Interesting graphic article today discussing tax rates in many developed countries, from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The general takeaway of the report is that taxes have increased globally — they now amount to 36% of Gross Domestic Product of the world’s developed nations.

While we hear lots of noise as to the tax burdens in the U.S., let’s see how we compare to the rest of the world:

Look at how over-taxed we are in the United States:

1018bizwebtaxes

So either the entire planet is vastly over taxed — or we here in USA, speaking relatively, aren’t shouldering such a bad tax burden after all . . .

>

Source:
OECD countries’ tax burdens back up to 2000 historic highs
17/10/2007
http://www.oecd.org/document/16/0,3343,en_2649_201185_39495248_1_1_1_1,00.html

Table A. Total tax revenue as percentage of GDP   
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/44/41/39494985.pdf

Table B. Taxes on General Consumption as percentage of GDP    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/44/43/39495009.pdf

Table C. Tax structures in the OECD-area
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/44/20/39495035.pdf

Taxes in Developed Nations Reach 36% of Gross Domestic Product
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON
NYT, October 18, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/18/business/worldbusiness/18tax.html

Category: Economy, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

99 Responses to “Global Taxes as a Percentage of GDP”

  1. Pool Shark says:

    I don’t give a rip about tax rates as a percentage of GDP…

    What I care about is effective tax rates by income level.

    Let’s see that chart.

  2. peter from oz says:

    good table
    I thought we’d be in it too
    rgds pcm

  3. skateman says:

    Does this number include Social Security tax revenues? What about state and property and every other G.D. little fee/tax we’re hit with. When you add all that up, it’s easily >50% of income.

  4. mbartv says:

    And remember, a huge % of our budget goes for the war machine, blackwater, etc. real expenditures on our people, not much.

  5. scorpio says:

    interesting that all those countries above us with higher tax burdens also have the highest standards of living in the world and are places American tourists who value quality of life want to visit or even relocate to

  6. inquiringmind says:

    I guess I won’t become a Republican after all…

    I will also put off that move to Sweden.

    IM

  7. Mr. Flibble says:

    or we here in USA, speaking relatively, aren’t shouldering such a bad tax burden after all . . .

    Ehhm, no.

    Our tax burden is primarily in inflation, I suppose you might say a “hidden tax”. Those other countries, as far as I know, haven’t debased their currency nearly as badly as we have. And so every person in the US, legal or illegal, rich or poor, is paying for our government’s overspending and bad fiscal policies. We just don’t have to file a 1040 is all.

  8. knorth says:

    I’d like to see a chart that had “economic freedom” on one axis plotted against tax rates on the other. I don’t want the social welfare structure that exists in many of the higher tax countries. Isn’t that what keeps us competitive?

  9. knorth says:

    I’d like to see a chart that had “economic freedom” on one axis plotted against tax rates on the other. I don’t want the social welfare structure that exists in many of the higher tax countries. Isn’t that what keeps us competitive?

  10. Anitra says:

    Interesting. But I’d like to see what those taxes go to – I’d bet that the American public gets less $$ back in services than, say, Canadians do, since such a large proportion goes to debt and funding the military.

  11. foo says:

    What incite from knorth! Those top 8 tax countries are horrible wastelands of non-competitiveness and most of their populations live in squalor and poverty too.

    Tax = suckiness. Political economy made easy.

  12. vega says:

    What about inflation, the cruelest tax? Looks like DXY is down 7% YTD. Gotta add that in.

  13. vega says:

    …Sorry, I’m a little jaded: I live in NYC and pay out close to 50% in taxes. But it’s the choice I’ve made…

  14. Mike M says:

    Very misleading. Tax revenue is different than government expenditures. Debt growth is not included.

  15. Eddie says:

    Yeah, this probably only shows federal level taxes. Factor in state and city and god knows how many other taxes, and I’m sure we’re much closer to the rest.

    Additionally, the new way to tax the populace without their consent is now via toll-roads. In Miami, they place a toll on an existing road and everybody’s ‘taxes’ (those who use it for work every day) just went up by $400/year. If they called it a tax, there would be a riot. But since it’s ‘only’ a toll, nobody cares.

  16. realty-based lawyer says:

    Interesting chart. A question: what would happen if you added each country’s annual deficit to its tax burden (including user fees, local taxes, etc.)?

  17. spencer says:

    The biggest difference in the US and Europe is treatment of healthcare. In Europe close to 100% of healthcare is paid through taxes while in the US it is about half.

  18. echo boom says:

    the fact that health care is tied to employment is holding us back, knorth, not making us more competitive. How much more productive could workers be if they weren’t scared of trying a new line of work because of health care.

    And we already have universal health care in the US: The emergency room. And it’s the most expensive place to pay for it.

    But the greedy folks the Republicans get there power from would rather just point fingers and make folks feel like its all these “poor people” that are holding ‘em back.

