March 21, 2019

JAMES P. PINKERTON: Democrats Set the Wayback Machine to the 1930s. “From court-packing to Weimar Monetary Theory, their new ideas feel distinctly retro.”

We can observe that for most of the 20th century, the specters of war, fascism, and communism had the effect of trapping American capital in the U.S.; that is, money just wasn’t safe in most places. And yet today, thanks, ironically enough, to U.S. victories in various hot and cold wars, easily 20 countries and jurisdictions around the world qualify as not just tax havens, but plausible places to hold citizenship, and perhaps even to inhabit.

So while one can lament the ingratitude of tax exiles, what one can’t do—at least not without an extraordinary amount of effort—is collect money from them. To be sure, it’s possible to imagine an international regime in which enforcement and harmonization make tax exiling and other kinds of tax avoidance more difficult, even dangerous. But as we have learned, it’s hard to get the world to agree on much of anything. Moreover, there’s always the concern about killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

So perhaps the better answer is to set reasonable rates and then seek to truly collect revenues from rich individuals and profitable companies that never seem to pay anything.

Much more at the link. I’d just add that the current push for ultra-high income taxes isn’t about collecting revenue, but about increasing control and creating new opportunities for graft.