Hollings, Sen. Fritz, “Making Romney Electable,” HuffingtonPost.com, 04/25/12

“The voters are frustrated. The country is fighting in all the wars but globalization. Globalization is nothing more than a trade war with production looking for a cheaper country to produce. Every country develops an industrial policy to protect its economy. Our industrial policy is to call for “free trade” and have Corporate America develop China’s closed market. The United States needs to develop an industrial policy to make Corporate America want to invest and create jobs in our country.

Fundamental to an industrial policy is a Value Added Tax, which is rebatable on export. The corporate tax is not. A U.S. manufacturer exporting to China is taxed twice: the 35 percent corporate tax and a 17 percent VAT when the product reaches China. But U.S. manufacturers in China import their product into the U.S. tax-free. We are not only building China’s economy, but Germany’s. The BMW plant in South Carolina doesn’t make the engine or technological parts in South Carolina. They are produced in Germany, shipped at 3 percent cost; assembled at 3 percent cost and BMW produces a motor vehicle in South Carolina 13 percent cheaper than Detroit. Using its 19 percent VAT, Germany probably has as many manufacturing jobs in the U.S. as it does in Germany — which we welcome.

The people are tired of the campaign. All they have heard for a year is that both candidates are for jobs, but the plants keep closing in their states. They have caught on to ten year plans to balance the budget; to do filibusters to fundraise; taxing the rich to balance the budget; appeals to their pride and charades to create jobs. Candidates and media worry about Medicare that goes broke in 2024 and Social Security that goes broke in 2033 but not the country that’s already broke. The people are frustrated because the country is fighting all the wars but globalization. They are looking for the candidate to do something real to create jobs and pay for government. Replacing the 35 percent Corporate Tax with a 6 percent VAT does something real. The VAT has no loopholes; gives instant tax reform; produces billions to eliminate deficits and creates millions of jobs.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-ernest-frederick-hollings/making-romney-electable_b_1453065.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications

Porter, Eduardo, “A Tax Code of Politics, Not Practicality,” NYTimes.com, 04/10/2012

“Our byzantine tax code is built upon a longstanding political deal: Democrats wanted a tax scale with higher rates for richer Americans to finance social programs aimed at the poor and the middle class. Republicans countered by pushing for tax exceptions, exclusions and deductions that shielded the incomes of the rich from the taxman and reduced government revenue.

This compromise has left us with a loophole-riddled code that isn’t very good at raising money. The richest 1 percent of Americans, who make $1.5 million on average, pay 28 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That’s way below the top rate of 35 percent. The rest of us also pay little. The bottom 85 percent of taxpayers have an average federal tax rate of 12 percent. The poorest 25 percent pay less than 1 percent of their income — $77 a family, on average.

Compared to other developed countries, the United States doesn’t collect much tax at all. Tax revenue at all levels of government adds up to less than 25 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, putting us behind every other rich country and even some poor ones. Among the 34 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only Mexico and Chile collect less in taxes. The average across the O.E.C.D. is 9 percentage points higher.”…

“…(F)ederal tax revenue has not surpassed 21 percent of the nation’s output. Last year it was under 15 percent. Not only is our tax code bad at raising money, it is also plagued with perverse incentives that, added up across the population, can push us to distort the economy and slow it down”….

“ …What would a better tax system look like? Most other rich countries have one. While each country has a different version, they share a core feature: they raise a lot of money taxing people’s consumption, at the point of sale.

Consumption taxes create fewer perverse incentives because taxing what people buy doesn’t affect their choices about work and investment. If anything, such a system might promote savings, generally good for growth. These taxes are also easy to collect and hard to evade. They don’t add complexity to your tax return. Because they produce few perverse incentives, they can be used to raise a lot of money.

Consumption taxes are supported by a vast majority of economists. They underpin Western Europe’s welfare systems, which are based on the proposition that all citizens are entitled to similar income support and services to guarantee a minimum standard of living, and that everybody should pay proportionately for them. Denmark and Sweden collect about 10 percent of their gross domestic product with a value-added tax, a modern tax on consumption.

In the United States, by contrast, states raise only 2.2 percent of G.D.P. through various sales taxes.  There is no federal consumption tax at all.

A federal consumption tax has been proposed more than once. A report last year by the Congressional Research Service found that for every 1 percent levied in a value-added tax, the federal government would raise up to $55 billion a year. This new source of money could help change the political deal underpinning our tax system and pave the way to cull loopholes and reduce our top tax rates.”