  19. Blissex says:

    «effective tax rates by income level.
    Let’s see that chart.»

    Pointless, because it is usually around 30% (currently more like 28%) irrespective of income level, except that people on rather low and rather high incomes pay be less than the average, and those in the middle a bit more.

    That 30% includes all federal, state and local taxes.

    The top 20% of households (taxable income above $60-65,000) get around 54% of total income and pay about 25% of their income in federal taxes and 5% in state taxes, and the bottom 80% have about 46% of total income and pay about 14% of their income in federal taxes and 16% in state taxes.

    State taxes are almost only sales taxes, and federal taxes are mostly but not just income taxes.

    All these numbers fluctuate by 1-2% depending on tax policy and the economic climate.

    Note also that reported income of high earners is much more likely to be lower than their true income than that of low earners, as high earners can afford much better tax avoidance (this is the reason why ”no documentation” mortgages used to exist well before they were sold to impecunious people).

  20. Adam says:

    “What incite from knorth! Those top 8 tax countries are horrible wastelands of non-competitiveness and most of their populations live in squalor and poverty too.”

    This could not be more wrong. Scandinavians generally enjoy the highest standards of living, and, more importantly, the longest life expactancies. In fact, we lag pathetically behind many of those nations. It would be interesting to study the correlation between taxes (or Gini coefficient) and life expectancy.

  21. Blissex says:

    «those top 8 tax countries are horrible wastelands of non-competitiveness and most of their populations live in squalor and poverty too.»

    Sweden, Denmark, France, Norway, Finland, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands? Have you ever visited Europe? Crazy…

    «if you added each country’s annual deficit to its tax burden»

    That’s difficult to do because there the “deficit” is not defined quite the same everywhere — off-budget items can be pretty big.

    «Yeah, this probably only shows federal level taxes.»

    It is taxes at all levels. Most USA residents pay an almost flat 30% of income in taxes at all level.

  22. Global Savings Mutt says:

    Ha! Google only beat by a dime…40x earnings, it beats by a dime.

  23. drbrightside says:

    Barry,

    Great post. But I’d like to expand on some previous posts. Does this include sales taxes, social security taxes, property taxes, etc, or just income tax? I can tell you Sweden just got rid of their property tax and their wealth tax. Though they do have a very high tax on consumption including, gas, alcohol, and VAT. I think it would be more meaningul to add the all up and compare. I believe the economists posted something on the subject within the last year.

  24. Woodshedder says:

    Holy Cow I can’t believe the borderline socialists (if not true socialists) that inhabit these comments sections. Don’t you all know this blog would not be here was it not for free-market capitalism (go ahead, BR, insert your jibe about it not being a free market in reality).

    Anyway, how many of you have actually spoken to anyone in the supposed great countries about what it is like to have the gov’t in control of your healthcare?

  25. Robert says:

    Barry – The entire world is overtaxed.

  26. Michael M says:

    I guess there are mainly two lenses through which to look at what the right tax level is: one is economic freedom (how much should the government confiscate) and the other is how much you get for your tax dollars.

    I live in Denmark, earn approx $200k a year and pay approx 55% income tax (60% marginal), 25% VAT, 180% tax on cars and gas is $7 a gallon. In return I get free excellent healthcare, free good schools and excellent universities, great subsidized childcare and dental care, great roads, decent pensions, generous unemployment benefits, low crime rates and good public services. Our country has lower unemployment, higher GDP per capita, no foreign debt and a balanced budget. This is due to sensible economic policies, a high level of education and a flexible labour market where it’s easy to hire and fire.

    Maybe another dirty little secret is that high taxes lead to high salaries which leads to focus on products and services with high knowledge content. Thus Denmark has very little basic production, but lots of biotech, IT, telecom, renewable energy, high-end design and financial services.

    Most people here would like lower taxes, but they also don’t want to loose a quality of life that is higher than in the US for 95% of the population. The trade off is slowly moving towards lower income taxes, higher taxes on energy and water and slightly worse public services. Worth noting is that teachers, nurses and childcare workers are for the first time in many decades demanding significantly higher pay and getting backing from large parts of the population and nearly half of the political parties. The general view on what we should pay such people is changing – this is a trend that will be seen in many other countries as there is nothing country-specific about it.

    It seems to me that the US has ended up with the worst of both worlds: taxes that are high enough that people feel overtaxed, but low enough that world class public services are not possible. And with poor services people feel even more overtaxed and lose faith in government.

  27. Mr. Flibble says:

    It seems to me that the US has ended up with the worst of both worlds: taxes that are high enough that people feel overtaxed, but low enough that world class public services are not possible.

    Your first insight is dead on. Given the level of debt and other burdens individual citizens have taken on, even a modest tax hike adds considerable stress. It’s much more politically expedient now for government to just print more money and let citizens pay for it via inflation. Inflation, it’s the new tax.

