Column : Taxing the rich and other fantasies
For the next budget 2013-14, there appears to be a welcome dedication to bring down the fiscal deficit by at least 0.5 percentage points from the present level of 5.3% of GDP. As is well known, the laudable goal of fiscal deficit reduction can be brought about by either reducing the share of expenditures in GDP or increasing the share of taxes. This dilemma and choice is quite obvious in the recent fiscal cliff debate in the US. Indeed, the concentration seems to be much more on reducing the share of expenditures. The debate on the personal income tax increase, recommended and/or being discussed, has to be seen in this context, i.e. yes, the fiscal deficit must be reduced, but it does not follow at all that any tax need be raised. Unless there is evidence in the context of fairness, morality or efficiency to do so, emotive appeals to “sacrifice” should be dispensed with.
As discussed in my previous article, “Blinded by tax revenue” (FE, January 13, 2013), the only data source that