Value-Added Taxation in Canada: GST, HST, and QST (5th edition), Ryan global tax services, publ. by Wolters Kluwer, 12/2015

Value-Added Taxation in Canada is an in-depth analysis of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), its harmonized counterpart (HST) currently applicable in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island, and the Quebec Sales Tax (QST). The book combines discussion on the theoretical and practical questions posed by Canada’s value-added taxes, with an emphasis on the implications for private and public sector taxpayers. The authors have integrated commentary on the impact of all three taxes (GST, HST, and QST) in each topical area. These taxes are referenced extensively throughout the book, providing insight into the legislation and administrative policy at both the federal and provincial level.

This fifth edition of this essential reference has been updated to reflect applicable legislation, regulations, government policies, and proposed amendments as of September 2015.

Stockman, David A., “Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget, The New York Times, 08/13/12

“…A true agenda to reform the welfare state would require a sweeping, income-based eligibility test, which would reduce or eliminate social insurance benefits for millions of affluent retirees. Without it, there is no math that can avoid giant tax increases or vast new borrowing. Yet the supposedly courageous Ryan plan would not cut one dime over the next decade from the $1.3 trillion-per-year cost of Social Security and Medicare.

Instead, it shreds the measly means-tested safety net for the vulnerable: the roughly $100 billion per year for food stamps and cash assistance for needy families and the $300 billion budget for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Shifting more Medicaid costs to the states will be mere make-believe if federal financing is drastically cut.

Likewise, hacking away at the roughly $400 billion domestic discretionary budget (what’s left of the federal budget after defense, Social Security, health and safety-net spending and interest on the national debt) will yield only a rounding error’s worth of savings after popular programs (which Republicans heartily favor) like cancer research, national parks, veterans’ benefits, farm aid, highway subsidies, education grants and small-business loans are accommodated.

Like his new boss, Mr. Ryan has no serious plan to create jobs. America has some of the highest labor costs in the world, and saddles workers and businesses with $1 trillion per year in job-destroying payroll taxes. We need a national sales tax — a consumption tax, like the dreaded but efficient value-added tax — but Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan don’t have the gumption to support it.

The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for “job creators” — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends. The crony capitalists of K Street already own more than enough Republican votes to stop that train before it leaves the station.

In short, Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity — just empty sermons…”


Medicare: Emanuel Healthcare VAT Bridges Ryan & Obama

On the editorial page, today’s NYTimes restates their opposition to potential future cost increases to Medicare recipients in Paul Ryan’s plan (“The Republican Medicare Reshuffle,” 04/15/11).  Paul Krugman, too, decries the notion that unlimited benefits may not be paid for indefinitely without substantial additional contributions by recipients (“Who’s Serious Now?“).  David Brooks in “Ultimate Spoiler Alert” endorses Ryan’s concept of using defined contributions, a de facto voucher system, for Medicare.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Director Bio-ethics at NIH has long proposed a plan which would bridge the divide.  He has called for healthcare vouchers to be used in an exchange and paid for by a dedicated value added tax.  This exchange should include Medicare as an option alongside private insurance, which would force the insurance companies to compete with the benchmark standard.  Paying for healthcare with the VAT would ensure that healthcare consumers were aware of the costs and would force them to consider what demanding more benefits would mean to their pocketbooks.

The Ryan plan covers everyone over 55, today with the same benefits that retirees now enjoy.  If, as OMB indicates it would cost another $7,000 per recipient in 2022, then the public could consider shouldering the increased burden via an increase in the VAT, which would be somewhat progressive since wealthier Americans consume disproportionately more than the  less advantaged.  And, those in the lowest brackets could be protected with Earned Income Tax Credits.

Corporations and labor should like this concept.  It would remove the direct corporate burden of healthcare costs.  VAT, subtracted from exports under GATT rules would make exports more competitive.  The VAT would assure that imports carried an equal burden as domestic production and make U.S. labor and business more competitive at home.

Isn’t that a plan that both the President and Paul Ryan could support?