    As to the second insight, I must disagree. We have a ruling political party committed to the ideology that government is the enemy. And when they run the government, they run it like an enemy would. Just to show us how bad government is. Hard to get good results from taxes with those folks in charge.

  28. The Dirty Mac says:

    Here I sit trying to arrange a car service for some foreign visitors. Two immigrant-controlled car services I called only take cash. I guess maybe they think its easier to pay their taxes in cash rather than going through the hassle of writing a check.

  29. whitespiral says:

    Doesn’t this have to do with the public sector’s contribution to the GDP though? (i.e. More tax revenue enters the government coffers when corporations are privatized)

  30. Kevin P says:

    “So either the entire planet is vastly over taxed — or . . .”

    Obviously, the planet is vastly overtaxed.

  31. Veeder says:

    I’d like to see YOY GDP growth over the past decade or so included in this chart. I suspect we’d see an inverse relationship between taxes and GDP growth.

  32. VJ says:

    The problem is that the chart doesn’t address the breakdown of who the nation’s income flows to and what part of the tax burden they pay.

    knorth +Michael,

    As to which nations have the most “freedom“, from the United Nations Human Freedom Index (It’s a few years old, but not much has changed):

    38 Sweden
    38 Denmark
    37 Netherlands
    36 Austria
    36 Finland
    35 France
    35 Germany
    34 Canada
    34 Switzerland
    33 Australia
    33 United States
    32 Japan
    32 Britain

    (0 = least freedom, 40 = most freedom)

    skateman + vega,

    NOBODY in America pays anything even close to 50% of their income in taxes. (Hint: You don’t add up brackets. Brackets are not percentages of income.)
    .

  33. Pool Shark says:

    Rather than something so esoteric as tax rates as a percentage of GDP, how about corporate tax rates by country:

    http://tinyurl.com/2eu5hd

    And we wonder why American businesses have been leaving the country in droves?

  34. The Dirty Mac says:

    “We have a ruling political party committed to the ideology that government is the enemy.”

    I’ll remind myself of that the next time I disrobe at the airport or try to figure out Sarbanes Oxley compliance.

  35. Brian B. says:

    There are always some interesting comments posted when a tax issue is raised. I am confused to why someone who doesn’t make a million a year says its okay for someone who does, to pay more in taxes? I do not make a mill/yr, but I dont expect the ones that do to pay more. Most have to earn it just like we do. I know television likes to make it seem like its all gravy, but usually those high paying jobs comes with the same high level of stress. I know I will get all kind of rude responses to this post. But I just dont see how “I” could demand money from someone else to help pay for my resposibilities? just a thought I am not trying to make any political statements here… I wonder if just a consumption tax instead of an income tax would solve all of this?

  36. REW says:

    So if the rest of the world jumps off a high tax bridge, we are supposed to as well?
    Don’t compare us to old, slow growth Europe. Compare us to the fast growing Eastern Bloc nations. They are embracing low, flat tax schemes and harnessing very strong growth as a result.

  37. kl says:

    2 woodsheder,

    The health care here in New Zealand is great. I understand the my taxes might be higher because of it. It sure beats paying a tax to Blue Cross and also paying out of pocket for my family’s medical care.

  38. Pool Shark says:

    VJ,

    “NOBODY in America pays anything even close to 50% of their income in taxes. (Hint: You don’t add up brackets. Brackets are not percentages of income.)

    You’re kidding, right?

    Maybe you earn only minimum wage, and get your earned income credit every year, but most households with two wage-earning professionals pay around half their income in taxes.

    Perhaps you are looking only at federal tax brackets, but you forget:

    1) State Income taxes
    2) Property taxes
    3) Fica Taxes
    4) Medicare Taxes
    5) State Disability Insurance Taxes
    6) State sales taxes
    7) Local sales taxes
    8) Gasoline taxes ($0.37/gal in Cali)
    9) Vehicle License fees

    And then there’s the grandaddy of them all that’s about to hit about 23 million Americans (who thought they were only ‘middle-class’) right between the eyes:

    The Alternative Minimum Tax.

    I’m sure I’ve left out a ton of other taxes and ‘fees’ (telephone taxes?, energy surplus taxes on utilities bills? etc.), but you get the drift.

    If you really think you’re not paying enough in taxes, please feel to contribute more yourself; I myself have paid far more than my fair share.

  39. mickslam says:

    Yeah, you know, tax rates in Japan about the as ours has produced 18 years of extremely low GDP growth, therefore our taxes are dangerous to the growth of this country.

  40. The Dirty Mac says:

    “The Alternative Minimum Tax”

    Wait a minute there. The superrich have to pay their fair share.

  41. The Dirty Mac says:

    I would like to see the cost of regulation (compliance and economic dislocation) as a percent of GDP plotted along with the tax revenue. I don’t know if things would look as “favorable” to the USA as they do in the above chart.

