‘Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.’

Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767)

05 March 2012

The Global Economics of Corporate Tax Cuts

With the burgeoning of the modern welfare state, taxes on corporations are widely accepted as one of the least offensive ways to raise funds to pay for them. But is this true?

Corporations — and, more accurately, their fiduciary officers — are self-interested organisations, which pass along tax burdens in the form of increased prices to consumers; where competition limits such price flexibility, costs are borne by employees or by reductions in capital accumulation.

As students of the Laffer curve theory know, too, raising taxes does not necessarily mean increased tax revenues; as the wit says, oftentimes less is more.

Moreover, in to-day’s globalised economy, nations seeking to attract businesses must compete with other countries by offering levels of taxation that are conducive for enterprises to set up shop within their borders — and to remain as satisfied tax-payers, untempted by the allure of foreign tax incentives.

Recent Canadian economic news — both in relation to arguments for higher corporation taxes and the revenue generated through lower taxes — is instructive.

Click here for my full argument at the Adam Smith Institute.