 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/business/economy/a-tax-code-of-politics-not-practicality.html

Hollings, Sen. Fritz, “Untying the Knot,” HuffingtonPost.com, 04/09/12

“There is an immediate solution to deficit spending and creating jobs — just replace the 35 percent Corporate Tax with a 6 percent VAT. The 2011 Corporate Tax produced revenues of $181.1 billion. A 2011 6 percent VAT would have produced $728 billion. This will cut taxes, eliminate loopholes, give instant tax reform, promote exports, free up $2 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to create jobs in the United States, provide billions to avoid deficits, and create millions of jobs.

Everyone in Congress is for these initiatives, but not one of the 535 members will introduce the VAT solution, nor will President Obama. Why not? Because Corporate America doesn’t want to increase the cost of their China exports to the United States. U.S. exports to China are taxed twice: the 35 percent corporate tax and a 17 percent VAT when exports reach China. China’s exports to the United States are tax free. 141 countries compete in globalization with a VAT that is rebated on exports. Wall Street, the big banks, and Corporate America are the biggest contributors to the President and Congress. Contributions for reelection in Washington come before the nation’s economy. Talk shows and the political pundits don’t mention the VAT solution because the press and media are owned or in bed with Corporate America.

In 2006, the Princeton economist, Alan Blinder, estimated that for the next decade off-shoring would cost the U.S. Economy an average of 3 to 4 million jobs per year. We are off-shoring jobs faster than we can create them. The recession ended over 2 ½ years ago and we wonder why the recovery is anemic. The economy would come alive by replacing the 35 percent corporate tax with a 6 percent VAT.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-ernest-frederick-hollings/untying-the-knot_b_1412370.html

Mitchell, Daniel J., “Tax Reform to Encourage Growth, Reduce the Deficit, Promote Fairness,” Senate Budget Committee Hearing, 03/01/12

Dr. Daniel J. Mitchell, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

“The internal revenue code is needlessly punitive and complex. Some of its major flaws are:

1. High tax rates – Marginal tax rates on additional increments of productive activity are too high, discouraging people from productive behavior.

2. Biased treatment of income that is saved and invested – Because of the capital gains tax, the corporate income tax, the double tax on dividends, and the death tax, there is pervasive double taxation on capital, causing very high effective marginal tax rates.

3. Distorting loopholes – Many provisions of the internal revenue code are explicitly designed to encourage economically irrational choices.

4. Worldwide application – The United States have the world’s most onerous tax system for international activity.

5. Corruption – While in most cases technically legal, the common practice of swapping favorable tax policies for political support is corrosive.

6. Complexity – Nearly 100 years of tax changes have produced 72,000 pages of law and accompanying regulation.

Tax reform has the potential to reduce, or perhaps even eliminate, these problems. But it also could make them worse. To ensure the best possible outcome, lawmakers should be guided by these principles.

A. Tax rates should be as low as possible – Taxes are a price, and it doesn’t make sense to impose a high price of work and entrepreneurship. . The tax system should not discriminate against capital formation – Since every economic theory, even Marxism and socialism, holds that saving and investment is a key to long-run growth and higher living standards, it doesn’t make sense to impose extra-high tax rates on capital.

C. Government should not tilt the playing field with preferences or penalties – Luring people into making economically inefficient choices makes the economy less productive.

D. Territorial taxation – This is the good-fences-makes-good-neighbors approach to tax policy. Disputes with other nations become trivial if each nation is in charge of taxing economic activity inside its borders.

The ideal system, based on the above principles, is a low-rate, consumption-base, loophole-free tax.

The best-known tax meeting these criteria is the flat tax, as developed by Professors Hall and Rabushka at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

But the value-added tax is also satisfies these principles – assuming it is replacement rather than add-on tax. And a national sales tax also shares these theoretical qualities.

All of these tax regimes have different collection points, but the tax base is identical. All economic activity is taxed, but only one time and at a low rate.

If lawmakers want to improve growth, particularly in a competitive global economy, where labor and capital can cross borders in search of pro-growth fiscal policy, they should seek to reform the tax system so it fulfills these principles. Economists will not agree on how much additional growth such a system will generate, but they generally will agree that a low-rate, consumption-base, loophole-free tax is the way to minimize the damage caused by taxation.”

http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/committeehearings?ContentRecord_id=553aa480-29a4-44b4-8b3f-9fc8004f4e81&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=d68d31c2-2e75-49fb-a03a-be915cb4550b

Burman, Leonard E., “Tax Reform to Encourage Growth, Reduce the Deficit, Promote Fairness,” Senate Budget Committee Hearing, 03/01/12

Dr. Leonard E. Burman, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Professor of Public Affairs, Maxwell School of Syracuse University

“As noted, the BPC proposed to introduce a small VAT in the U.S. The advantage of a VAT is that it does not tax saving and is thus thought to be more conducive to economic growth than the income tax.  The tax has never gained traction in the U.S. because conservatives are concerned that it would fuel more growth in government and liberals worry that it is regressive. To address the first concern, I have suggested that a VAT be earmarked to pay for government’s health care costs. I believe this would actually help to constrain spending since, for the first time, consumers would see a connection between their health benefits and their tax bill.  If health care costs continue to grow faster than the economy, the VAT rate will rise, which taxpayers would dislike.  This could build support for sensible measures to constrain government health care spending.