    Also, every country on the above list is having its national defense subsidized by the USA.

  42. donna says:

    Woodshedder,

    Sorry to ruin your fantasy world, but teh Intertubes started as a government project.

    Just sayin’.

  43. Estragon says:

    Woodshedder – “…you all know this blog would not be here was it not for free-market capitalism”

    Bah. This blog is brought to you by The Internet, the foundation for which was DARPA (government-military funded). It’s more accurate to say that were not for a serendipitous interaction between government, academia, freely shared content, and free-market capitalism, this blog would not be here.

  44. Rodger says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    I have always believed (well, not always…like many adolescents, I toyed with libertarianism) that taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.

    That chart proves this to be true. The most civilized countries have the highest tax rates.

    “I’ve got mine, f*ck you” is not very civilized.

    –rgc

  45. The Dirty Mac says:

    Roger, speaking only for myself, I want some of yours.

  46. Groty says:

    Payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, estate taxes, whiskey taxes, cigarette taxes, telecommunications taxes, gasoline taxes, and a zillion others and it “only” amounts to 28% of GDP?

    I’m skeptical.

  47. jp says:

    should be looking at gdp change from 1975 to 2006 as a comparison, not just 05 vs 06…

  48. Mike in Denmark says:

    “Don’t compare us to old, slow growth Europe”
    That old chestnut again? You might want to read this http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/05/AR2007100501041.html but I know your type rarely cares about facts.

  49. VJ says:

    Pool Shark,

    Rather than something so esoteric as tax rates as a percentage of GDP, how about corporate tax rates by country: http://tinyurl.com/2eu5hd

    Too bad Corporate America doesn’t actually pay those rates:

    GAO FINDS 94% OF ALL U.S. COMPANIES PAID LESS THAN 5% — AND 61% PAID NOTHING AT ALL

    In 2000 alone, 94% of all U.S. corporations paid less than 5% of their total income in corporate taxes, the GAO said in a report… Among the largest corporations — the 1% of all corporations that owns 93% of all corporate assets — 82% paid less than 5% of their income in taxes.

    MSN MONEY LINK

    And that was BEFORE the additional tax cuts from 2001 forward.

    And we wonder why American businesses have been leaving the country in droves?

    Cheap wages. No regulation. Notice they don’t live there.

    You’re kidding, right?

    Nope.

    Maybe you earn only minimum wage, and get your earned income credit every year…

    Nope.

    …but most households with two wage-earning professionals pay around half their income in taxes.

    Not even close.
    .

  50. JJL says:

    I dunno, I don’t feel like I don not pay enough taxes. Seeing that I do not use any services the goverment offers, maybe I can get a rebate? If I believed the US government was at all effective in anything they do, perhaps I would be ok with a higher tax rate. Does anyone here REALLY want our elected officials to have any more money?

  51. F says:

    Why do we have to go through this every time?

    According to the CBO:

    Individual income taxes = 8.0% of GDP
    Corporate income taxes = 2.7% of GDP
    Social Insurance Taxes = 6.4% of GDP

    According to the Center for Tax Justice:

    Sales taxes = 4.7% of GDP
    Property taxes = 3.1% of GDP

    Total: 24.9% (clearly something is missing, but still no where near 50%)

    Even the Heritage Foundation agrees that all taxes amount to 25.4% of GDP

    Pool Shark: How about this fact instead? The US is 27th out of 29 OECD countries in corporate income tax as a percent of GDP. While the nominal corporate tax rate in the US is higher, there are many more exemptions, so the total receipts are lower.

  52. Mr. Flibble says:

    Roger, speaking only for myself, I want some of yours.

    The Republican platform in its most succinct and honest form.

  53. F says:

    Veeder – your suspicion is 100% wrong. There’s basically no correlation.

    Real GDP growth in %, in same order as above:

    4.7 – Sweden
    3.2 – Denmark
    2.1 – France
    4.6 – Norway
    5.5 – Finland
    1.9 – Italy
    3.3 – Austria
    2.9 – Netherlands
    2.8 – United Kingdom
    3.9 – Spain
    2.7 – Germany
    1.3 – Portugal
    2.7 – Canada
    5.3 – Turkey
    6.0 – Ireland
    2.7 – Switzerland
    3.2 – United States
    4.2 – Greece
    2.2 – Japan
    4.8 – South Korea

  54. Norman says:

    I haven’t read all of the comments but BR should know better in presenting this that most all of those countries have government paid for medical care and we don’t. The chart should exclude those costs from other countries for a proper comparision.

    Of course, this bit of deception comes from the NYT.

  55. Physicist says:

    The last similar survey I saw said it only included taxes at the federal level. What about this one?

  56. F says:

    Oh, yeah, that’s what I forgot.

