Vihar v kozarcu vode: Ameriški demokrati predlagajo dvig zgornje dohodninske stopnje na 70%

Prejšnji vikend je v ZDA izbruhnil pravcati mali vihar, ko je nova (progresivna) poslanka v Kongresu Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) predlagala dvig zgornje mejne stopnje dohodnine na raven med 70 in 80%. Med ekonomisti je predlog takoj podprl Paul Krugman (The Economics of Soaking the Rich) in navedel, da so to stopnje, ki jih predlagajo vodilni ekonomski raziskovalci s področja neenakosti (od Diamonda, Pikettyja, Zucmana, Romerjeve itd.) in da so takšne (in višje) stopnje dohodnine v ZDA že imeli po drugi svetovni vojni, kar pa ni imelo negativnega učinka na rast. Nasprotno, rast je bila višja kot v času rekordno nizkih davkov. Krugman:

The controversy of the moment involves AOC’s advocacy of a tax rate of 70-80 percent on very high incomes, which is obviously crazy, right? I mean, who thinks that makes sense? Only ignorant people like … um, Peter Diamond, Nobel laureate in economics and arguably the world’s leading expert on public finance (although Republicans blocked him from an appointment to the Federal Reserve Board with claims that he was unqualified. Really.) And it’s a policy nobody has every implemented, aside from … the United States, for 35 years after World War II — including the most successful period of economic growth in our history.

To be more specific, Diamond, in work with Emmanuel Saez — one of our leading experts on inequality — estimated the optimal top tax rate to be 73 percent. Some put it higher: Christina Romer, top macroeconomist and former head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, estimates it at more than 80 percent.

So AOC, far from showing her craziness, is fully in line with serious economic research. (I hear that she’s been talking to some very good economists.) Her critics, on the other hand, do indeed have crazy policy ideas — and tax policy is at the heart of the crazy.

You see, Republicans almost universally advocate low taxes on the wealthy, based on the claim that tax cuts at the top will have huge beneficial effects on the economy. This claim rests on research by … well, nobody. There isn’t any body of serious work supporting G.O.P. tax ideas, because the evidence is overwhelmingly against those ideas.

Tudi jaz sem pred leti v preglednem komentarju Ti nesrečni davki (pa tudi v Ali znižanje davkov res povečuje gospodarsko rast?), ki je temeljil na doslej znanih objavljenih študijah, ugotavljal podobno, da visoke stopnje dohodnine nimajo negativnega učinka na rast in da znižanje davkov nima pozitivnega učinka na rast, pač pa le na povečanje neenakosti:

Ameriški kongresni analitski urad (Congressional Research Service, CRS) je v letih 2011 in 2012 pripravil dve analizi povezav med višino davkov ter gospodarsko rastjo, varčevanjem, investicijami in neenakostjo. Na podlagi uporabe podatkov za obdobje 1945 – 2010 so precej jasno pokazali, da je gre pri blagodejnem učinku znižanja davkov na gospodarstvu zgolj za lažen mit. Namreč dinamika najvišjih davčnih stopenj na dohodke in na kapitalske dobičke je (1) pozitivno povezana z gospodarsko rastjo (ob višjih davkih je tudi rast BDP višja), (2) ni korelirana z zasebnim varčevanjem (zaradi nižjih davkov bogati ne varčujejo nič več), (3) ni korelirana z zasebnimi investicijami (nižji davki ne spodbujajo investicj) in (4) je močno negativno povezana s stopnjo neenakosti (znižanje davkov je nadproporcionalno povečalo prihodke zgornjega 1% in močno povečalo neenakost). To negativno povezavo med gospodarsko rastjo in najvišjimi davčnimi stopnjami v ZDA, narejeno na istih podatkih, kot jih je uporabil CRS; si lahko ogledate tudi na spodnji sliki. Taxes and growth2Vir: CRS, Worldbank; lastni preračuni.

