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The Solution to Sovereign Insolvency, Part III: Taxation Salvation

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Is there anyone out there who would like to live in a world with no personal income tax, and no corporate income tax?

Do investors think that our economies would become more efficient if we eliminated all sales taxes and capital gains taxes? How about living in a world where all those taxes are gone?

No, I have not been ingesting illegal narcotics. In a world with a wealth tax, all other forms of taxation would be eliminated – as being redundant. Furthermore, across the Western world, $10’s of trillions in wealth would be exposed to taxation for the first time. The obvious advantage of such a tax system (apart from the enormous improvements in economic efficiency) is that with all wealth subject to taxation, the tax rate paid by everyone would decline.

In Parts I and II, I explained why income taxation is the worst possible basis for a tax system, and also explained why it will inevitably bankrupt all economies – as a greater and greater percentage of total wealth is funneled into fewer and fewer hands, every day. Let me return to the numerical example I used in Part II.

We’ll take a hypothetical billionaire, who has an annual salary of $10 million/year (greater than that of the average billionaire). As I mentioned previously, even that monster-salary only represents  1% of the total wealth of this individual. Thus, even a 100% (income) tax-rate on a billionaire only has a trivial economic impact on this individual.

More importantly, (assuming a 10% annual rate of appreciation on assets), this person’s income only represents 10% of his/her annual increase in wealth. What this means is that no income tax system could ever fairly tax such individuals – with the inevitable result that more and more of a society’s wealth is funneled into their pockets every year.

Now let’s see what happens if we switch to a 5% wealth tax. It is simple arithmetic that a 5% wealth tax would result in the billionaire paying $50 million per year in taxes. In other words, using the numbers of this hypothetical example, a 5% wealth tax would result in 500% more tax revenues for government being paid by this billionaire than a 100% income tax-rate. Best of all, with the ultra-wealthy no longer being able to hide the vast majority of their wealth from taxation, the wealth tax can be set at whatever rate is necessary to stop this relentless plundering of all the wealth of our economies.

Ironically, the wealthy are always violently opposed to any form of “socialism”: arguing that it reduces the incentive of individuals to “get ahead” or even to work, at all. Obviously, precisely the same argument can be made with income tax: it is a major disincentive to try to raise one’s income. Eliminate income taxation, and we maximize the individual incentive to increase one’s income. This, in turn, would lead to real gains in “productivity” – rather than the pretend-gains in “productivity” which are reported by corporations, each time they slash the compensation of their own employees.

Hypocritically, despite being grossly under-taxed, the wealthy complain about taxation at least as much as the over-taxed poor and middle-class. They claim that “the only fair means” of taxation is a “flat tax” – i.e. where everyone is taxed at the exact, same rate, regardless of how wealthy they are.

Well, in a wealth taxation system, the wealthy can finally see their dream come true. With a fair tax system, everyone can be taxed at the same rate. It is also a perfect opportunity to test the integrity of the wealthy. There can be no possible objection to a flat, wealth tax. Should such a proposal be advanced – and meet the much more vehement protests of the very wealthy – this would prove what average citizens have suspected all along. Specifically, the wealthy have never been interested in “fair taxation”, but rather all they want to do is rob all the wealth of society for themselves.

With wealth taxation, not only would personal income tax be gone, but so would corporate taxation. With all the wealth of corporations contained in the shares of their shareholders, by taxing the wealth of shareholders, corporate income tax would become redundant (a form of double-taxation). Exactly the same argument applies with capital gains and sales taxes.

With no capital gains or sales taxes, all these tax impediments to commerce (and profit-taking) would be permanently eliminated. This would greatly increase the “velocity of money” in our economies – which, as any economist can tell you, is one of the most-obvious signs of a strong economy.

Then there is the huge efficiency-gain simply from eliminating most of our taxation bureaucracy. It is only because we have income tax that we are faced with an absurdly complicated system which gets more and more complicated every year. While a wealth tax would devastate employment for tax lawyers and accountants, I’m sure that this is a “risk” which most of us would gladly take.