    Excise taxes: 1.3% of GDP
    (gas, cigarette, alcohol taxes among others)

  57. F says:

    Pool Shark, Groty,

    Just because you can name a lot of taxes doesn’t mean they amount to much. All of your categories are covered in the data I gave in my previous posts. It’s all readily available on the internet.

  58. Ted Craig says:

    What about Japan? Lower taxes and not exactly hell on earth. Also, Switzerland is pretty close to even with the U.S. and, from what I hear, a nice place to live.

    Then there’s Italy. Are they really getting that much bang for their buck?

    Anyway, these charts are next to meaningless. None of these countries is close to the size of the U.S. Nor do they have the same demographics.

  59. F says:

    Just so it’s crystal clear, this study counts all taxes at all levels.

    Federal revenues from all taxes = 18.4%

    State and local revenues from all taxes = ~8-10%

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the “death tax” = 0.15% of GDP

  60. F says:

    Pool Shark said, “What I care about is effective tax rates by income level.”

    Here you go:

    Bottom 20%: 19.7%
    next 20%: 23.3%
    middle 20%: 27.0%
    next 20%: 29.8%
    top 20%: 31.9%

    BTW, these include all income, property and sales taxes at federal, state and local levels. Of course, they are a national average, since state and local taxes vary a lot by location, your results might be different.

  61. Brett says:

    Great discussion, less tax the better, let capitalism run the market

  62. P. K. says:

    As to corp. taxes here being as high as they are relative to all other countries, given that we spend as much on our military as all other countries combined, it makes sense to me.

  63. P. K. says:

    As to corp. taxes here being as high as they are relative to all other countries, given that we spend as much on our military as all other countries combined, it makes sense to me.

  64. The Dirty Mac says:

    “Roger, speaking only for myself, I want some of yours.

    The Republican platform in its most succinct and honest form.”

    But I am a victim. I only ask for my fair share.

  65. The Dirty Mac says:

    “GAO FINDS 94% OF ALL U.S. COMPANIES PAID LESS THAN 5% — AND 61% PAID NOTHING AT ALL’

    Thank you for pointing that out VJ. At least 94% (probably close to 100%) of US companies expend resources to avoid taxes that could be used to produce goods and services. So we encourage underutiliztion of capital to generate little or no tax revenue.

  66. rickrude says:

    the larry kudlow effect….. the US is a leader in low taxes, taxes should be eliminated completely, all citizens to fend for themselves since there won’t be any roads, sewers, the army, medicare, etc.

    Way to go larry.

  67. alexd says:

    OK here goes.

    I see a lot of statements made that seem to pertain to philosophy and paying taxes. The question I think we should ask is do we see what the real question is? I can provide well thought out answers according to my philosophy or what I think is a correct approach to the situation the question that I am trying to answer and still be totally off base.

    All this talk about lowering taxes currently is dumb. We have managed to spend our way back into debt. Congress has borrowed its way into debt. The interest we pay on that debt is a form of a tax. In the sense that funds that might have gone to internal needs goes to banks and foreign countries. It is a limited and very shortsighted view to only worry about how much tax you pay if you do not care to make sure the money is spent wisely.

    Ok next does America exist for the betterment of all its people and what we all own “the commons”. Or do we only believe a total Ayn Rand approach is the way to go?

    Which has worked best?

    It doesn’t matter.

    In the sense that I see a lot of total black and white thinking above. In many ways capitalism has a lot going for it. But there are some things that a corporate view does not work well. Look at the mercenaries
    In Iraq who is paid many times more than our brave service people. All this allows avoiding a draft, which is probably cheaper but would have negative political consequences. Heard blackwater is up to about a billion in US contracts. Is that what you think is the best use of money? Not like we have to repair our infrastructure or bring our Internet up to world standards. Or cure cancer etc fill in what ever you would like to add.

    Some problems cover a lot of territory and affect things outside of a bordered territory. Pollution problems, economies etc are things where what they do might affect things all over the country.

    We have to ask ourselves. Is America comprised of all it’s citizens or just there to benefit those with money. I think it is something a bit of each. We are so reluctant to steal good ideas on how to live from other countries, we can’t swallow our pride and admit there are things that we could do to improve things that other people have done?

  68. rickrude says:

    I dunno, I don’t feel like I don not pay enough taxes. Seeing that I do not use any services the goverment offers, maybe I can get a rebate? If I believed the US government was at all effective in anything they do, perhaps I would be ok with a higher tax rate. Does anyone here REALLY want our elected officials to have any more money?

    Posted by: JJL | Oct 18, 2007 7:32:13 PM
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    The US actually provides very little in social services from whatever taxes it collects, compared to the industrialized world. But heck, someones gotta pay for war. And as mentioned , the war is a cash cow for the arms industry.

  69. Rodger says:

    >>>”Roger, speaking only for myself, I want >>>some of yours.

    >>The Republican platform in its most >>succinct and honest form.”

