Big government means high taxes
There is a growing myth that the rich are not paying their fair share in taxes and that the middle class is therefore overtaxed. This is not the case. High-income taxpayers across the OECD pay more than their share of the national income. The blame for heavy tax burdens in Western democracies lies squarely with the voters, who have consistently chosen larger government.
2018 Global Outlook: The Trump presidency, Year Two
After a year in the White House, Donald Trump is suffering as much from his own erratic personality as from the burden of office. Foreign policy in the traditional, institutional sense has ceased to exist, and the way the president and Congress operate suggests there will be little room for maneouver once domestic troubles start to mount. Miscalculation and overreaction become increasingly likely as the global arena grows more precarious.
Opinion: The OECD’s problematic global tax ‘standard’
The OECD’s global standard for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in tax matters is far less global, standardized and automatic than its name suggests. It is structured so that countries tend to apply the rules bilaterally, leading to a complicated web of regulations that the “standard” was designed to avoid. This is leading to higher costs and troublesome legislation.
The EU’s failed financial tax: good and bad news
Negotiations on a proposed tax on financial transactions in the European Union have stalled. The so-called “Tobin tax” is unlikely to come about in any meaningful form across the bloc. But its defeat also demonstrated the failure of the EU’s “enhanced cooperation” procedure, which could have provided a useful model for less centralized policymaking.
India’s push for land reform needs people power
Poor property records have proven a major obstacle to economic development in India. Their slipshod quality leads to property disputes, corruption and social problems. Numerous Indian government initiatives to digitize these records have had mixed results. But authorities will have to look beyond IT solutions – empowering citizens and eliminating high transaction costs will be necessary.
Saudi Arabia’s economic reform
Saudi Arabia has come up with a new strategy to diversify its oil-dependent economy. It would be easy to dismiss the McKinsey-endorsed plan as another paper scheme that will soon be forgotten. But with climate change and demography working against them, this time the Saudis may be serious.
Getting inequality wrong
Thomas Piketty captured something essential in the post-Lehman mood with his study of income and wealth differentials in the developed world. More’s the pity that his policy recommendations are misguided, in part because he missed the worst kind of inequality. During periods of economic crisis and slow growth, concerns ab...
Productivity is no free lunch
Europe is worried about low and declining productivity growth. Most politicians and experts have a simple solution: more high-tech investments and more education, especially for young people. But it is questionable whether this proposed fix is realistic or will bring about the desired outcome. The educational visions that...