The regressivity of a VAT may be offset by refundable tax credits designed to match the typical VAT levied on a family at the poverty line. This is similar to, although much smaller than, the “prebate” proposed as part of the national retail sales tax (or “FairTax”).”

http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/committeehearings?ContentRecord_id=553aa480-29a4-44b4-8b3f-9fc8004f4e81&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=d68d31c2-2e75-49fb-a03a-be915cb4550b

 

Hollings, Sen. Fritz, “Building the Economy,” HuffingtonPost.com, 02/14/12

 “Just at the time we need government, all the candidates run “against big government.” “I served in government, but didn’t inhale.” “Get government out of the way so market forces can work.” Who do they think developed the economy? Not market forces. Not Corporate America, whose executives caterwaul “free trade;” “protectionism.” The government of China develops the most closed, controlled economy in history, and Corporate America off-shores to China.

The founding fathers taught us that government creates the economy. The U.S. was born in a trade war (the Boston Tea Party) and President George Washington’s first message to Congress emphasized “manufactories.” The government developed our economy with the Tariff Act of 1789. The Mother Country opposed this development, cautioning against protectionism, calling for “free trade,” and nagging David Ricardo’s “doctrine of comparative advantage” — England’s textiles versus Portugal’s wines. But Alexander Hamilton saved us with his famous “Report on Manufactures,” and Henry Clay exclaimed on the floor of the United States Senate in 1836 that free trade “never existed; it never will exist… ” Abraham Lincoln was a protectionist. Theodore Roosevelt wrote a friend: “Thank God I’m not a free trader.” We didn’t pass the income tax until 1913. We built this nation with protectionism into an economic superpower, “… twenty-five billion dollars more than her nearest rival, Great Britain… ” (Theodore Rex, Edmund Morris, p. 20). President Theodore Roosevelt kept market forces from working with anti-trust laws so that we have an open market today.

How do you think government builds a strong economy? Paying its bills, incentives and enforcing its trade laws to protect investment. Globalization is nothing more than a trade war with production looking for a government cheaper to produce. In globalization the war has expanded from trade to research, technology, innovation, production, jobs, payrolls — the economy. Corporate America has $3 trillion ready to invest, waiting for the President and Congress to determine the increase in revenues bound to occur. Corporate America demands protection. Rather than bailing out Detroit, President Obama could have protected motor vehicles by imposing a tariff on auto imports like Brazil is now imposing. Rather than begging Russia for helicopters, President Obama should enforce the War Production Act of 1950 which would create millions of jobs. Everyone knows that you can’t build a strong economy with federal aid to keep the policemen, firemen and teachers in their jobs or cut payroll taxes which Wall Street executive, Steve Rattner, says: “… provides little lasting benefit. We could just as effectively throw borrowed hundred-dollar bills out of airplanes.”

How could President Obama and Congress bring Corporate America back from China? Easy. Just take the tax benefit to off-shore and give it to Corporate America to on-shore — cancel the 35 percent corporate tax and replace it with a 6 percent value added tax. Immediately, the CEOs, tax lawyers and tax lobbyists cry: “We can’t have a national sales tax.” 141 countries compete in globalization with a VAT or national sales tax. Replacing the corporate tax with a 6 percent VAT is on value added, not sales, and a tax cut. Reason for the howls: a VAT has no loopholes. The CEOs and Corporate America with today’s loopholes are not paying any tax. They could care less about building our economy. China is getting difficult every day. This tax cut releases $3 trillion for Corporate America to create millions of jobs in the United States. The 2010 corporate tax produced $194.1 billion in revenues. A 2010 6 percent VAT would have produced $700 billion in revenues. Exemptions for the poor leave billions to pay down the debt. The VAT is on consumption — the more you consume, the more you pay. Now folks can pay their fair share of taxes. The VAT promotes exports and is self-enforcing. A good bit of the IRS is eliminated, reducing the size of government.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-ernest-frederick-hollings/building-the-economy_b_1277012.html