive U.S. corporate tax code. They're missing what could be the single biggest tax boost to economic growth and worker incomes. Abundant economic research, by Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur among others, has shown that higher corporate taxes lead to lower wages.
Rather than erecting an iron tax curtain that keeps U.S. companies from escaping, the White House and Congress should enact reform that invites more businesses to stay or move to the U.S.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
A few years ago my youngest son - less than 10 at the time - wrote a letter to one of his favorite football players in the National Football League.
His letter to Ray Rice included a very nice drawing, complete with various crayon work, that depicted Mr. Rice running away from a defender during an NFL game.
A few weeks later, to his complete shock, he received an envelope from Baltimore, Maryland. In it was an autograph - that he had not asked for - of Ray Rice.
A couple of years ago my son asked for a Ray Rice jersey for Christmas and has worn it until it does not fit real well anymore.
The autographed picture was framed and put up on his wall - and proudly displayed and talked about to anyone who would listen. The jersey is still in his closet.
My thirteen-year old son still has not been told, or heard about, or read about what Ray Rice did on the elevator months ago.
I have grappled with what to do about all of this.
I have not - and will not - watch the TMZ video of his violent behavior. Why should I?
I will not show him the video either. Why would I?
My son has been raised in a home where domestic violence does not exist. He has also been raised in a home where sin does exist.
No one has ever filmed his father using bad language while he is angry. No one has filmed his mother and father being selfish or rude or prideful or angry. No one has ever filmed the sinful thoughts of his father or mother. Nor has anyone ever filmed the sins of my children.
To the outside world the Chambless family appears to be relatively nice, polite and generally giving.
The outside world has no video of my 48 years of bad decisions. If the outside world had the same film of me that God has, the outside world would not think much of me. Or you.
I feel terrible for Ray Rice and his wife. I feel terrible about what she went through and what they are both going through now. He has been tried, judged and convicted by the self-righteous among us. I have heard people judge him as if he is a _______________________________!!!!(FILL IN THE BLANK).
People all over the world - many of whom have done horrible, unrecorded things, have sentenced him, in their hearts, to a life of unemployment, misery and mockery.
The Bible is pretty clear about the standard by which we judge people. The same standard we use will be used on us.
Ray Rice committed a terrible sin, but not an unforgiveable one. His wife has forgiven him. God can forgive him.
As I leave my son's autograph on the wall and his jersey in his closet I wonder,
"Why can't the rest of us sinners forgive him?"