As I have continued to stress throughout this three-part series, this is not merely some quaint, academic theory. I have demonstrated (through simple arithmetic) that all income tax systems must bankrupt these economies, over time, as they become totally “hollowed out”. The poor and middle-class get poorer every year, while the very wealthy get much, much wealthier every year.

Without introducing this tax reform, there is no hope for our economies. This, in turn, means that our societies are heading for exactly the same “solutions” which History has always imposed for these economic meltdowns. Either our “leaders” will start numerous wars – to distract our populations while economic implosion takes place, or we will experience violent revolutions, as the oppressed majority becomes totally impoverished, and has no choice but to take the wealth of the ultra-wealthy.

Without the introduction of wealth taxation, there is no possible means of restoring tax equity to a society. Furthermore, there could be only one, possible way to delay the bankruptcy of all these economies: through imposing a huge “hair-cut” on bond-holders – who recklessly loaned these $10’s of trillions to governments which never could be capable of producing revenues streams to service those debts (under current taxation).

Since most of these bonds are also held by the ultra-wealthy, there is no place for them to “hide”. Nearly a century of relentlessly plundering our economies has left only one pool of wealth capable of restoring solvency to Western economies: the illegitimate $trillions held by the ultra-wealthy.

For bond-holders, a wealth tax is the only means of avoiding either a massive hair-cut on the debt they are holding, or simply sovereign default – where that “hair cut” could suddenly soar to 100%. This leaves all rational bond-holders with only two options: dump the debt they are holding, before it implodes in their hands, or push their servants in government to implement a wealth tax ASAP.

It is unfortunate that taxation is seen as such a boring and complicated subject by most individuals that almost all members of society avoid even thinking about tax-reform – as being something both unimportant and inconsequential. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason why all of our tax systems (and economies) are broken is nothing more than simple (irrefutable) arithmetic. The solution for the absurd folly of our current system of taxation is equally simple.

There can be no excuse for the oppressed masses to be the least interested in taxation reform, as they obviously have the most to gain. The failure of ordinary citizens to rally-around this sensible, viable solution to sovereign insolvency simply guarantees their own, economic funerals.

 

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Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, April 04, 2012
There is another thing that I missed adding to the info about the Zakat system, under this system, the house that a person is living in, the car that he is driving and all stuff for personal use in that house and car are exempt from wealth taxation of 2.5%

Secondly, the wealth tax of 2.5% will apply to a person if and only if he has wealth above a certain threshold, which roughly comes to 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver, or the equivalent value of either of them in cash.


Yes Samix, to be more precise, the goal of any wealth taxation is to tax "excess wealth", and so everyone SHOULD have some basic wealth exemption. However, to most of the wealth-holders in our societies, they don't see ANY of their wealth as being "excess" (LOL!), so it's much simpler in conceptual terms to talk about a simple wealth tax, and add the few necessary details of clarification later...
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, April 04, 2012
All right, Jeff, I might be OK with your wealth tax if it exempted the first, say, $2,000,000 of a person's net worth... and the rate were 2%. The problem is that we would still have tax returns and still suffer the intrusions of IRS (and in fact, they may be worse).


Lol MrPaladin! I'm afraid that those numbers won't "pay the bills". Of course we CAN'T pay the gigantic bills our fiscally incompetent governments have run up - so as has already occurred in Greece, part of the process is some inevitable degree of debt-default.

But even beyond the USURIOUS interest payments we're making to the Bond Parasites, our economies are fundamentally insolvent. Contrary to propaganda, our level of government services has been steadily DECLINING for 40 years (except for the war-machine and "security" spending).

Obviously, DESPITE 40 years of declining services, tax revenues are NOT sufficient to pay for even the second-rate services we receive today. However here is the bottom-line: if we tax EVERYONE fairly/equally, inflicting (proportionately) "equal pain" on everyone, then (and only then) can we win any fiscal Battle of the Bulge.