No, po tem predlogu AOC so seveda republikanci udarili z vsemi topovi, med ekonomisti pa sta se republikancem pridružila konzervativna ekonomista John Cochrane in Tyler Cowen. Slednji (ki je sicer urednik znanega bloga supply-side oziroma “neoliberalne” usmeritve Marginal Revolution) v Bloombergu pravi, da je zvišanje davkov slaba ekonomija in še slabša politika ter da gre za zastonjsko volilno kampanjo demokratov v korist Trumpa. Zvišanje zgornje mejne davčne stopnje bi namreč prizadelo pewdvsem sloj belih visoko izobraženih profesionalcev z visokimi dohodki (od zdravnikov, odvetnikov do menedžerjev), ki  pa niso samo davkoplačevalci, pač pa tudi donatorji in opinion makerji v svojih okoljih. Demokrati bi z zvišanjem zgornje dohodninske stopnje izgubili njihove glasove in jih pahnili v naročje republikancev. Cowen:

Who then is most likely to pay more? Well, it depends on exactly which income level the higher rate would set in. But say you had a 70 percent rate at $500,000 and above. The biggest losers would be high-earning professionals in major cities and suburbs. Think doctors, lawyers, business consultants and the like, mostly on the coasts. A lot of those people live in blue states and are highly educated. More and more of them are educated women. All of these groups tend to be strongly anti-Trump, often passionately so.

And they are not just voters, they are donors, fundraisers, organizers and prominent voices in their communities. Some of them are even columnists for newspapers and web sites, or TV pundits. In essence, the Democrats would be giving some of their most influential supporters a huge pay cut. The party also would be telling them they can’t ever hope to build up much of a financial cushion for the future.

You might think this is all fair compared to what the government does to address the travails of a single mother trying to get by on $27,000 a year. But I don’t think that message will be especially well-received.

Keep in mind the 70 percent marginal tax rate is on the federal level. If you live in, say, California, the maximum state income tax rate is over 12 percent, which could increase your total marginal rate to more than 82 percent. (Just imagine if the 12 percent were added to an 80 percent marginal income tax rate.) If you then consider that some cities have income taxes, and the effect of sales taxes, then the true marginal rates go higher yet.

You don’t have to be an Arthur Laffer supply-sider to suspect that is bad economics. Nor do you have to be an especially close follower of the news to realize that it is also disastrous politics.

Cowen ima tokrat najbrž prav, da bi dvig zgornje dohodninske stopnje na drastično raven zaradi piarovskega učinka imel slabe učinke na možnosti demokratov na predsedniških kongresnih volitvah v 2020. Toda to še ne pomeni, da se teh zaželjenih učinkov, t.j. višje obdavčitve premožnih, ne da doseči na bolj prefinjen način. Namreč razlike v premoženju v ZDA nastajajo v manjši meri zaradi razlik v plačah, pač pa pretežno zaradi razlik v kapitalskih dohodkih. Premožnejši velik del svojih dohodkov in premoženja investirajo, prav tako super dobro plačani menedžerji večji del svoje plače dobivajo v bonusih (opcijah za nakup delnic podjetij) in iz teh naložb izhaja večji del njihovih dohodkov (kapitalski dohodki). Če želite obdavčiti te visoke dohodke, ni treba drastično dvigovati dohodninskih stopenj na dohodke iz dela, pač pa le uvesti cedularni davek na kapitalske dohodke in tega dvigniti na ustrezno visoko raven.

Cedularno obdavčitev kapitalskih dohodkov ima Slovenija (25%), ob njej pa še Nemčija, Avstrija, Japonska itd., medtem ko je ZDA nimajo. Lepota cedularne obdavčitve je, da gre za končni in enkratni davek od kapitalskih dohodkov in da je neodvisen od stopenj dohodnine. Če želijo demokrati obdavčiti visoke dohodke od kapitalskih dohodkov premožnejšemu sloju v ZDA, ni treba dvigovati najvišje dohodninske stopnje, s čimer bi višje obdavčili tudi dohodke od dela, pač pa le specifično ciljati na bogate lastnike kapitala in jim denimo z davkom pobrati 30 ali 40% letnih donosov od tega kapitala.

One response

  1. Enako bi morala (v okviru vzpostavitve fiskalne unije) narediti EU – uskladiti (glede na PPP) in dvigniti dohodninske stopnje in uvesti enotno stopnjo davka na kap. dohodke.

%d bloggers like this: