Real Income Tax Reform Is Not About Inventing a Better Mouse Trap

Real Income Tax Reform Is Not About Inventing a Better Mouse Trap

The Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) proposed by Congress is intended to change how business income is taxed giving it features of a Value-Added-Tax (VAT), a cash-flow tax, and a consumption tax. The idea is to make the corporate income tax function as a quasi-VAT and less as an income tax on the earnings of U.S. producers. Clearly, violative of free trade principles affecting the U.S., the practice should be made the subject for U.S. trade re-negotiation, a challenge fully backed by the new Administration. This is a fair trade problem, not a problem about income taxation. The BAT “solution” makes for new problems. On several fronts, a BAT for the U.S. is likely to make matters worse. The driving force behind the BAT is the expectation that it will generate considerable tax revenue… Continue reading

Death to the “Death Tax”

Death to the “Death Tax”

The Death Tax is a product of the politics of envy and notions of wealth redistribution. As a killer of economic and job growth, the Death Tax deserves a speedy execution. Its confiscatory nature amounts to a government grab of … Continue reading

Are Capital Gains Income?

Are Capital Gains Income?

The history of taxing capital gains as income stems from a dubious, and at the time much criticized, Supreme Court decision that reversed prior Supreme Court decisions holding capital gains not to be income. Job changes are not “income” transactions. Nor, are changes in capital. Income is what “comes in” from having the job, just as it’s what “comes in” from having the investment of capital; e.g., dividends, interest, rents, and including business income. Indeed, capital gains are not considered to be income by economists, who exclude them from their computations of GDP. The exclusion is because capital gains are not income in the economic sense. Continue reading