The PROBLEM is that our current tax system places almost all of the BURDEN on the bottom 80-90% - while those at the VERY top are allowed to pile up hoards of wealth greater than those of the KINGS of the Middle Ages.

Never forget WHO I am targeting here as the Enemy:

"Don’t Blame The Millionaires"

http://www.bullionbullscanada.com/us-commentary/23156-dont-blame-the-millionaires
MrPaladin
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written by MrPaladin, April 04, 2012
All right, Jeff, I might be OK with your wealth tax if it exempted the first, say, $2,000,000 of a person's net worth... and the rate were 2%. The problem is that we would still have tax returns and still suffer the intrusions of IRS (and in fact, they may be worse).

[As always, I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my comments.]
samix
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written by samix, April 03, 2012
There is another thing that I missed adding to the info about the Zakat system, under this system, the house that a person is living in, the car that he is driving and all stuff for personal use in that house and car are exempt from wealth taxation of 2.5%

Secondly, the wealth tax of 2.5% will apply to a person if and only if he has wealth above a certain threshold, which roughly comes to 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver, or the equivalent value of either of them in cash.
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, April 03, 2012
What about a middle-class person who has retired and has some wealth, but no income? Someone who worked and saved, is age 65 and has 500K in assets. You want to tax him 10% on total assets? Assuming he spends 30K a year just to survive, in 10 years he will have nothing left. (If his house is half of those assets, he will be forced out in 5 years.) 200K will have gone to the government to waste on whatever it wants. Sorry, I don't see this as a great idea.

I favor a national sales tax of 10%. (Tough luck if it means government must cut its spending.) No deductions, no exemptions, no tax forms for individuals. Everyone, rich or poor, would be in the same boat, and to me, that is fair. Under this system, it won't matter how much wealth (dollars) the top 1% holds. It is essentially worthless paper or electronic digits until spent. The ultra-wealthy or their heirs will buy their mansions, yachts, airplanes and Kobe beefsteaks at some point, and the sales tax will be collected. Cash in bank is not really wealth. Wealth is really the things that keep us safe, comfortable, happy, etc. Think about it; if the currency system collapses, who will have wealth? Someone with a billion (now worthless) dollars in a bank account who has been leasing a condo for which he can no longer pay -- or someone with a modest house, furnishings, and a cellar full of food and water?


Hold on MrPaladin! Let's back up here.

First of all, who ever said anything about a "10% wealth tax"? Do you think the BILLIONAIRES would ever allow a flat 10% tax? Think about how fast THEIR wealth hoards would disappear?

It's impossible to put out an EXACT number (since our economies have various levels of insolvency, and I don't get to look at their books). A wealth tax of more like 7% would sound more appropriate AND every person would have a "basic wealth deduction". And that tax rate would go DOWN once we started reducing our indebtedness.

Now let's look at your proposal for ANOTHER 10% being ADDED to sales taxes - since we need huge amounts of NEW revenue. Poor people and most seniors SPEND 100% of their annual income, so the consumption tax affects EVERYTHING they earn AND a large fraction of their total wealth.

Conversely, for a billionaire, not only do they only consume a small fraction of their income (and/or increased wealth), but they are only being taxed on a TINY (near-zero) portion of their total wealth.

Consumption taxes PUNISH those on the bottom, while giving those on top a free ride. ONLY wealth taxation will EVER tax the billionaires equally with the rest of us.smilies/wink.gif
MrPaladin
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written by MrPaladin, April 03, 2012
What about a middle-class person who has retired and has some wealth, but no income? Someone who worked and saved, is age 65 and has 500K in assets. You want to tax him 10% on total assets? Assuming he spends 30K a year just to survive, in 10 years he will have nothing left. (If his house is half of those assets, he will be forced out in 5 years.) 200K will have gone to the government to waste on whatever it wants. Sorry, I don't see this as a great idea.

