Sunday, April 11, 2004

The Economist 
Due to a confluence of factors I have started reading The Economist pretty regularly. There was an interesting editorial in last week's issue (the one with Bush on the cover) about the tax efficiency of Europe's welfare states. It reminded me of my thoughts on America's top issues. My ranking of the most pressing internal issues we face as a society starts something like this: 1. Health Care 2. Taxation 3. Spending

Conveniently, all three are intricately related. In fact, you could make a very good argument that the flaws in taxation led to (or exacerbated) the FUBARed status of Health Care and government spending. The editorial, Taxing the poor to pay the poor, pointed out that Europe has been able to keep up with the US in part due to the more efficient tax systems that they have. Efficiency, in tax terms, generally means that you structure the tax system to cause the least harm to the economy as a whole. Our system is pretty inefficient, given that it generally discourages working, investing, and saving. European systems, on the other hand, are much more likely to encourage investment and tax consumption over income.

More than ever, I am in support of a consumption tax for individuals combined with either a flat corporate tax or no corporate tax at all. You may think that's crazy, but think about this: no matter how you structure it, consumers pay all taxes. Always. If you slap a 50% tax on corporations that will only result in higher prices for consumers. Why not eliminate the middle man and just tax consumers directly? Anyway, I could go on, but I've probably bored enough people already. Feel free to use the comments section to flame away!

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