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It certainly needs to be popularized China has several news sites in Esperanto that are updated on a daily basis. China Radio International is one of them, for example. If you can tease the news away from the propaganda, it's actually not a bad site to visit.
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Just don't expect to see a lot of stories about riots in Tibet when there are riots in Tibet. When precisely that was happening a few years ago, there WERE plenty of stories about Tibet: about how happy the Tibetans were to be part of China, about how well the Chinese and the Tibetans get along, and so on. What riots? There are no riots here! So, you know, take it with a grain of salt. But it makes for interesting reading. There's an Esperanto version of Wikinews , if that interests you, although, it doesn't seem to be updated very frequently.
Yeah, plus the Chinese news is heavy on information about party officials visiting places, and telling you about what they saw. So if you want to know about that stuff, that's an excellent source. The result is that the tax system is increasingly biased in favour of the most mobile to the extent that the costs of fiscal competition are becoming increasingly heavy for the middle and working classes, potentially heavier than the gains from market integration.
In other words, the growing distrust which Europe has evoked amongst the lower income groups for decades is not an irrational whim, but does, on the contrary, correspond to a profound reality, a fundamental mistake in conception that needs to be corrected as a matter of urgency before the situation becomes explosive. Now the fact is that the creation of a Franco-German Assembly, open immediately to Italy, Spain and all the countries that so desire, and qualified to adopt strong measures of fair taxation, is not a utopia.
This could be set up immediately.
This would permit a reduction in the tax burden of the lower income groups and the financing of the ecological transition. A detailed proposal, developed by lawyers and citizens from all over Europe has received the support of over , signatures www. It can and should be improved. The main point is that each government and political movement should publically defend specific proposals, and stop declaring that this is impossible and taking refuge behind the reluctance of the others. Should it be impossible to convince the 27 for the moment, then we must resolve to cut the Gordian knot and build separate political institutions for a small number of countries; these would complement the current EU institutions.
The present institutions are blocked by the unanimity rule and it has now been demonstrated that these do not enable the adoption of the slightest tax in common. We therefore have to build new institutions which the other countries will join when these have proved their efficiency. If the French and German governments refuse to change Europe, it is also because basically they remain convinced that the advantages of tax competition outweigh the disadvantages or that the benefits are not large enough to justify such a huge change.
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By so doing, they demonstrate that they are not in step with the times: they have not yet recognised the strong trend to the increase in inequalities. Their position was tenable in the s. But ten years after the financial crisis in demonstrated the fragility of the Euro and of Europe this position is outdated. If Europe does not stand for fiscal justice then the nationalists will win the day. What if the final blow for Emmanuel Macron came from the Massachusetts State senator and not from the yellow vests? Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University law professor, not really an adept of Chavism or urban guerrilla warfare, a declared candidate in the Democratic primaries in , has just made public what will doubtless be one of the key points in the coming campaign, namely the creation for the first time in the United States of a genuine federal progressive wealth tax.
The tax would apply to all assets, with no exemptions, with dissuasive sanctions for persons and governments who do not transmit appropriate information on assets held abroad. What is certain is that the issue of fiscal justice will be central to the presidential campaign in While the Warren proposal is the most innovative, the three approaches are complementary and should be mutually beneficial. Between and , while the concentration of industrial and financial wealth was gaining momentum in the United States, and the country was threatening to become almost as unequal as old Europe, a powerful political movement in favour of an improved distribution in wealth was developing.
This led to the creation of a federal tax on income in and on inheritances in Clearly this did not destroy American capitalism, far from it. It made it more egalitarian and more productive, at a time when the United States had not forgotten that it was their level of educational advancement and their investment in training and skills that was the backbone of their prosperity, and not the religion of property and inequality.
Reagan, then Bush and Trump subsequently endeavoured to destroy this heritage. They turned their backs on the egalitarian origins of the country, by counting on historical amnesia and by fuelling identity-based divisions.
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With the hindsight we have today, it is obvious that the outcome of this policy is disastrous. Between and , the rise in per capita national income was halved in comparison with the period There is something obvious about the movement of return to progressive taxation and greater justice which is emerging today and which is long over-due. The innovation is that it is now a question of creating an annual wealth tax, in addition to the income and inherited estate taxes. This is a crucial innovation in terms of justice and efficiency.
Numerous one-shot capital levies have been successfully applied to real estate, professional and financial assets subsequent to the world wars to pay off public debts, in particular in Japan, in Germany, Italy, France and in many European countries. With an annual wealth tax designed to be applied on a permanent basis, the rates are of necessity more restricted.
However, they must be high enough to enable genuine mobility of wealth. From this point of view, the tax on inherited wealth comes much too late. We are not going to wait until Bezos or Zuckerberg reach the age of 90 before they begin to pay taxes. It is also crucial to allocate all the revenue to the reduction of inequalities.
Those two venerable property taxes which, contrary to what is sometimes stated, tax not only the ownership of housing independent of any income, which everyone readily admits, at least for the biggest owners , but also tax business assets offices, plots of land, warehouses, etc. The problem is that they have never been genuinely re-thought since the 18 th century.
The time has come for them to become progressive taxes with graduated rates on net assets, with the key element being strong reductions for indebeted households who are seeking to accede to property ownership. PS: on the Warren proposal, see also this paper by E. Saez and G. One of the ideas raised by the yellow vests is the possibility of a referendum on the cancellation of the public debt. In reality history shows that it is customary to resort to exceptional solutions when the debt reaches this type of level. However, a referendum would not enable us to solve such a complex problem.