I favor a national sales tax of 10%. (Tough luck if it means government must cut its spending.) No deductions, no exemptions, no tax forms for individuals. Everyone, rich or poor, would be in the same boat, and to me, that is fair. Under this system, it won't matter how much wealth (dollars) the top 1% holds. It is essentially worthless paper or electronic digits until spent. The ultra-wealthy or their heirs will buy their mansions, yachts, airplanes and Kobe beefsteaks at some point, and the sales tax will be collected. Cash in bank is not really wealth. Wealth is really the things that keep us safe, comfortable, happy, etc. Think about it; if the currency system collapses, who will have wealth? Someone with a billion (now worthless) dollars in a bank account who has been leasing a condo for which he can no longer pay -- or someone with a modest house, furnishings, and a cellar full of food and water?
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, December 30, 2011
Samix, more specifically the existing system DISCOURAGES the members of our capitalist economies from being "capitalists". It taxes our income from employment. It taxes our capital gains from profitable transactions. It taxes each and every one of our PURCHASES in what have become consumer economies.

It's not "taxes" that are killing our economy. It is STRUCTURING our tax system in such a ridiculously inefficient manner which is what is killing our economies (while it funnels all wealth into the pockets of the top 1%).

With a flat wealth tax, for the FIRST TIME in history we could fully benefit from the fruits of our labours, while at the end of the year only a small, fixed percentage is subtracted from our total wealth.
samix
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written by samix, December 30, 2011
With a flat wealth tax to work effectively without much invasion into a persons personal books and investigative agencies it to keep the tax rate at the lowest possible level, like the zakat wealth tax is 2.5%.

This low rate takes away almost all incentives to undertake manipulation, as manipulation to save your wealth from 2.5% of tax rate will cause you to spend almost an equal amount of money or more and also the future looming danger of being caught.
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, December 29, 2011
Jollyjugg, wealth taxation would essentially be on 100% of total wealth. Assessing non-liquid assets for purposes of a wealth tax is no more difficult than assessing such assets for insurance purposes.

Indeed, insurance records would be an important source for spotting tax evasion (or insurance fraud). If you have $10 million in insured assets, but are only claiming total wealth of $1 million for TAXATION purposes, then very likely the tax man and your insurance company would have a conversation... smilies/wink.gif

Even accounting for the leg-work of assessing peoples' assets (most of which would only have to be done periodically), a wealth tax would be about 1,000 times less complicated, 100 times more efficient economically, and 10 times less expensive to operate than an income taxation system.
jollyjugg
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written by jollyjugg, December 29, 2011
Hi Jeff,

As always your commentary is fascinating. The wealth tax is a very good idea to bring out all the hidden wealth. I had one question though. Tax can only be effected on liquid money right? If a billionaire or trillionaire has all his wealth in the form of movable/immovable assets (i.e luxury cars like rolls royce/aston martins, Palaces, luxurious holiday homes, sports clubs and high investment stake in a company or say treasury bonds) and only has 1% of his total asset as liquid asset, then how would you implement wealth tax on this individual in such a way that you extract maximum money out of this individual.

Also, I have heard that in developing countries there is lot of unaccounted money (which is also called black money) which is hidden in swiss banks and other tax havens. This is probably not a problem in western countries but definitely a problem in some of the asian countries where business men use cash for even big transactions in such a way that none of these transactions are every recorded so they can't be traced. They under-report their income year after year and hide their wealth so no one know what is the real amount of their wealth. What is your opinion of such malice and what do you think is the best way to bring out the wealth of these parasites?
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 18, 2010
Paxjds, there is ONE thing quite different from the U.S. and other feudal systems from the Middle Ages.

In those kingdoms, the king's soldiers were generally treated MUCH better than the common peasants, to ensure their loyalty. Conversely, in the U.S., it treats its soldiers just as shabbily as it treats its other serfs.

Indeed, there was recently ANOTHER news article on the disgusting conspiracy between the U.S. government and the insurance company which pays out death-benefits - allowing the insurance company to SCAM the families of dead soldiers, through keeping and investing these death benefits, for itself.

