Doing my taxes (yep another procrastinator) and getting the little Tea-bagger (talk about darker side!) inside me a bit angry. Just read this week David Cay Johnston's great piece for the Willamette Week debunking the myths about taxes (e.g. the rich pay most of the taxes, but not really, just most of the income tax, and so on). He shows that the worker making the median wage pays around 23% of his/her income as compared to almost 19% for the 400 wealthiest Americans (See Table below).
If that does not lend support to Obama's proposal to allow the top rate to increase again to 39.6%, I don't know what does. The graph below (via thruth&politics) shows the top marginal tax rate over time.
We do not need to go back to the good old times of that Socialist, Eisenhower, when marginal tax rates where 91%, but it would certainly help to raise taxes on the rich, if you are really concerned about public debt. It seems that class warfare wasn't that bad!
So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.
The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…
So, a few days ago, someone (my bad, can't remember who did it) posted on FB a piece (in Portuguese and behind a wall; but this post is mostly about the role of historical comparisons really, so you can skip the piece altogether) on the Brazilian National Development Bank (Portuguese acronym is BNDES, btw) and how it lend more than the US government with the Marshall Plan. The guy did a back of the envelope calculation (I did check and bringing the US$ 13 billion to present value, with the GDP deflator would be about 106 billion, roughly what he calculated) and concluded that the BNDES lending, which was higher, was very ineffective. Hm. Where to start?
Sure one can assume that the important thing is just to calculate how much money was lent in current values and one gets a reasonable picture of the impact. However, it should be clear that the US was lending dollars, and access to imports that were vital for the survival of Europe. Harder to put a dollar figure on that. But a bet…