Zniževanje davkov ne vpliva na povečanje rasti

Še ena pregledna študija za ZDA, ki kaže, da znižanje davkov ne vodi k višji gospodarski aktivnosti ali zaposlenosti. Gale, Krupkin in Rueben (2016) v pregledu študij pokažejo, da zniževanje davkov na zvezni ravni ali v posamičnih zveznih državah (ki jih, seveda, vodijo republikanski guvernerji) ni povečala gospodarske rasti, pač pa je zgolj zmanjšala davčno osnovo in davčne prilive. Posledično pa je bilo treba znižati javne izdatke za javne storitve, ki pa res koristijo podjetjem – od izobraževanja do infrastrukture.

Nekateri menijo, daje to bil celo eden izmed glavnih (perverznih) namenov teh davčnih reform. Zmanjševanje davčnih prilivov so konzervativci lahko uporabili kot argument za nujno znižanje mnogih javnih izdatkov in programov za socialno šibkejše. Toda ta strategija, ki je sicer obogatila že itak premožne lastnike kapitala, je hkrati zmanjšala bazo, iz katere se ustvarja agregatno povpraševanje in posledično prizadela rast.

Many folks, and from time to time, majorities in Congress, apparently believe that the cure for what ails the economy is lower taxes – in particular, lower tax rates for high-income earners. Now this enthusiasm has spread to state governments that are led by conservatives, offering new tests of a proposition that has generated scant evidence of success elsewhere.

Failure of this idea at the federal level does not necessarily imply that tax cuts would fail to increase output and jobs at the state level. For one thing, lower taxes in one state might lure existing businesses (and jobs) from other states, even if they yield no overall increase in employment or output. But it’s also worth noting that the stakes are higher for the states. Washington can finance shortfalls in revenue by selling bonds to the public or by borrowing from the Federal Reserve – in effect, printing money. States are far more constrained by the skepticism of the private credit markets or constitutional prohibitions against deficit finance, or both. Thus, any failure of supply-side economics to work its magic could force punishing cuts in state programs. …

At the core of supply-side economics is Arthur Laffer’s back-of-the napkin curve illustrating the undeniable reality that, at some point, higher tax rates will lead to lower revenues as well as fewer jobs and slower growth. But this does not imply there are many realworld examples of tax rates so high that cutting them would have much impact on jobs or growth. That has been amply demonstrated at the national level, where tax cuts have eroded revenue without discernible effect on economic activity.

The states have no good reasons to believe that tax cuts will bring the desired manna. Yet some continue to erode their tax bases in the name of business growth in an era in which few states can afford to cut critical services (that businesses care about) ranging from education to infrastructure repair. Some ideas live on and on, no matter how much evidence accumulates against them. States that accept them as gospel anyway do so at their peril.

The vaunted Reagan tax cuts in the early 1980s produced a period of average growth, when growth is (appropriately) measured from peak to peak of the business cycle. Indeed, research by Martin Feldstein, President Reagan’s former chief economist, and Douglas Elmendorf, the former Congressional Budget Office director, concluded that the 1981 tax cuts had virtually no net impact on growth. Indeed, they found that the recovery in the 1980s could be ascribed wholly to monetary policy. It’s also worth noting that they found no evidence that the big 1981 tax cuts induced people to work more.

Apparently, no one claims that the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts stimulated growth. The two enabling acts did have the word “growth” in their titles (the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003) and slashed tax rates on ordinary income, capital gains, dividends and estates. Yet growth remained sluggish between 2001 and the beginning of the Great Recession in late 2007. Again, the gains that did occur are generally attributed to the Fed’s easy-money policy.

But the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, each about 2 percent of GDP, were small potatoes compared to the tax increases during and after World War II, when federal taxes rose by more than 10 percent of GDP. That’s right, not 10 percent of taxes, but one-tenth of the entire economy. Income tax rates went up for virtually everyone, and revenues and rates stayed higher for decades. In fact, between 1944 and 1963, the top tax bracket never fell below 90 percent. According to supply-side theory, that should have killed the economy. Instead, according to Nancy Stokey (of the University of Chicago) and Sergio Rebelo (of the Kellogg School), real per capita growth rates differed little from the historical averages. Tax rates as determinants of long-term growth fare no better in cross-country comparisons. Research by Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics), Emmanuel Saez (University of California, Berkeley) and Stefanie Stantcheva (MIT) found no relationship between how a country changed its top marginal tax rate and how rapidly it grew between 1960 and 2010.

Vir: Gale, Krupkin in Rueben (2016), There is No Reason to Believe that Tax Cuts are an Elixir for Economic Growth

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