If we see a sudden change here, where the U.S. government makes an obvious attempt to buy the "loyalty" of its troops, I would say that this is as close as we will get to a "warning" that civil unrest is about to break-out in the U.S.
paxjds
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written by paxjds, September 17, 2010
The Ultra wealthy in the West control and pull the puppet stings on the politicians who do their bidding. Therefore, tax burdens are on the poor and the middle class. The 1% rich get richer, and the other 99% of society get poorer and poorer. Look at all the trillions in bailouts in the West, direct subsidies to the Ultra Wealthy, with the masses to pick up the tab for several generations to come. The greed of the ultra wealthy is a growing stench that should collapse in the very near future. At a minimum, their fiat currencies will fail and collapse.
They have the standing armies under their control. Things are not much different today with the evil Sherrifs of Nothingham or King George's still in control. Robin Hood and the Masses still grossly overtaxed, underpaid, unemployed, and losing their homes. Till the corrupt politicians are voted out, the Central Bank cartels broken up, the Kingpin Baqnk, the BIS in Basil is busted, and a fair wealth tax in all nations is implemented; thenn everything will just keep getting worse for humanity. The Rothchilds, Rockerfellers, JP Morgans, etc will keep putting on their "charity donations" for the masses, all the while stealing them blind while further impoverishing the people. Big Brother has been found, He is The Ultra Wealthy of the world, and they do not have the people's interest in mind at all.
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 11, 2010
Null, those are good points.

With respect to wealth fleeing the country, for countries which are in better shape economically (like Canada), the response MIGHT just be "good riddance". Economies which have not yet been ruined don't NEED these wealthy parasites to survive.

In the case of nations like the U.S., which is 100% certain to go bankrupt unless it claws-back the illegitimate wealth of the ultra-wealthy, it would have no choice but to erect capital controls, to prevent the wealth from leaving the country.

As for the practical issue of ascertaining wealth, we would obviously need to BEGIN such a system with a national "wealth inventory" which would be much like a census process. While it is always POSSIBLE that some tax-adverse extremists MIGHT resort to "burying treasure" and similar activities, the DISADVANTAGE of having hidden wealth is that you could never report it stolen, and never INSURE it.

I think the negative repercussions of such activities would discourage most from attempting such acts of evasion.
Null
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written by Null, September 11, 2010
I like the "Use it or Lose it" approach. No one has the right to be born into wealth and maintain it their whole lives without doing something productive with that wealth to justify keeping it. But I am wondering about some practical considerations. Firstly, wouldn't every country in the world have to jump on board with this, otherwise so much wealth would just flee the countries which have a flat wealth tax into those that don't? Also, wouldn't people just convert their wealth into assets like gold and then not report it, burying it in the backyard? How would anyone know how much they own? Especially if freegold emerges and gold movement becomes totally free.
samix
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written by samix, September 10, 2010
Hey Jeff,

Yeah, also most Arab governmental policies do not encourage international competition, this is because even today their societies are highly family oriented and they maintain family ties that go back generations.

If you ask an Arab man his full name, be prepared to listen to for a long time.

Until recently it was totally impossible to establish a business or a company in these countries without a 51% share to the local.

They are opening up a bit now, but it will take a lot of time, because in reality the guy who has oil is hardly interested in competing in other markets (haha!)

I think even today their reasons to open up their business sector are more of a symbolic gesture to probably fall in line with the many trade agreements that they have signed rather than a plan to get in more foreign investment.

Some protectionism is good but the extent of protectionism afforded by the these governments to their citizens sometimes crosses all limits and it detrimental to the society in the long run.


Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 09, 2010
Thanks for that explanation. It makes sense as it doesn't overly impair the ability of Arab-based corporations to compete with international companies - while not providing any "incentive" to locate there for some tax advantage, for foreign corporations.
samix
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written by samix, September 09, 2010
I think I got your point now.

