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International Monetary Fund strongly suggests countries tax the rich to fix defi

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Mark
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« on: October 16, 2013, 08:12:10 am »

International Monetary Fund strongly suggests countries tax the rich to fix deficit

Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes.

Tucked inside a report on public debt, the new tack was mostly eclipsed by worries about the US budget crisis, but did not escape the notice of experts and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

“We had to read it twice to be sure we had really understood it,” said Nicolas Mombrial, the head of Oxfam in Washington. “It’s rare that IMF proposals are so surprising.”

Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits.

But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled “Taxing Times”, the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities.

“Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution,” the IMF wrote, noting “steep cuts” in top rates since the early 1980s.

According to IMF estimates, taxing the rich even at the same rates during the 1980s would reap fiscal revenues equal to 0.25 percent of economic output in the developed countries.

“The gain could in some cases, such as that of the United States, be more significant,” around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, said the IMF report, which also singled out deficient taxation of multinational companies.

In the US alone, legal loopholes deprive the Treasury of roughly $60 billion in receipts, the global lender said.

The 188-nation IMF said that it did not want to enter into a debate on whether the rich should pay more taxes.

But, it said: “The chance to review international tax architecture seems to come about once a century; the fundamental issues should not be ducked.”

The IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, kept up the sales pitch for a more just fiscal policy.

“It’s clearly something finance ministers are interested in, it’s something that is necessary for the right balance of public finances,” said Lagarde, a former French finance minister, in a panel discussion Wednesday.

“There are lot of wasted opportunities,” she added.

After the French Socialist government’s proposal of a 75 percent tax on the wealthy was overturned by the country’s highest court last year, France’s finance minister cautiously welcomed the Fund’s new direction.

“If the core idea is that fiscal policy is a policy that aims to reduce inequalities, I wouldn’t know how to protest against that,” Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said at a news conference in Washington.

The minister said it was a “positive development” but he downplayed that it marked a “significant change” for the IMF.

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, which is leading the global battle against tax havens and tax evasion by multinationals, welcomed the IMF at its side.

“We’re happy to see this. There is a place for everyone. The Fund can bring a real contribution on economic analyses,” Pascal Saint-Amans, head of the OECD’s center for tax policy, told AFP.

In the corridors, however, a quiet skirmish is underway between the two organizations for the leadership of the tax-haven offensive ordered by the Group of 20 major economies.

The IMF’s Copernican revolution is still in the twilight stage. In its report, the IMF continued to push for a wider scope for value-added tax (VAT), a tax consumption tax that some say is inherently unfair, and on reductions in public spending.

“These proposals are heading in the right direction, but a lot remains to be done,” said Oxfam’s Mombrial, calling notably for the IMF to do more against illegal capital flows which, according to the NGO, cost billions of dollars in fiscal revenues in the developing countries.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/11/international-monetary-fund-strongly-suggests-countries-tax-the-rich-to-fix-deficit/
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2013, 12:56:39 pm »

This has been part of the agenda of the "emerging" markets - to let some of these 3rd world countries like India and Brazil to take a bigger piece of the pie, only at the expense of these Western countries like America and Europe.

And they'll even get politically correct by calling some of these 3rd world countries like India "developing" - I was in India last summer, and believe me, it was NOWHERE NEAR being "developing".
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 07:51:49 am »

The Coming Global Wealth Tax

Indebted governments may soon consider a big one-time levy on capital assets.


Between ObamaCare, Iran and last quarter's uptick in U.S. economic growth, taxpayers these days may be distracted from several dangers to come. But households from the United States to Europe and Japan may soon face fiscal shocks worse than any market crash. The White House and New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio aren't the only ones calling for higher taxes (especially on the wealthy), as voices from the International Monetary Fund to billionaire investor Bill Gross increasingly make the case too.

In his November investment commentary for bond giant Pimco, Mr. Gross asks the "Scrooge McDucks of the world" to accept higher personal income taxes and to stop expecting capital to be taxed at lower rates than labor. As for the IMF, its latest Fiscal Monitor report argues that taxing the wealthy offers "significant revenue potential at relatively low efficiency costs." The context for this argument is the IMF's expectation that in advanced economies the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product will reach a historic peak of 110% next year, 35 percentage points above its 2007 level.

Between 2008 and 2012, several of the developed world's most fiscally challenged nations (including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain) increased top personal income tax rates by an average of 8%. In the United States, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts pushed the highest federal income tax bracket to 39.6% from 35%.

What the IMF calls "revenue-maximizing top income tax rates" may be a good indication of how much further those rates could rise: As the IMF calculates, the average revenue-maximizing rate for the main Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development countries is around 60%, way above existing levels.

For the U.S., it is 56% to 71%—far more than the current 45% paid in federal, state and local taxes by those in the top tax bracket. The IMF singles out the U.S. as the country where raising top rates toward 70% (where they were before the Reagan tax cuts) would yield the most revenue—around 1.25% of GDP. And with a chilling candor, the IMF admits that its revenue-maximizing approach takes no account of the well-being of top earners (or their businesses).

Taxes can rise in ways both prominent and subtle. In the United Kingdom, the highly advantageous "resident non-domiciled" status—requiring wealthy residents to pay taxes on overseas earnings only if they "remit" the money to the U.K.—has become much harder to qualify for and more costly after recent reforms.

In France, President François Hollande finally managed to pass a 75% tax on income above one million euros and now he is seeking to limit the tax benefits of "life insurance contracts," a long-term savings instrument used by most wealthy households. As for the uniquely French "impôt sur la fortune," taxing those with net worth above 1.3 million euros, it is alive and well. Japan too is taking steps to increase personal taxation, though it hasn't yet targeted top earners in particular.
 
Of course these measures won't return the world's top economies to sustainable levels of debt. That could be achieved only through significant economic growth (the good way) or, as the IMF puts it, "by repudiating public debt or inflating it away" (the bad way). In October the IMF floated a bold idea that didn't get the attention it deserved: lowering sovereign debt levels through a one-off tax on private wealth.

As applied to the euro zone, the IMF claims that a 10% levy on households' positive net worth would bring public debt levels back to pre-financial crisis levels. Such a tax sounds crazy, but recall what happened in euro-zone country Cyprus this year: Holders of bank accounts larger than 100,000 euros had to incur losses of up to 100% on their savings above that threshold, in order to "bail-in" the bankrupt Mediterranean state. Japanese households, sitting on one of the world's largest pools of savings, have particular reason to worry about their assets: At 240% of GDP, their country's public debt ratio is more than twice that of Cyprus when it defaulted.
 
From New York to London, Paris and beyond, powerful economic players are deciding that with an ever-deteriorating global fiscal outlook, conventional levels and methods of taxation will no longer suffice. That makes weapons of mass wealth destruction—such as the IMF's one-off capital levy, Cyprus's bank deposit confiscation, or outright sovereign defaults—likelier by the day.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304355104579232480552517224
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2013, 12:58:17 pm »

Quote
For the U.S., it is 56% to 71%—far more than the current 45% paid in federal, state and local taxes by those in the top tax bracket...

...In France, President François Hollande finally managed to pass a 75% tax on income above one million euros

How can anybody within reason support, or even have the nerve, to suggest such high tax rates? It's insane.

And to make it worse, those people with that kind of income have the financial means to position that income in lower tax situations, so the government never gets that high a tax rate. It's just numbers on paper.

Seriously, how can anybody justify taking 75% of a person's income? It boggles the mind. Roll Eyes
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