The 2009 ESRI Geary Lecture: “The Challenge of Tax Reform and Expanding the Tax Base”

A highlight in this year’s calendar should be the Geary Lecture by Jim Poterba (MIT and President of NBER): details are here.

3 replies on “The 2009 ESRI Geary Lecture: “The Challenge of Tax Reform and Expanding the Tax Base””

They shoot horses, don’t they?
Only academic economists describe a discussion of tax reform and widening the tax base as a highlight in the calendar year.
Economics is distilled politics, so said a Russian firebrand who knew more than a little about creating memorable dates in the calendar.

The challenge, if indeed it is a challenge, is that of pretending to reform taxation, of pretending to widen the tax base without actually doing a damn thing. Tax farmers, lower, middle and higher income earners. Tax social welfare recipients. Tax all citizens according to their means! What is so difficult? What is so sacred and solemn ? Do we need to pontificate about it endlessly and never actually do it?

This country taxes people, groups and sections of society on a simple basis. That basis is, the less you are able to defend yourselves the more tax you pay!

Do we need endless committees, so-called “experts” meeting for months, making recommendations that will never be implemented? Commission after commission, committee after committee, expert after expert, professors tax experts, tax inspectors etc., etc? No!

When the tax paying public decides that taxation is no longer a viable option to prop up incompetent government, when the international bankers decide to stop purchasing government bonds to prop up incompetent government, then and only then will we have tax reform in Ireland. In other words, tax reform in Ireland will never be instigated from within Ireland. It will only happen when it is imposed from outside! These talking shops can talk until they are hoarse. They can use up half of the remaining rain forest with recommendations and still nothing will happen!

@Robert. Agree entirely. Tax the higher earners that´ll keep people off the streets. As they say in France, pluck the goose that squeals least. This economy has no chance as a result.

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