If there is a Saudi/Qatar/Oman.. businessman, then he can maintain all his wealth under two books

1) personal book
2) corporate/business book

Please note that in the zakat system tax does not become due if you just earned the money, If I earned billions and spent it within a lunar year, then there is no tax applicable, A person or a corporation has to pay zakat only on what was saved for one whole lunar year.

Now if you only levy wealth tax on the personal book, then he may transfer all the wealth to the corporate book and if you only levy tax on the corporate book the he will transfer all the wealth to the personal book.

So he can get away with transferring the wealth because in the zakat system tax becomes payable only if one lunar year has passed by with that wealth still in your possession. So before the passage of the lunar year if the guy keeps moving the wealth to the other book, then he can circumvent the system.

So, it may look like double taxation, but he still end up paying 2.5% on all the wealth that he has irrespective of which book he maintains it in.

This is my immediate understanding of the problem, I will talk to my brother who works in Saudi to give you the exact method of assessment and calculation, so at this point this is just what I feel it may/should be like, Please feel free to raise any point I will try to clarify as far as I can.
samix
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written by samix, September 09, 2010
Hey Jeff,

I am always open to any healthy discussion that bridges gaps and fosters understanding, here is how it goes

1) Saudi/Qatari/... salaried nationals: No income tax, only wealth tax of 2.5% payable each year.

2) Saudi/Qatari/... corporates: No income tax, no corporate tax, only wealth tax of 2.5% payable each year.

3) Non Saudi/Qatari/... salaried national: No income tax, no wealth tax payable to the government, If Muslim then the person is himself responsible to do the calculations for the wealth tax(zakat) then pay it out to the poor, needy and other oppressed sections of the society, either in Saudi/Qatar/... or their own home country, there are no restrictions to this

4) non Saudi/Qatari/... corporations : Progressive income tax much like the west.

So, essentially, foreign corporations are not subject to wealth tax(zakat) but income tax, and local corporations are not subject to income tax but are subject to the wealth tax(zakat).

So I guess this may be the reason why they are not that hot with the foreign corporations setting base there.
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 09, 2010
OK, Samix, here's a question: if these Arab countries have wealth taxes, do they also have corporate taxation, and if so, how is that justified - given that (I submit) this leads to "double taxation"?

Conversely, if these countries do NOT have any corporate taxation, why aren't we seeing more multinational corporations shifting their headquarters to these jurisdictions?

I'm not trying to back you into a corner here, just wondering how economies with TOTALLY different taxation systems can "mesh" in a global economy - given that different tax systems imply drastically different tax-treatment for corporations.
samix
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written by samix, September 09, 2010
Is there anyone out there who would like to live in a world with no personal income tax, and no corporate income tax


In the Middle eastern countries of Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE there is no personal income tax, so yes a large part of the worlds population is living under such a system, where only wealth tax is applicable.
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 09, 2010
Asfhgwt1, first of all keep in mind that a wealth tax would be a SINGLE-DIGIT number - not the 20%, 30%, 40% tax-brackets we have now.

It's very simple regarding a person's wealth: "use it or lose it". And people who can't generate the 5 - 10% return required to KEEP their level of wealth don't DESERVE to remain wealthy.

Why should wealthy people enjoy a PERMANENT guarantee of prosperity, which none of "the little people" enjoy?
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 09, 2010
Udayakumar,

"Definition of terms" is an issue with every system, in every context. In other words, there is no "plan" where you are not going to have to do some work to create clear and workable definitions for purposes of this tax system.

One way to deal with the market-fluctuations you refer to is to allow for a "readjustment" of taxes paid in a previous year - where objective market evidence emerges that a particular asset-price had been (temporarily) distorted.

I am very confident that any/every such issue with wealth taxation could be solved with much less complications than the MILLIONS OF PAGES of rules on income taxation.

