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.
Opinion: Regional disparities strike back in northern Italy
Two northern Italian regions have voted overwhelmingly in support of more autonomy from Rome. They are two of the country’s richest areas, frequently paying more in taxes than they receive in public spending, and the vote laid bare the dissatisfaction over this disparity. Worse, the money being transferred to poorer parts of Italy has not lifted them out of poverty. Italy can no longer sweep these issues under the rug. Federalism is now back on the table.
Taxation horrors and Europe’s frustration
The European Union wants to create new, complicated systems to tax technology companies. Doing so will only harm its economy. Instead of engaging in an economic tit-for-tat with the United States, it should look at how Americans have fostered innovation and built tech giants. Good places to start include increasing investment in defense, reducing restrictive regulations and becoming less risk-averse.
Opinion: The perfect tax (other than zero)
Tax systems are coming under increasing scrutiny in Western countries. Because governments do not like simple rules and transparency, they are most likely to support measures imposing more progressivity, including substantial levies on wealth, or adding value-added taxes on top of personal income taxes. But the simplest and fairest proposals would focus taxation on one activity – consumption – while keeping social solidarity on the expenditure side.