Smart Links 18 April 2012

Commentary on how countries go bust, thoughts on taxation, Chinese robots, and a left-centre merger plea.

Telling it like it is. Thanks to Ross of Toronto.

Sorisomail – Godfrey Bloom

American taxes.

The Atlantic -- How We Pay Taxes: 11 Charts
I'll come right out and say it: Taxes are awesome.

Related. Thanks to David of Victoria. (ed’s note – Canadian corporate income taxes raises about $30 billion, about to 13% of total revene or 3% points of GST).

The Atlantic -- Why We Should Eliminate the Corporate Income Tax
The FT has a piece today on the administration's plans to lower the corporate income tax rate in exchange for simplification--getting rid of a bunch of deductions.


5 key reasons: You can't tax a corporation, you only tax people; corporate taxation encourages firms to waste resources on avoiding tax; ending corporate income tax would eliminate the special treatment for dividends and capital gains; corporate income tax doesn't raise that much; and ending corporate taxation would reduce much of the incentive for lobbying.

Canadian tax expenditures.

Pdf below – Department of Finance -- Tax Expenditures and Evaluations 2010

Why the Buffet rule is more politics than smart tax policy.

New York Times -- The Buffett Rule: Right Goal, Wrong Tool
ON Monday, while many of us were scrambling to finish our tax returns, the Senate took up the Fair Share tax, which would require people with incomes over $2 million to pay an income tax rate of at least 30 percent.

As wages rise in China the push for automation increases.

Financial Times -- Robots can solve China’s labour problem
In late March, Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, and Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, signed an agreement to improve working hours, pay, union representation and health and safety conditions for the 1.2m workers at the Chinese assembly plants that crank out iPhones, iPads and other products.

Jean Chretien argues for a merger of the NDP and Liberals.

Winnipeg Free Press -- Chretien says Liberal-NDP merger would stabilize Canadian politics
Jean Chretien is still promoting the idea of Liberals and New Democrats merging into one federal party, despite strong objections to the NDP's approach to Quebec independence.

Canada Tax Expenditures.pdf1004.74 KB
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.