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财富税难道不是常识吗?

伯克利—民主党初选领先者开始支持“财富税”,对此我一点都不觉得惊奇。这一概念由我的加州大学伯克利分校同事加布里埃尔·祖克曼(Gabriel Zucman)和艾曼努尔·赛伊兹(Emmanuel Saez提出。让我感到惊奇的是这些候选人所遭致的反诘,特别是来自那些应该支持一切让美国的税制更加累进的人的反诘。

刚开始学习公共财政时,我得到的教导是,税收有三大原则,均来自十七世纪法国政治家科尔伯特(Jean-Baptiste Colbert)的格言:“既要[拔]最大量的鹅毛,又要让鹅不叫唤。”

第一个原则是永远要扩大税基,从而你能够以尽可能低的税率实现税收目标(让鹅叫唤得最少)。第二个原则是对无弹性得名目征税,从而尽可能减小税收制度对总体经济活动模式得扭曲。最后,应该被课税最多的行为人是那些支付税收的效应损失最小的人,亦即富人。

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