Are Our Taxes Really Too High?

Well, “high” is a relative thing.

If you ever take a moment to look at your pay stub you may think “Damn, Uncle Sam is taking a lot of what I earn.”

And let us put aside the question of what you are getting in return for that money, but it’s not nothing.  Still, it seems like a lot of money.

And politicians, and especially Republican politicians, like to tell us that Americans are overtaxed and that it’s killing our ability to compete in world markets.

And The Curmudgeon will put aside for the moment that he cannot think of a single friend, relative, or acquaintance who works in an industry that is subject to international competition.

But are your instincts about the government taking so much money out of your paycheck accurate?  And are we really overtaxed into being uncompetitive internationally?

The Bloomberg company, good friend to business everywhere, recently took a look at this question and some of what it found is pretty interesting.

Bloomberg examined taxation in 35 of the most industrialized countries in the world and found that the U.S. ranks 25th out of the 35 in its rate of taxation, which means 24 of the 35 tax their citizens more than the U.S. does.

What countries tax their citizens more than we do?

Canada, Hungary, and France do.

Italy, Austria, and Sweden do.

And so do Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and Japan.

At the top of the list is Belgium, and right after Belgium at number two on the list is Germany.

Germany, which has a thriving economy.

Germany, which by law must give every worker four weeks of paid vacation a year along with 13 paid holiday days.  (The Curmudgeon is jealous.)

Germany, which has a trade surplus (as opposed to the U.S. trade deficit of more than $500 billion).

And when was the last time you heard Germans complaining that their country’s high rate of taxation was costing them jobs – the unemployment rate in Germany is 3.9 percent while in the U.S. it’s 4.4 percent – and hurting their country’s ability to “win” in international trade?

Whether U.S. taxes are too high is an appropriate subject for discussion and debate, but when politicians start telling you that high U.S. taxes are hurting the country competitively in international markets, we need to remind them that other industrialized countries are taxed even more and still manage to generate trade surpluses.

But expecting honesty from our politicians when the subject is taxes may be too much to ask.

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  • Scott  On November 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    But expecting honesty from our politicians when it comes to anything may be too much to ask.

    (The password is… “honesty”, DING )

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