Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Taxes, Deficits, Debt And Markets

 Effective corporate tax rates in the US are now at 14%, the lowest level in history. Compare this with a high of 45% during the Reagan presidency. Yes,  the iconic Republican President taxed corporations three times more heavily than Democrat Biden does now.


Conversely, federal debt as a percentage of GDP is at 125%, very near the highest level in history. Compare this with a low of 30-50%, again during Reagan’s presidency. If you were around back then (I was) you remember the huge ado about “soaring Federal debt”. Seems silly now, eh?


Debt is created by persistent budget deficits. In 2020 federal deficit reached 15% of GDP, the highest since WWII. Yes, the pandemic certainly worsened the deficit, but it wasn’t so much better before. The US has been running serious deficits since 1975, except for a few years during Clinton. Notice the impact of the Debt Crisis in 2007-10, when the government spent hundreds of billions to save banks, mortgage lenders and insurance companies.


Every sane American should now be demanding higher taxes. Democrats in Congress are trying to put together a rather insipid increase, but even this may be watered down. All Republicans are against it and probably a couple of Democrats, too. Something will pass for sure, but probably nothing big enough to make a difference. Despite AOC and Bernie Sanders…


AOC At The Met Gala

So far, markets are betting that nothing will change materially. Hmmm… the Devil being in the details, I think what is more interesting to follow are proposals for higher wealth and capital gains taxes. Especially for the top 1-5% of Americans who not only own an astonishing share of national wealth (two, yes just two, Americans own more wealth than the bottom 140 million Americans combined), they are also the biggest tax cheats. Wealth and gains taxes may pass more easily, too, since they play well with voters (“soak the rich”). And - this time - the voters are right, too.

To paraphrase Churchill: Never before have so few benefited so much from the indebtedness and consumption of so many.



20 comments:

  1. Tax them at 95% above 250 million. No deductions allowed. Bezos would still be worth 10 billion.

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    1. We’re not at war Camabron 😄. But, say, a 50% tax on capital gains on a rolling 3 year annual mark to market basis sounds reasonable. Would take into account loses, too.

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    2. :) but who needs >250 million? Their entire net worth should be taxed. This is why they pay so little in taxes, or Buffet's secretary has a higher tax rate than Buffett himself.

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    3. ...we are at war Hells. At war vs. inequality, climate change and everything you write about here. War requires money.

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    4. https://www.facebook.com/168132096542955/posts/4639557606067026/

      4 trillion taxed at 95% above 250 million per billionaire would solve so much... 3.9 trillion would be collected in taxes.

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  2. Indeed, where it really counts, both parties are indistinguishable: They're both beholden to their corporate overlords. This is why the US is a full blown plutocracy. Democrats, the corporate DNC establishment, were more afraid of Bernie Sanders than Trump. They did everything, legal and not, to stump him. That's why Biden, a run of the mill neoliberal, is their man: He'll preserve the statu quo: Sky-high military spending, but no medicare for all; Biden opposes it.

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  4. Camabron is right. We are at war... we are at war with those who hide their filth behind the basic decency of the American people. The people who have committed treason against humanity. The blood of the dead call for vengeance. The ruined lives for justice. The broken families for solace. In a way, it is funny... those guys are quibbling over a few billion?

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    1. It’s actually trillions 😜

      Anyway, we are all at “war” with our habits.

      Yes, the Uber rich must pay a large share of their income and wealth in taxes since, after all, it is everyone else’s money combined that makes them so rich. High time they gave lots of it back.

      Nevertheless, it is up to all of us to change our Uber consumerism and espouse the 5Rs: Reject, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle. Do this for a week or two and you will be amazed…

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    2. laugh... I spend little beyond food and take only public transport; but as you say, they are habits from a different period of life.

      I am a bit extreme but it is not really that unusual in Asia... a lot of people have no money, failing that, they have no time... =)

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    3. but thanks for asking Americans to take the lead... only in America will that happen... it seems so natural to you guys.... I have yet to see it anywhere else...

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    4. Just a couple of days ago I passed a Louis Vuitton shop. There was a long line of customers waiting outside. Guess where they came from? Hint: they spoke Chinese (to be 100% honest, I wouldn't really be able to distinguish Mandarin from Korean) . Note: it happens daily... Another Note: I hear Chinese are the #1 real estate buyers in European countries which issue Golden Visas to any foreigner that invests at least 250.000 euro. Pre COVID, of course.

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    5. aye.... those guys... =)

      thing is China's population is very big... and a very small fraction are very rich... unfortunately, largely undeserving rich... from the environment viewpoint, I doubt they can contribute that much harm....

      from the social viewpoint, they have become the enemy of a lot of Chinese people. within an Asian society, the loss of support (no matter how rich you are) is a death sentence. the culling has already begun. you kill yours and we kill ours... deal? =)

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    6. The rich do impact the environment disproportionately as well akoc :(

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56723560.amp

      "...the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, according to the UN.

      The wealthiest 5% alone – the so-called “polluter elite” - contributed 37% of emissions growth between 1990 and 2015."

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    7. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02404-x

      "Prosperous people in the United States tend to consume food that requires large amounts of land and water to produce."

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    8. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/01/how-much-money-you-need-to-be-part-of-the-1-percent-worldwide.html

      top 1% is basically in the U.S...... mostly its upper middle class... (5% of the country).

      the percentage of Chinese in it is very low ..... 0.4 % of the country.... we are talking order of magnitude differences here.

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    9. sighz.... its hard for the US to know how poor others really are... I was in Chicago in the depths of winter.. indoors, you would never know it is winter.

      In China south of the Yangtze, there is no central heating.... Wuhan and Guangzhou are big cities... try living there in winter. The cold goes into the bones... Even the airport is not properly heated....

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    10. but I'm down for it.... lets kill off everyone that buys Gucci bags... we will make them class enemies =)

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    11. The problem in the US is not that the poor are dirt poor. The problem is the disparity between rich and poor, which is amongst the biggest in the world. And exists in no 1st world country. Such huge wealth disparity that is. I.e., the difference between the rich and poor in the US is so wide, it's just outstanding. Not to mention that thousands of families in US survive only thanks to government-issued food stamps. I.e., the working poor.

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    12. Two (2) Americans have more wealth than the bottom 140 MILLION Americans combined. Says it all.

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