Also, I think you're confusing my own proposal with an example I used in my discussion. In OUR (hypothetical) wealth-taxation system, ALL wealth should/must be taxed. To reflect that this is "excess wealth" being taxed, every individual would be allowed a "personal wealth exemption" (somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20,000 to $40,000 per person). ALL wealth above and beyond that exemption would be taxed, for all individuals.
Jeff Nielson
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written by Jeff Nielson, September 09, 2010
Hi Nunc.

You said: "You ignore the way how wealthy people became wealthy."

In fact, the VAST majority of wealthy people are BORN wealthy. Of those who actually BECOME wealthy in their life-time, most do so through flipping real estate - where multi-BILLION dollar empires are routinely created AND destroyed.

My numbers are unequivocal. It is IMPOSSIBLE for any income-taxation system to prevent ALL of a society's wealth from being funneled into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy (over time). One century of this process is MORE THAN enough!
Fischer
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written by asfhgwt1, September 09, 2010
While I agree with your premise, and that massive wealth accumulates over time and is passed on to heirs that probably don't deserve it, I can't agree with you on an asset tax. Let's say an entrepreneur makes $2 million by selling his business and retires. Under your system, he would lose half that amount to taxes in 20 years and the rest to price inflation. He would have to sell off assets to eat and pay taxes. Not to mention the same Gestapo-like intrusions into his personal life that exist under the current system. All taxation is theft, but for those who insist that some taxation is necessary, why not consider a (relatively low -- maybe 10%?) national sales tax instead of an income tax? That way, the rich will be unable to avoid taxes on their million-dollar mansions, yachts, tiaras and other obscene extravagances. It's simple: if you save, no tax; if you spend, you pay. Naturally, coupled with such a tax would be the need for government to cut its own spending.
udaydeva000
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written by udaydeva000, September 09, 2010
Hi Jeff,

Have some doubt here.

1) How would one evaluate the value of an asset say for example land/house.It varies according to market condition and place to place.What benchmark would be taken while calculating.Who would be maintaining all these details? Country like India this is almost unorganized sector with wide variation.
2)If there is erosion of wealth compare to previous filling, will there be adjustment with future tax filling ? (suppose in case of deflation)
3)Some asset wont generate regular income and they have not squared their position-- in such case how are we suppose to pay tax for the capital appreciation ? do we mean to pay either through some liquidation of that asset or some other means.Suppose say someone has major of its asset in non-income generating asset in such cases how are they going to pay wealth tax.

Whereas income is one which they earned throughout the year which basically they have it in their hand, which would be easy to pay.

some asset like Bonds/stock they might have earned dividend/interest which would be easy to evaluate and pay the tax.

wouldn't this be a challenge to implement wealth tax model.

I might be wrong.Pls do clarify.

Thanks and Regards
Udayakumar D
nunc
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written by nunc, September 09, 2010
You ignore the way how wealthy people became wealthy. The wealth individuals have is the leftover after taxes, i.e. when someone has 1 billion, he also paid (in the Netherlands) roughly 1 billion in income tax.

Further, only people with wealth pay the 'inflation tax'. The government also asks interest-tax, so income from wealth is taxed. The inflation + interest tax often creates a net decline in purchasing power each year. Unless the money is used for good investments, which increases the total wealth for the society.

A direct wealth tax will, in the long term, give all the wealth to the government. Established companies will never be able to outgrow the governments wealth-tax. Simply because the long term growth rate is the population growth. This means that for example farmers, with lots of equity in their lands, can only pay the wealth-tax by selling it to the government. No rate will both bring in enough taxes and prevent population-growth companies from falling in the hands of the government.

These problems don't arise when taxing income from wealth. Which is already the case in almost all countries (except strangely enough the arabic oil states, where there's a religious pressure).

The combination of taxing income from wealth + the inflation tax is enough incentive for wealth to be used. So it won't sit there doing nothing, but will be used for good investments. In the billionaire example, a 10% profit from his capital is 100 million, he pays 50% interest tax á 50 million + 50% income tax á 5 million = 55 million

These are rougly the dutch tax rates. In short, the billionaire pays more, but doesn't need to give his firm to the government if it stops growing.

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