Re: (OPE-L) taxation and public finance in Marxian literature

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Wed May 19 2004 - 13:34:06 EDT

Anders wrote:

>It is a problem for the left of the situation that the right-wing populist
>party gets a lot of votes among the core of industrial and/or unionized
>workers for their opposition to the *complicated* tax system.

In the US it's important to determine whether tax cuts are applied to
income rather than payroll taxes. The former kind of tax cut tends to
aggravate inequality. On regressiveness in US, see
Subject: (OPE-L) Who pays for the "welfare" in the welfare state? A
multicountry study. Anwar Shaikh.
Social Research, Summer 2003 v70 i2 p531(21)
Who pays for the "welfare" in the welfare state? A multicountry
study. Anwar Shaikh.

In the US it's inappropriate to study fiscal policy without due
attention to the role of foreign capital flows in the financing of
government debt. The piece on the Dumenil and Levy website on
importance of capital inflow to maintainence of US debt happy ways
seems very important.  Fiscal policy would be another case where self
enclosed national study may be misleading. At least for the US. I
think the same applies to national time series on the profit rate. It
tends to occlude the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on the
profit rate. Whatever differences one has with Brenner, he was surely
right to focus attention on currency volatility. It does seem that
there was  jostling of losses between esp the US and Japan through
currency manipulation from the Plaza Accord on. Moreover, the effects
of declining terms of trade,  unequal exchange in the Bauer-Grossmann
sense, the import of human capital gratis, etc. tend to be ignored
through nationalist focus. Which is not to say these international
factors have the decisive effect on a national profit rate. There is
the other question of the concentration of capital, so explosive in
the last fifteen years of the 20th century (see Frederick Pryor The
Future of US Capitalism). This may have two effects: a maintainence
of the rate of profit through slow down in the rate of accumulation
and an explosion in real unemployment (which should include below
poverty wage work) and more domination of the state by capital. The
latter would block progressive tax reform.

Sorry for the ramble. Back to grading.


ps. isnt it the same Adolph Wagner whom Marx critiqued in those late
Notes considered the father of public finance theory? Then there's
the old debate between Schumpeter and Rudolf Goldschied. Richard A
Musgrave is considered the American dean of public finance.

>  Although the
>full digitalization has made the actual filling out of the forms very easy
>for most of us. The rich still uses a tax-lawyer to find the loop-holes.
>The only tax they really pay today is the VAT (often not even that since
>they have part of their private consumption through their firms!) - and the
>fees (water, garbage etc.).
>Is there any radical literature on tax-systems?
>Anders Ekeland

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