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The Great Global Lie

January 12, 2015 in Economics

By Richard W. Rahn

Richard W. Rahn

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands — Cayman is prosperous, in part, because of a great global lie, which causes many big rich nations to pursue bad economic policies. The global lie is that the developed countries have too little government, rather than too much.

That lie causes countries to tax themselves far above the level that would maximize the general welfare and job creation. That lie causes governments to spend money on many nonproductive activities and to spend money far less efficiently than the private sector for the same activity. Finally, that lie causes governments to regulate excessively and often in a destructive manner. The simple and obvious empirical fact that most developing and developed countries with smaller government sectors have grown faster in recent decades than those countries with big government sectors is ignored both by the politicians and many in the media.

The Economist magazine is just out with its annual lists of economic forecasts for the major developed countries. It makes for depressing reading. The euro area (including Germany, France, Italy and Spain) and Japan had less than 1 percent growth in 2014, and are forecast to average only about 1 percent growth in 2015, which is little more than stagnation. Britain and the United States are doing the best — having growth of about 2.9 percent for Britain and 2.3 percent for the United States in 2014 — with a forecast of approximately 3 percent growth for both in 2015. These numbers are all well below the averages for the great prosperity that lasted for the 25-year period from 1983 to 2007. The unemployment rate for the eurozone at the end of this past year was 11.5 percent (depression levels).

Offshore financial centers owe their prosperity to tax transparency, not tax evasion.”

The political classes in these countries, rather than taking responsibility for their own misguided policies, look for scapegoats. Their favorite scapegoats are high-growth countries with low tax rates on savings and investment. They blame offshore financial centers like Cayman, Hong Kong, Bermuda, and even mid-sized countries like Switzerland for engaging in “unfair tax competition.”

Critics of Cayman and other offshore financial centers call them “tax havens,” ignoring the fact that they all have many taxes, particularly on consumption — which is good tax policy — rather than on productive labor and capital — which is bad tax policy. The statist political actors in the high-tax jurisdictions will not …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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