James Pethokoukis

Why the GOP shouldn’t embrace calls for a VAT

October 7, 2009

You can add New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt to the parade of liberals, Democrats, Obama allies and fellow travelers — such as John Podesta, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Volcker, and Robert Rubin — calling for higher taxes, preferably a value-added tax.

VAT attack! More on Obama, Pelosi and the value-added tax

October 7, 2009

When you start looking for signs of the VAT virus, you start seeing them everywhere. Here are some excerpts from Howard Gleckman over at TaxVox, the blog of the Tax Policy Center:

A different kind of “second stimulus”

October 6, 2009

Larry Kudlow speaks or, rather, writes:

As for the second stimulus package, here’s my plan: Go for growth. Reduce tax rates to provide growth incentives, something Team Obama has avoided like the plague. Cut the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, and accompany that with a small-business tax cut from 35 to 25 percent. And leave the Bush tax cuts alone. Don’t let them expire in 2011. That’s cap-gains, dividends, and the top personal rate.

VAT Attack! Greenspan: Raise taxes with a value-added tax

October 2, 2009

At the Atlantic magazine symposium I am attending, former Federal Reserve chairman again said he thinks taxes are going up and that a value-added tax would be the “least worst” way of doing it.  This dovetails nicely with what I wrote yesterday:

Stop using tax cuts as industrial policy

October 1, 2009

Larry Kudlow is dead solid perfect here:

But here’s what I don’t like about this story: Big, central-planning, government-directed tax preferences for housing, like the $8,000 dollar tax credit for new buyers. Or even the popular mortgage interest deduction. And let’s not forget perhaps the biggest one of all: Home sales are basically capital-gains-tax free. That passed back in 1997. Many people (including myself) believe it helped create the bubble.

The untried economic solution: tax cuts

October 1, 2009

If Germany can do it, why not America? More evidence of the wonder-working power of tax cuts, this time from Robert Barro and Charles Redlick:

Obama’s not-so-secret plan to raise taxes

October 1, 2009

Does President Obama have a secret plan to raise taxes on middle-class Americans — and,well, pretty much everybody else — with a European-style, value-added tax? Actually, it’s not such a big secret. Connect the dots:

Will financial markets force a $400 billion tax hike or a VAT?

September 30, 2009

So I am at this CAP thing on the deficit where talk of higher taxes was hot and heavy. Both Robert Rubin and Roger Altman both seemed to imply that the financial markets will force action sooner rather than later on the deficit — and that means higher taxes.

Is Obama planning a VAT surprise for America?

September 28, 2009

So John Podesta, co-chairman of Obama’s presidential transition team, says a value-added tax is “more plausible today” than ever, adding that “there’s going to have to be revenue in this budget.” A few thoughts:

How to kill a democracy

September 25, 2009

The Tax Foundation does the math:

New reports from the Tax Foundation show that President Obama’s policy proposals will increase the financial dependence of middle-income Americans on the federal government.