David Kirkpatrick

October 23, 2009

Bruce Bartlett comes out in favor of VAT

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:13 pm

Bartlett is an interesting read these days. One of the major supply-siders back in the day, his economic positions seem to have shifted a  bit. He says, and I tend to agree with him, he’s only reacting to the conditions on the ground and his fundamental economic beliefs are no different than when Reagan held the White House. Of course a value added tax was one tax vehicle in the supply-side economic toolbox.

In a move that probably makes the heads of his old pals in the GOP explode, Bartlett writes in Forbes an extended defense of, and recommendation for, a national value added tax.

From the middle link:

few years ago, I concluded that the magnitude of our looming fiscal problem was so enormous that higher taxes were inevitable–and that was long before the recent crisis made matters vastly worse. Moreover, I concluded that the magnitude of this tax increase is so great that it would seriously cripple the economy if accomplished through higher rates on an already dysfunctional income tax system. Reluctantly, I concluded that a value-added tax (VAT) is the best way to raise the revenue that would, in any case, be raised.

When I first made this suggestion in a Los Angeles Timesarticle in 2004, I was building on a large body of tax analysis showing that the VAT is the best known way of raising revenue. When I say “best” I mean that it raises large revenues from low rates and has minimal disincentive effects. In economists’ speak, it has a very small dead weight or welfare cost–the economic output lost by the tax over and above the revenue collected.

Based on the experience in other countries, I estimate that a U.S. VAT could realistically tax about a third of the gross domestic product (GDP), which would raise close to $50 billion per percentage point. If we adopted Europe’s average VAT rate of 20%, we could raise $1 trillion per year in 2009 dollars.

October 2, 2009

Is a value-added tax coming?

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:40 pm

I sure hope not.

From the link:

President Obama has been steadfast in his pledge that he won’t raise taxes on those making less than $250,000. But that doesn’t mean only high-income households will be subject to higher taxes.

An increasing number of influential Democrats and fiscal-policy experts have signaled that lawmakers will have to get a handle on the deficit. And they recommend seriously considering the creation of a value-added tax (VAT) on top of the federal income tax.

That could mean more money out of everyone’s pockets when buying virtually anything — sweaters, school books, furniture, pottery classes, dinners out.

A VAT is tax on consumption similar to a national sales tax. But it’s not just paid at the cash register. It’s levied at every stage of production. So all businesses involved in making a product or performing a service would pay a VAT. And then the end-user — such as the retail customer — ponies up as well.

December 2, 2008

Value-added taxation …

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:59 pm

… Bush 43’s parting “gift?” After eight years of cutting taxes and spending like a drunk monkey, George W. Bush may leave on last steaming pile on our lawn, value-added taxation. I’m all for cutting taxes, but I’m also all for cutting spending.

The Bush 43 years may be the doom of the GOP and maybe that’s not a bad thing since the RINO-accusing right seems to not get what it means to be conservative. Being an American conservative does not mean you want a christianist theocracy. It does mean letting government handle the big picture (like national defense) and then getting out of the way of all of us out there pursuing happiness and liberty.

From the link:

It’s highly possible, if not inevitable, that Americans will soon live under a radically different tax system – one that the pundits and politicians aren’t talking about.

It’s called a value-added tax, or VAT, and it’s been used for decades to pay the bills and sustain the immense growth of governments around the world, from France to Mexico to Australia. Created in 1954 by a French economist, the VAT is the most potent, efficient machine for revenue generation yet invented.

And if there’s one thing the U.S. government needs as the federal budget balloons, it’s a ton of new revenue. “The bottom line is that the income tax cannot support the level of spending that’s projected, something other countries faced years ago,” said Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan research institute. Today the VAT raises almost half of the total government revenue in France, and a similar share in most of the developed world.

The VAT is essentially a sales tax, except that it’s charged at each stage in the development of a product instead of at the moment when the product is sold.

Take, for instance, a car with a sticker price of $30,000 and a value-added rate of 10%. Ford might buy its steel and other materials for $8,000 plus $800 in a VAT tax. A dealer then pays $25,000 plus a $2,500 tax for the finished vehicle. Ford takes an $800 credit for the tax it already paid and sends $1,700 to the government. A buyer then pays $30,000 for the SUV and $3,000 in taxes. The dealer collects the $3,000, takes a credit for the $2,500 worth of taxes already paid, and sends $500 to tax authorities. Ultimately, the government pockets $3,000, or 10% of the retail price of the car, in taxes.