    >But I am a victim. I only ask for my fair >share.

    Thank you for proving my point so effectively.

    –rgc

  70. touche says:

    If health care were tallied as a tax in the US, our tax rates would be much higher. Our health care system is a nightmare and we’d be better off if it were a tax.

  71. David says:

    When we were young we paid little taxes, now that we are getting older we are paying more taxes. Countries are like people, the older they get the more taxes they pay.

    “don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that man behind the tree”

    “There ‘s daggers in Tax men’s smiles”. Shakespeare – Macbeth

  72. montaigne says:

    Touche,

    You must be joking about health care? Which other services should we tally as a tax?

    US health care is actually quite good compared to the rest of the world. The swiss are doing well and I might go that route, but really the “reforms” in Denmark would be considered communist here. The Canadians and the British have horrible health care unless you’re a fan of rationing to save costs.

    American health care is a tax code issue. Once we divorce employees from employer provided health care by providing the same tax write offs and not “universal health care” or gov’t mandates, things will be fine.

    Check out, gov’t interference in markets (wage controls in the 30′s and early 40′s) led to employer tax write offs for health care benefits in 1943. One more brilliant move by FDR.

  73. montaigne says:

    rickrude,

    Your thinking is all wrong:

    “provides very little in social services”

    Don’t you mean, doesn’t redistribute income as much as Europe?

    Take a look at the Federal budget or most state budgets… “services” devour budgets. people worry about Social security as a liablity. It’s peanuts compared to Medicare.

    Here in MN, from the state budget we spend .7% on transportation. Swell. Education and Health & Human Services gobbles up over 75% of the budget. So the thing that will make us all richer is neglected for the utopian belief that redistributing wealth will spead up heaven on earth. Meh.

    Honestly, if we know the communist failed miserably, why try and get as close as possible to communism through socialism or the third rail without getting burned? Might we try and go the opposite route and avoid most of Europe’s examples? Isn’t that why America came into existance?

  74. Staros says:

    Hello? Statisticians Unite! The only meaningful metric is, “% Tax Burden Per Individual Domestic Product, ex Defense”.

    Sweden has a much higher productivity,
    and no Defense burden. Ex Defense alone
    would push US into the top tier, then
    divide by our atrocious productivity!

    There you have the conundrum of stats,
    and why the Goopers are able to get
    away with false polemics like “lower
    taxes create jobs and economic growth”,
    the so-called Reagan, “don’t piss on
    my back, then tell me it’s raining”.

    Redraw the chart and start over….

  75. David says:

    You know Barry, et al, if you feel you’re undertaxed, you can always give more to the government. The Treasury will take your check. Put your money where your mouth is; stop trying to steal mine.

  76. F says:

    Correcting for defense spending has a minor effect.

    Defense spending as a % of GDP:

    US: 3.3
    France: 2.5
    UK: 2.4
    Spain: 1.2
    Canada: 1.1
    Germany: 1.5
    South Korea: 2.8
    Turkey: 5.1
    Greece: 4.4
    Sweden: 1.7

  77. VJ says:

    The Dirty Mac,

    Thank you for pointing that out VJ. At least 94% (probably close to 100%) of US companies expend resources to avoid taxes that could be used to produce goods and services. So we encourage underutiliztion of capital to generate little or no tax revenue.

    No, it’s called Corporate Welfare. It’s one of our largest budget items.
    .

  78. HARM says:

    Holy Cow I can’t believe the borderline socialists (if not true socialists) that inhabit these comments sections. Don’t you all know this blog would not be here was it not for free-market capitalism (go ahead, BR, insert your jibe about it not being a free market in reality).

    Holy Cow, I can’t believe how many borderline right-wing screwballs (if not actual screwballs) that inhabit these comments sections. Don’t you all know this blog would not be here was it not for DARPA and those pot-smoking intellectuals (go ahead, woodshed, insert your jibe about it not being a government/university-created forum in reality).

    Anyway, how many of you have actually spoken to anyone in the supposed great countries about what it is like to have the gov’t in control of your healthcare?

    Can top that –lived in one (U.K.) and toured about half the countries on Barry’s list. Those POOR, poor people… all living in fetid squalor and just miserable about their cradle-to-grave medical coverage, free college education, guaranteed 6-8 weeks/year of vacation. Just awful –I’m surprised none of them BEGGED me to marry them, so they could come live here in our perfect Corporatist Paradise (*chuckle, chuckle*…).

  79. rickrude says:

    Anyway, how many of you have actually spoken to anyone in the supposed great countries about what it is like to have the gov’t in control of your healthcare?
    ???????????????????????????????????????????
    I like the canadian healthcare system
    compared to the US one. Lived in both countries before and know what I am talking about. Have you lived in both ???

  80. rickrude says:

    Correcting for defense spending has a minor effect.

