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Tax Competition: A Necessary Liberalizing Process to Discipline the “Stationary Bandit” of Government

Mancur Olson (1932-1998) was a great economist who came up with a very useful analogy to help explain the behavior of many governments. He pointed out that a “roving bandit” has an incentive to maximize short-run plunder by stealing everything from victims (i.e. a 100 percent tax rate), whereas a “stationary bandit” has an incentive […]

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World’s Best-Ever Receipt and a Serious Lesson about Tax Visibility

I don’t often use the literary tactic of referring to something as the “best-ever.” Indeed, the only time that phrase appeared in the title of a column was back in 2014 when I smugly wrote about the collapse of government-run single-payer healthcare in Vermont. Recalling what Justice Brandeis wrote about states being the “laboratories of […]

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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part II

I wrote yesterday to praise the Better Way tax plan put forth by House Republicans, but I added a very important caveat: The “destination-based” nature of the revised corporate income tax could be a poison pill for reform. I listed five concerns about a so-called destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT), most notably my concerns that […]

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Concerns about the”Border Adjustable” Tax Plan from the House GOP, Part I

The Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Speaker Paul Ryan, have proposed a “Better Way” tax plan that has many very desirable features. Death tax repeal Depreciation replaced with expensing Corporate tax rate dropped to 20 percent No deduction for state and local taxes And there […]

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Hopes and Fears for Policy in 2017

Since yesterday’s column was a look back on the good and bad things of 2016, let’s now look forward and speculate about the good and bad things that may happen in 2017. I’m not pretending any of this is a forecast, particularly since economists have a miserable track record in that regard. Instead, the following […]

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The Flat Tax, Now More then Ever

On December 24, I wrote that all I wanted for Christmas is a spending cap. Alas, Santa did not manage to stuff that long-overdue policy down my chimney. But I’m not surprised. For years, the flat tax was on my Christmas list and that never happened either. I guess I must have been bad. Or […]

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