The distribution of the tax burden is obviously a politically loaded question, where those on the right tend to have an interest in claiming that the US tax system is already (too) progressive, while those on the left wanting to increase the share of the burden shouldered by the rich. However, the question of how progressive the system is an empirical question. In fact, the system of taxation in the United States is relatively progressive. What makes this fact surprising is that tax progressivity and fiscal redistribution (the reduction of inequality by government action) are often conflated, and it remains true that redistribution in the US is low, due mainly to the relatively small size of the US government. The American case typifies one pole of a robust negative relationship between tax progressivity and overall redistribution, the cause of which remains a contested question in the literature on comparative political economy.
I’m hesitating a bit to post this, because there are tons of ways that claims and studies like this can be biased, but I think the article is thought-provoking and worth reading. If you end up finding responses by respectable economists, please comment.
A survey has revealed that the people of Libya may not be keen on democracy after all. The “Arab Spring” has been celebrated in the Western world as a struggle of democracy against dictatorship. Often the implicit assumption was that what the revolutionaries who were trying to overthrow their authoritarian regimes wanted was a Western-style parliamentary democracy. So when only 15 per cent of those surveyed in Libya say they want democracy established in a year, compared with 40 per cent who profess a preference for a “strong leader”, it’s a bit of a let-down for Western cheerleaders of the upheavals in the Arab world. Moreover, apparently only about a third of those polled wanted democracy even in five years’ time.
Today’s democracies seem incapable of making difficult decisions, as Europe demonstrates, or they are run by corporations with deep pockets, as the US demonstrates.
Now go tell people in Libya what’s so great about a democracy.
The average Dutch person is taller and lives longer than most other Europeans. And although the country may be overpopulated and polluted, the UN’s human-development index ranks it as the third-best place to live in the world, after Norway and Australia. High living standards, good health care and low accident-mortality rates matter, says Mr Boot. In times of crisis, they may seem to matter more than the environment.
According to Rick Santorum, we stretch old people there before you euthanize them. That must be it.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is being questioned by French police as part of an investigation into a suspected prostitution ring.
One of Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers has said that the former French presidential hopeful did not know that the women at parties he attended were prostitutes.
“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman,” Henri Leclerc told French radio Europe 1 in December.
OK, Dommy, here’s a clue. If you are at an orgy where all the men are rich, white, overweight and over 50 and all the women are pretty, athletic, undressed and under 25; I’d say they should be a slight suspicion that the women are doing it for the money.
Greece will need additional relief if it is to cut its debts to 120 percent of GDP by 2020 and if it doesn’t follow through on structural reforms and other measures, its debt could hit 160 percent by 2020, a confidential analysis conducted by the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission shows.
The baseline scenario in the 9-page report, obtained exclusively by Reuters, is that Greece will cut its debts to 129 percent of GDP by 2020, well above the 120 percent target.
“The results point to a need for additional debt relief from the official or private sectors to bring the debt trajectory down,” said the report, which is being discussed by euro zone finance ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Monday to decide on a second financing program for Greece.
beatings austerity will continue until morale the economy improves.
His career will soon get back on track. A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones.
But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information.
Police departments yesterday, your neighbor today. This happened much faster than I expected.
A report commissioned by Hadopi, which has a budget of €11 million and employs 70 people, showed a sharp decline in file-sharing since the system was put in place.
A separate study by researchers at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh suggests that Hadopi has given a lift to legal downloads via the Apple iTunes music store. Since the spring of 2009, when the debate over the measure was raging, through mid-2011, iTunes sales rose much more strongly in France than in other European countries.
While there is no proof that Hadopi was responsible, the study says the case for a link was bolstered by the fact that sales of musical genres that suffer from high levels of piracy, like hip-hop, rose much more than sales of low-piracy genres, like Christian and classical music. The researchers calculated that Hadopi resulted in an extra €13.8 million a year worth of iTunes music sales in France. Adding the potential benefit to other legitimate digital music services, including fast-growing online streaming services, which provide music for online playback rather than downloads, the gain could have been substantially larger, they said.
It seems like there is substantive support here for the claim that piracy was reducing music sales (in the differential between genres and between France and other countries). You can’t explain this by saying that downloading gave people a taste for the music which they needed to satisfy once they stopped downloading, because the music they tasted from downloading they already had possession of, free and clear.
I’m curious what the counter-argument is. I’m sure someone here has one.