Attacking Capital is no Recipe for Fairness
Posted by Brian Garst on August 9, 2010
Glenn Hubbard writes in the Wall Street Journal on the many problems created by taxing capital through the capital gains and dividends taxes.
While the Obama administration discusses additional stimulus packages, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is arguing that we should roll back key elements of the Bush tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003. The administration is particularly skeptical about the benefits of today’s lower rates on dividends and capital gains.
…The administration’s arguments for higher taxes on capital center on fairness and the need for deficit reduction.
These arguments are seriously mistaken. The relationship between investment, capital and wages is such that workers are better off if capital is not taxed at all.
Think of the economy as a pie split among workers, savers and the government, with the government’s slice fixed. The savers’ slice will equal the after-tax return on each unit of the capital stock, and what’s left goes to workers as after-tax wages. The fairness advocates in effect claim that low tax rates on dividends and capital gains increase the share of the pie that goes to high-income savers. But the low tax rates increase the absolute size of the workers’ slice by making the entire pie bigger. That’s because low tax rates encourage capital accumulation, productivity and wage growth.
Visit our research page for more reasons why taxing capital is a bad idea.
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