Review: The politics of anti-inequality

April 24, 2015

Anthony Atkinson's "Inequality" is a UK-centric manifesto to help the poor and restrain the rich. The Oxford academic's specific proposals are mostly sensible, but they dodge serious questions about the role of the welfare state and the balance of national and global justice.

Spanish government oddly passive on Catalonia risk

June 13, 2014

Barcelona and Madrid have reached an impasse over a referendum on Catalan independence. The government says it is open to constitutional reform but won’t take the initiative. It should.

“Tax less, spend less” policy could help China

By Wei Gu
January 9, 2012

Beijing takes too big a share of the pie. Fiscal revenue grew by a quarter in 2011. Lower taxes for the poor and retailers can help spur consumption. That may mean Beijing has to spend less on infrastructure, but higher levies on property and resources would help close the gap.

Social VAT – great idea for after the revolution

January 18, 2012

Also known as fiscal devaluation, a shift of taxes from labour to consumption might help euro zone members rebalance trade. But the actual effect would be limited. The real appeal is conceptual. When goods are ample and jobs are scarce, taxes should not discourage hiring.

Spain’s fiscal amnesty sends wrong message

April 11, 2012

The government is hoping to raise 2.5 billion euros with a no-questions-asked amnesty for tax evaders. The move could demoralise taxpayers, and may be ineffective. A better approach would be to beef up resources on tax inspection.

Japan’s retiree raid augurs political paralysis

June 20, 2012

The PM has cut a deal to double consumption tax and start paying off debt more than double GDP. It’s a good start if it passes. But raising taxes on Japan’s rising retiree class may be political suicide and further delay spending cuts needed to avoid a sovereign debt crisis.

U.S. buyout barons have new tax-dodge rivals: MLPs

February 27, 2013

The low tax rates on LBO bosses’ so-called carried interests save them $1.3 bln a year, an advantage critics want wiped out. But new data show investors in energy partnerships are now costing Uncle Sam a similar amount thanks to an outdated perk. Both loopholes should be closed.