    Defense spending as a % of GDP:

    US: 3.3
    France: 2.5
    UK: 2.4
    Spain: 1.2
    Canada: 1.1
    Germany: 1.5
    South Korea: 2.8
    Turkey: 5.1
    Greece: 4.4
    Sweden: 1.7

    Posted by: F | Oct 19, 2007 1:16:54 AM

    The Dirty Mac,
    ?????????????????????????????????
    how is this defence spending calculated ??
    Greece as the top defence spending ??
    Where are the Greek soldiers ??
    I did not see even one in Greece,,,, are they in Iraq ??

  81. Peter says:

    Defence spending usually only includes the bread and butter expenditure (equipment, wages etc). In the UK extra money for bombs, missiles, fuel, replacement equipment etc comes out of a seperate treasury budget.

    Having lived in California for a year, Texas for two years and the UK before that I can honestly say the taxes in the US are very, very low compared with Europe. Regardless of whether the US number includes social security, property taxes etc, I know for sure the table doesn’t take into account fuel prices in the UK ($7/US-gallon), sales tax in the UK (17.5%) or council tax.

    While people like low taxes in the short term and there are sound economic arguments to support this view, the US is seriously screwing the pooch long term with this approach. Just as the economy is paying the price for too many years of easy money the infrastructure (roads/bridges) and education system is already beginning to suffer due to years of underinvestment which, to some extent, is the result of low taxes.

    I’m not saying the European approach of screwing anyone who bothers to work for a living is the way to go – but I’m sure there is a happy middle ground between the US and Europe.

  82. The Dirty Mac says:

    “No, it’s called Corporate Welfare. It’s one of our largest budget items.”

    It is. But you miss my point since I am addressing revenues rather than expenditures. And yes, Corporate Welfare does distort allocation of resoruces and it is a big issue in the USA (its the backbone of that wildly successful energy policy.

    “The Dirty Mac,
    ?????????????????????????????????
    how is this defence spending calculated ??”

    I don’t know. Maybe the Greeks and Turks are faced off against each other. Maybe they have smaller GDP’s.

    “pot-smoking intellectuals”

    I’ll take that as a compliment.

  83. The Dirty Mac says:

    One thing many of the high tax nations have are militant Muslim populations. The US does not appear to have that issue (I think the Muslim demographic is actually middle American).

    I can drive a short distance and be in neighborhoods where Muslims and Jews live side by side without incident. I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for this, but I would assert that one reason is that most of these people enjoy income mobility and are too busy earning money to take the time to become Islamists. IOW, the almighty dollar acts as the great assimilator.

  84. KP says:

    The simplest observation I can make is that our country spends much more than it makes.

    Which suggests that we decrease spending to less than current income levels OR increase income faster than the increase in expenditures.

    Now if we choose the latter, why would you tax those with less capital on a an equal rate as those with more capital…which of these has more means to pay and which of these has(regardless of how hard they have worked) reaped more rewards from our economy?

    No one argues that the rich have gotten richer and the poor, poorer. Wealth redistribution in one direction has occurred and it has created imbalances. It needs to be corrected by undoing what has been recently done.

  85. Frankie says:

    “One thing many of the high tax nations have are militant Muslim populations. The US does not appear to have that issue (I think the Muslim demographic is actually middle American).”

    Linking religious militantism to tax rate is as smart as linking the likelihood of a doctor becoming a terrorist because he works in a nationalized health care system as Britt Hume did once on Fox Noise.

    This kind of “argument” does not even have the privilege of a minimum of logical coherence, let alone any substance for a debate.

    This chain of characters you wrote is a well-known technique used by denialists. These individuals abhor facts and shiver at the mere thought of seeing ANY part of their belief system being proven wrong.

    To make sure that this won’t happens, there’s a reversion to the famous:”You are either with us, or against us”. If anyone is 1% against any of their statements, then, he/she 100% against them.

    It is truly pathetic and it is getting old. But what can a reasonable person expect when our political leaders at the top have converted denialism, obfuscation and spin in to their principal instrument of communication?

    I can think of two obvious reasons why Jews and Muslims can live side-by-side in the US.

    1) Most countries defined their national identity by ethnicity/territory. Not surprisingly, any significant rise in the number of inhabitants of different ethnicity will be perceived as a threat to the “national identity”. Witness the recent ugly incidents in France, UK and Switzerland as examples.
    United States is the first country ever to be defined by a set of ideas: pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion and FROM religion and that all individuals can fulfill their potential.

    2) Social mobility is (some would say used to be) greater in the US than elsewhere in the developed world. The reason is quite simple. In general, people want to know what you can do, not who you are. I say in general, because racism and discrimination against the poor has not entirely disappeared far from it. But at least here, progress can be made. It’s not easy, but it can be done. In Europe, if you happen to have a foreign name or look like one, you got 2 1/2 strikes against you right off the bat for housing, job, even marriage. That kinda breed resentment and alienation, far more than taxes, no?

