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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:21 PM

Atlantic - "How Low Are U.S. Taxes Compared to Other Countries?"

Democrats are asking for a balanced approach and fairly modest increases in taxes, yet the corporate media gives Republicans a free pass on their threats to crash the world economy if Democrats do not propose and agree to drastic cuts in Medicare and Social Security without any increases in taxes to mitigate such impacts. Of course, the corporate media neglects to point out that the U.S. is far away from anything approaching high tax burden, let alone socialism. Instead, the corporate media portrays a false equivalency that blames both sides.


Unlike most advanced economies, the U.S. don't supplement personal income taxes with a national sales tax, or value-added tax (VAT). Consumption taxes accounted for about a fifth of total U.S. revenue in 2008 (mostly at the state and local level) compared to an OECD average of 32 percent. In other words, the U.S. relies uniquely on personal tax rates to raise revenue -- and we have relatively low personal tax rates.

The best way to answer the question "Are U.S. taxes high or low compared to other countries?" is to look at taxes as a share of the economy. Here's how the U.S. stacks up to other OECD countries in a graph from the Tax Policy Center. (We're at the bottom of the stack, 25 percent below the average.)

For the next few years, there's no particular reason to expect there will be another major tax increase, but after 2020 the government's health care bill will start to make our spending levels look, for lack of a better term, European. There are any number of ways to stop the trend, from the extreme -- turning Medicare into a voucher-support program -- to the incremental -- tweaking Medicare and hoping that medical inflation slows down on its own. But either way, the U.S. won't have historically low interest rates forever, and it's probable that the third-lowest tax/GDP ratio in the developed world is a good deal for now, but not a sustainable deal for the long run.

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Reply Atlantic - "How Low Are U.S. Taxes Compared to Other Countries?" (Original post)
TomCADem Jan 2013 OP
DonCoquixote Jan 2013 #1
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #2
hunter Jan 2013 #3

Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:30 PM

1. Damned Low

That is why Florida, one of the lowest taxes in the lowest tax country, has tons of European "residents." We have British Banks, Canadian Banks, Real estate businesses that cater exclusively to British residents, ones that cater to Other European residents, etc. In a sign that Brazil is ready to be a Colonial power, we have have businesses that offer Rich Brazilians a chance to buy real estate, even advertising that they can keep the money here in case something "bad" happens back home. Worried about some Che Guevara type, no problem, come to Florida! People have commented that Miami has become the stronghold for the Latin American right wing elites!

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:19 AM

3. I think our leaders are aiming for a Mexican style economy...

... with a tiny percentage of very wealthy people who get anything they want, and a lot of poor people who will work for abusive employers and very little pay.

The USA has more in common with nations like Mexico than it does nations like Canada or the Western European Democracies. Well, except we got the Bomb first, built the biggest baddest military, and oil is traded using our currency. We're somewhat better than Mexico dealing with petty corruption, but not the big stuff. A cop who takes $20 can get busted, but investment corporations can pay billion dollar fines for stealing 50 billion dollars, a rich guy can personally fund political campaigns through false front organizations, banks can launder huge sums of money, things like that are overlooked.

I'd rather live in a progressive country with a higher tax rate and brakes on the kind of wealth and political power individuals can accumulate at everyone else's expense.

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