Three Reasons Why The Biden Tax Increase Makes No Sense

Anyone who believes the “rich” and large corporations will pay for $28 trillion in debt or the $2 trillion in new deficit has a real problem with maths.

Biden’s announcement of a massive tax increase on businesses and wealthier segments of the population simply makes no sense. The tax hikes will have a significant impact on economic growth, investment, and job creation and do not even scratch the surface of the structural deficit. Even if we believe the Gross Domestic Product growth and revenue estimates announced by the Biden administration, the impact on debt and deficit is negligible. So, what is their response? That debt and deficits do not matter because the key now is to spur growth and the cost of borrowing is low despite the rising debt.

Furthermore, the Biden administration has been inundated by MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) proponents who passionately believe that deficits are good because they attend to the rising global demand for US dollars. Additionally, the Biden administration argues that the deficit increase is not a problem because the Federal Reserve continues to purchase government bonds, keeping yields low and debt costs stable.

Nice, so why the tax hikes then? If debt and deficits do not matter and growth and jobs is what we need to focus on, then why increase taxes?

The entire tax increase argument crumbles. There is absolutely no rationale for such massive hikes either from the revenue perspective or the growth objective. If growth will take care of the rising deficit, the Biden administration should use all the tools to support growth.

There are five main reasons why the tax increases make no sense:

First, the estimated real revenue impact is negligible. In 2018, the federal capital gains tax revenue was $158.4 billion. A five-percentage point increase in the current regime would provide an additional $18 to $30 billion according to Princeton University estimates in an optimistic scenario where there would be no negative impact of the tax increase. The estimates of revenues of the corporate and personal tax increase assume $691 billion from corporate taxes, $495 billion from global minimum tax, and $271 billion from so-called “repeal tax loopholes”, end fossil fuel tax breaks and anti-inversion deals. Obviously, these estimates are optimistic and in many cases science fiction as they consider a perfect world where these taxes will not have any negative impact on the economy and a GDP growth that will not be affected at all. Even if we accept the estimates, these revenues are spread throughout a decade (yes, ten years), so the net-present-value impact is even worse.

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