    Francois

  86. jkw says:

    I freely admit to being a socialist. I’m a market socialist. That means I think the best economic system is one where the government regulates the economy to make sure nobody cheats and collects taxes to provide useful services. What I don’t understand is how there can be so many people who are in favor of unregulated markets and leaving people to fend for themselves.

    Free markets meaning that no central group decides how money should be spent are a good thing. Free markets meaning everyone can do whatever they can get away with are a bad thing. Conservatives argue for the first idea and then do their best to implement the second one instead.

  87. Frankie says:

    For an assessment of what is our real tax rate, see:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ksgy5
    “Income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, ‘sin’ taxes and the rest add up to a virtual flat tax nationwide.
    advertisement

    By Scott Burns

    We have a national flat tax, albeit one with bumps and potholes.

    The fact that the political parties won’t acknowledge this is one reason they are doing a disservice to the voting public.

    Instead, both parties have a vested interest in the theatrical possibilities created by the idea of graduated tax rates. Notice that I said “the idea of” graduated tax rates. That should not be confused with reality.

    Democrats argue that taxes on the rich should be raised because others need the money. This wins votes from the legions of voters who aren’t rich.

    Republicans argue, with great piety, that high taxes crush incentives and should be reduced, and that only then will the American way see a new dawn.

    Politicians talk this way because they generally talk about only one tax: the federal income tax, which offers graduated rates from 10% to 35%.”

    Francois

  88. The Dirty Mac says:

    “Linking religious militantism to tax rate is as smart as linking the likelihood of a doctor becoming a terrorist because he works in a nationalized health care system as Britt Hume did once on Fox Noise.”

    My simple point is that people can make money in the United States.

    You are free to refute the point with or without taking several paragraphs to call me an idiot. You have to deal with the fact that others are not as smart as you.

  89. passerby says:

    I’m not sure if this includes all the different sources of government taxation. OECD also publishes government revenue as % of GDP and expenditure %. The expenditure figures are around 40% (so, it includes debt and non-tax social transfer payments). About 5% is financed externally, so real tax figure is probably closer to 35% (rather than the 28% cited).

  90. Northern Observer says:

    Also, every country on the above list is having its national defense subsidized by the USA.
    Posted by: The Dirty Mac | Oct 18, 2007 5:42:27 PM

    Gee, that’s easy to fix, stop voting republican, for the next 40 years.

  91. VJ says:

    The Dirty Mac,

    But you miss my point since I am addressing revenues rather than expenditures.

    But giving away tax cuts is an expenditure when you are running massive deficits.
    .

  92. Resonance says:

    Potpourri

    According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in the United States the tax burden is 25.6% of G.D.P. This ranks 17th among developed countries. The global average for the group is 36%. Competing outlooks on the price…

  93. WorldBeta says:

    Well, if you notice, most of the highly taxed countries are also the most sexed:

    http://worldbeta.blogspot.com/

    Time to buy a vacation house in Iceland?

  94. The Dirty Mac says:

    “Well, if you notice, most of the highly taxed countries are also the most sexed”

    Finally, someone talks some sense around here.

    “Gee, that’s easy to fix, stop voting republican, for the next 40 years.”

    The Dirty Mac can only support one Republican candidate this year…https://www.ronpaul2008.com/donate/

  95. Barley says:

    Woa – Grossly unfare!!

    Canada has “Guarenteed wait times” for care – diagnosed w/ breast cancer – you are guarenteed to that in 16 weeks you get treatment…got a heart condition – you are guarenteed to wait 36 weeks before an operataion..Canada health system is rather odd and yet the way gov’t plays the song is that you ane not in the US so dont complain…

    I have lived in Sweden..hurt my foot got treatment in the same day. I have lived in the US got hurt skiing got treated in the same day (private coverage)…I lived in Canada and it took 9 (yes nine f*****g weeks to get to a specialist)

  96. rickrude says:

    So Barley, you a reppublican too ??
    Stay in the US and you can keep your health care system.

    canada’s health care ain’t good as in some of the western eruopean countries, but it is better than the US.
    I was a middle class person in the US making
    $96k and making the similare amount in Canada, I can tell you , the cost of living is rising due to property tax, income tax, in the US.

    Unfortunately, Canada is looking at the US health care system to make it more efficient…when they should be looking at Europe.

    I live in Canada right now, and the avg US citizen is getting screwed compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

    There are always exceptions esp in asia like Korea,Hong Kong etc, where health care
    is worse than the US.

  97. rickrude says:

    Barley, what kind of job do you have ??
    I am in the health professions,,,, I have an idea of what is going on in the US and Canada.

  98. rickrude says:

    Barely, if you had money and connections in Canada, you too could have received Tx right away. I though this thread was about the
    avg Joe out there that got basic health care, not the rich like you ??