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累进消费税的好处

坎布里奇—美国应该考虑从所得税改成累进消费税,以此作为解决不断加剧的财富不平等的办法吗?许多经济学家一直支持通过基于消费的税收制度取得岁入,这是出于效率和简单考虑。但是,尽管有时能得到一些重磅支持,却从未形成过政治气候。现在应该重新考虑累进消费税吗?

一个主要的反对意见是,改变税制可能需要非常复杂的过渡,以避免惩罚现有财富持有者,当他们想花掉他们已经缴纳过所得税的累积储蓄时,就会被征收消费税。但是,在财富不平等不断加剧的环境下,这一弊端可能微不足道。此外,消费税制度的一个巨大的优势是它不对储蓄课税,并且会给企业更多的投资激励。

显然,在解决财富不平等的问题上,还有其他更加直截了当的观点。美国参议员伊丽莎白·沃伦(Elizabeth Warren)提出对七万五千户最富有的美国家庭征收百万富翁税,对财富五千万美元以上的家庭,征收每年2%的财富税,十亿美元以上征收3%。沃伦的大胆方案在经济学家中间激起了激烈的争论,探讨这能够带来多少岁入。加州大学伯克利分校的艾曼努尔·萨伊兹(Emmanuel Saez)和加布里埃尔·祖克曼(Gabriel Zucman)——他们是不平等性话题的重磅学者——支持沃伦的计划,估算该项税收能够在十年间筹得近三万亿美元。许多著名富豪也表示支持

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  1. skidelsky147_Christoph Soederpicture alliance via Getty Images_policechristmasmarketgermany Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images

    The Terrorism Paradox

    Robert Skidelsky

    As the number of deaths from terrorism in Western Europe declines, public alarm about terrorist attacks grows. But citizens should stay calm and not give governments the tools they increasingly demand to win the “battle” against terrorism, crime, or any other technically avoidable misfortune that life throws up.