2 November 2017   Leave a comment

The Republican Party in the US has released its initial plan for tax reform and we can expect the debate on the plan to be contentious and deliberately obscure.  One likely defense of the bill will be that US citizens are some of the highest taxed countries in the world.  The Washington Post published some graphs to root this debate in evidence.



Another argument is that the US corporate tax rate is the highest in the world.  This assertion is true in what we call nominal terms–the published rate is higher than many other countries.  But most corporations also have tax deductions that reduce the corporate tax rate in effective terms to about half the published rate.  According to the US Treasury:

“The average effective “actual” federal corporate tax rate (ATR) provides a comprehensive measure of the average tax rate actually paid by corporations…..the U.S. ATR on income earned by profitable corporations with over $10 million in assets was 22 percent (when averaged over all firms in all years), well below the top statutory rate of 35 percent.”

It is also clear that corporations are paying less over time as a source of revenue for the Federal Government.  This decline persists even though all corporations benefit from government spending on roads, bridges, communications infrastructure, police and fire security, and having access to an educated population.



Today it the 100th anniversary of what is known as the Balfour Declaration, a document that asserts that the British Government supports the creation of a Jewish homeland in the British Mandate of Palestine.  The document is used by both Israelis and Palestinians to assert certain rights in what ultimately becomes the state of Israel in 1948.



The actual meaning of the Declaration is quite muddy.  Some regard the note as a simple ploy to secure support from Jews in the US and Russia to support Britain in World War I.  According to The Washington Post:

“Balfour said at a cabinet meeting that appealing to Jewish nationalism would serve as ‘extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and in America’ — two countries with significant Jewish populations and whose contributions were necessary to winning World War I. After the declaration was announced, British leaflets were dropped over Jewish communities in German and Austrian territory pointing to the good deeds done for the ‘people of Israel.’”

Gilbert Achcar gives a good historical background to the politics of the Declaration.

Many Palestinians point to the last sentence of the Declaration which asserts that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.  Further, Palestinians assert that British control over Palestine, secured secretly after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the Sykes-Picot Treaty in 1916 was itself illegitimate.  Needless to say, while the Balfour Declaration is an important document in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations, it is unlikely that it would ever serve to end that debate.


Smile Time

Indonesian Tarsier


Posted November 2, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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