Russia breaks its social contract
In two decades of rule, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ensured stability by offering Russians an implicit social contract – a modest but secure social safety net in exchange for carte blanche in politics. Now, the country’s deepening financial and demographic crisis has put an end to this, forcing the government to make plans for increasing taxes and raising the retirement age by as much as eight years. No matter how cleverly handled, these austerity measures could trigger a serious backlash.
Opinion: The United States should rein in the global tax bureaucrats
President Donald Trump was right to disrupt the G7’s efforts to promote “fair, progressive, effective and efficient tax systems.” The goal may seem innocuous, but it is quite the opposite – favoring large, intrusive governments at the expense of individual economic freedom. One of the most damaging proposals to create a global tax bureaucracy is the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project – a pet scheme of the OECD.
GIS Dossier: Trumponomics
Eighteen months into his presidency, Donald Trump has already implemented several major economic initiatives, including big tax cuts and rewriting American trade policy. Neither the disaster foreseen by his critics nor the miracle envisioned by his supporters has materialized. Instead, there has been a mix of positives and negatives for the U.S. economy, just as GIS experts had predicted since the election. This GIS Dossier reviews the unexpected consequences of “Trumponomics” and the impact it is likely to have in the future.
New narratives emerging on EU finances
The European Union’s inflexible budget process – constrained by seven-year Multiannual Financial Frameworks (MFFs) – has left the bloc almost incapable of handling major crises. The resort to ad hoc solutions over the past decade has only made the situation worse. Now, reformers are considering new revenue sources, and even more revolutionary steps such as EU taxes or a separate eurozone budget.
Emmanuel Macron’s shrinking revolution
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to abolish France’s left/right political divide and shake up the country’s bloated bureaucracy. Yet his promised spending and tax cuts have been underwhelming, while his timid attempts to downsize the “layer-cake” administration have only stirred up fierce opposition. Time is running out for Mr. Macron to create a “shock of confidence” to get the economy moving.
Opinion: Europe’s misguided tax crusade
While the United States cuts taxes to spur growth, the European Union is blacklisting countries regarded as threats its fiscal system. The contrast speaks volumes about the economic priorities on both sides, and does not bode well for the long-term viability of Europe’s welfare states.
African countries move toward fiscal consolidation
Stung by falling commodities prices and growing donor fatigue, many African countries are expanding their tax bases. While at first blush this looks like a good move to liberate their economies from aid and resource dependence, it could also be a recipe for reducing investment and tamping down economic growth.
Republican tax bill ushers in a new era for U.S. investment
By offering significant tax relief to businesses and most taxpayers, the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans have created conditions for boosting the U.S. economy. For its effects to prove lasting, however, the tax reform will ultimately need to be accompanied by measures to constrain the untamed growth in government spending.
A differentiated view of the new U.S. tax bill
The Trump administration's long-overdue effort at tax reform – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – has gotten a bad rap from its critics. While they focus on its alleged favors toward the super-rich, the media have overlooked its benefits to small and medium-sized companies – the family firms that form the backbone of the American economy. Europe could learn a thing or two about this approach to boosting growth.
Irrational tax and regulatory systems
The true story of the Paradise Papers is less about shady business deals than about the byzantine regulatory and tax structures of developed countries. It is a lesson that politicians like French President Emmanuel Macron are studiously trying to ignore.