Saturday, October 01, 2011

Link round-up

  • The Economist notes that "According to the OECD, a think-tank, the top 10% of earners contribute about a third of total tax revenues—28% in France, 31% in Germany and 42% in Italy. Rich Britons pay about 39% of total taxes while America’s wealthiest households contribute a larger share to government than in any other OECD country, at 45%." This, despite the fact that all of these other countries have higher top marginal tax rates than the US.
  • Greg Mankiw points out this eye-opening statistic from the Tax Policy Center: "The middle class (middle quintile) pays 14.1 percent of its income in federal taxes, while the rich (top tenth of one percent of the population) pay 30.4 percent."
  • Nathan Lewis highlights countries that have implemented flat taxes. Key excerpt: "...Nine out of ten countries experienced an increase in tax revenue in the first year of flat-tax implementation. The average increase in revenue was 17.7% (when excluding outlier Estonia, which had an 81% increase)."
  • Warren Buffet: The Associated Press fact-checks his claims that secretaries pay more taxes than rich people, Chris Edwards labels his narrative as "bogus" and Nick Kasprak at the Tax Foundation finds his claims to be "extraordinary." Megan McArdle also pokes holes in the proposed Buffet rule. Mark Perry, meanwhile, posts a video of Buffet evading when asked the simple question of why he just doesn't simply cut a bigger check to the government if he thinks he is so undertaxed. 

Health care:
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that from 2006-2010 insurance premiums increased by no more than 6 percent. This year, however, premiums are up 9 percent. Obamacare does seem to be bending the cost curve...upwards -- and more "reforms" are on the way! The KFF report, meanwhile, dovetails nicely with this analysis.
  • Lots of people like to talk about repealing Obamacare, while Paul Ryan actually discusses what the replacement should look like.
  • The Telegraph has an update on compassionate, government-run health care in the UK.
  • Heather McDonald says the media is avoiding a basic truth in their reporting on the topic: the relationship between poverty and single parenthood. While some on the left disagree with this notion, Bryan Caplan counters
  • Writing at the Freakonomics blog, Matthew Philips contends that poverty statistics are exaggerated by looking at income instead of consumption. 
This and that:
  • Watch this Wall Street Journal video on the effort devoted by Heinz to the development of an improved ketchup packet. The effort devoted by profit-seeking enterprises to improving even the smallest aspects of our lives is amazing. The video reminded me of Gillette's initiative to design an improved razor -- to the tune of $750 million!
  • About time someone said it: why Herbert Hoover should be regarded as the father of the New Deal.
  • Damon Root gives the facts about judicial activism. We could sure make do with some more of it.
  • Another reason why being rich is glorious: fewer deaths due to extreme weather.

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