There are numerous ways of cancelling a debt, with very different social effects. This is what should be discussed instead of leaving these decisions to others and to the forthcoming crises. To ensure that everyone can make up their minds, I am going to give two sets of information here. The first concerns the present European regulations; then I will turn to the way in which debts of this size have been dealt with in history. The explanation is that the Maastricht Treaty was amended by the new budgetary treaty adopted in This text stipulates that henceforth the deficit must not exceed 0.
We should point out that the deficit targeted by these texts is always the secondary deficit, that is, after payment of interest on the debt. To achieve a secondary deficit limited to 0. In other words, taxpayers will have to pay taxes which are higher than the expenditures benefitting them, with a difference of 3. However the social and political consequences of this type of choice have to be considered. This amounts to over billion Euros per annum, which one can compare for example with the miserable 2 billion per annum invested in the Erasmus programme.
This is a possible choice, but are we sure that it is the best one to prepare for the future? If similar amounts were devoted to training and research, then Europe could become the leading pole of innovation at world level, ahead of the United States. What is certain is that history shows that there are other ways of proceeding.
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One example often quoted is the big debts of the 20 th century. Their debts were written off in a few years by a mix of cancellation pure and simple, inflation and exceptional taxation of private property which is the same thing as inflation, but is more civilised: the rich can be made to pay more and the middle class protected. The German external debt was frozen by the London Debt Agreement in , and then definitively written off in This is how Germany and France found themselves with no public debt and able to invest in growth in the years However, the most relevant comparison is the Revolution in In , the Assembly obtained the publication of the list of names in the Grand livre des pensions which contained both annuities to courtiers, as well as payments to former senior officials, with payments ten or twenty times higher than the average income, which created a scandal the comparison with the salary of the President of the National Commission for Public Debate springs to mind.
It all ended with the setting up of a somewhat fairer form of taxation and above all, the bankruptcy of two-thirds of those named and a major inflation of the assignats or promissory notes. In comparison the present situation is both more complex each country holds a part of the debt of the others and more simple: we have, with the ECB, an institution which enables us to freeze debts and we could adopt a fairer system of European tax system by finally setting up a sovereign Assembly.
But if we continue to explain that it is impossible to make the richest Europeans pay and that only the immobile classes have to pay, then inevitably we run the risk of facing serious rebellions in the future. On the history of debt in 18thth centuries, see for instance Capital in the 21st century , , chapters ; for complete series, see this article published in QJE and its appendices. All this was done at top speed, in a spirit of invincibility and without the slightest qualm of conscience.
The current leadership has committed a series of factual, historical and political errors which it is urgent and possible to correct today. In the first instance, Macron attempted to justify the abolition of the wealth tax by stating that this tax was instrumental in wealth leaving France. The problem is that this statement is totally unfounded from a factual point of view. Since we have witnessed a spectacular and continuous rise in the number of estates and amounts of wealth declared to the wealth tax. This development has taken place in all bands of the wealth tax, in particular in the highest bands, where the number and amount of financial assets has risen even faster than the holdings in real estate, which in turn have risen more rapidly than the GDP and the total payroll.
The falls in the stock exchange in and meant a temporary calm in this evolution but, as soon as the crises ended, the long-term trends picked up again. In total, the income from the wealth tax ISF more than quadrupled between and , rising from 1 billion to over 4 billions, whereas the nominal GDP was only multiplied by two. All this despite the numerous reductions, exemptions and capping granted over the years to the wealth tax payers and despite the fact that the threshold for inclusion in the wealth tax ISF has gradually been raised from 0.
Furthermore, the fiscal control of this tax has always been inadequate. We just have to consider, for example, that the pre-filled returns have been in place for 10 years for income tax, but they have never been applied for the wealth tax, whereas the banks could easily transmit all the information required to the tax authorities. In , the detailed tax declaration above 3 million Euros was even abolished since then all that is required is a global amount of wealth with no possibility of systematic control.
With improved administration, the wealth tax ISF could today yield over 10 billion Euros. Moreover this is in no way surprising, bearing in mind the fact that the property tax yields over 40 billion Euros and that the wealth tax is extremely concentrated especially the financial assets, exempted from property tax. The fact remains that in the present state of the law and the administration of the wealth tax ISF , both of which are defective, the revenue from this tax has nevertheless risen from 1 to 4 billion between and Given the evolution in wealth, it should have risen to almost 6 billion in Between now and we will have lost 5 billion Euros per year and find ourselves back at the level we were at thirty years ago.
It is undeniable that the United States and the United Kingdom launched a process of dismantling fiscal progressivity in the s and that this movement was partly followed in Europe in the s and at the beginning of the years — for example with the suspension of the wealth tax in Germany and Sweden and as a bonus that of the inheritance tax in the latter case. But are we really so sure that these policies produced the effects expected? Since the crisis in , and even more so since Trump, Brexit and the explosion of the xenophobe vote all over Europe, there is a better appreciation of the dangers posed by the rise in inequality and the sense of abandonment in the working classes, so that many now understand the need for a new social regulation of capitalism.
In these conditions, adding a further measure in favour of the richest in was not really very clever.