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International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.37

Section: WTA Blog
6 November 2015 | International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.37

 

International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.37 – November 6, 2015

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News

Two Videos about the Interchange Fees by Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is a non-profit, free-market advocacy organization very similar to Americans for Tax Reform, and is a member of the International Alliance for Electronic Payments.  They have produced the following two videos in response to the Australian Central Bank’s proposal to further regulate Interchange Rates. Here is the YouTube version of the shorter of the two videos:  Video One & Video Two

North America

What Places Benefit Most From the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a policy designed to help working Americans with low incomes. For a more general overview of what it does, I’ll refer you to this piece we put together last year, which explains it in more detail. The EITC is claimed by individual tax filers, of course, but if you map the claims on a more regional basis, you can see how the EITC is also—aggregated over millions of filings—a program that delivers an influx of cash to distressed areas in the United States. Continue Reading

 

Playing Politics With Internet Taxes

Lost in the news about how Congress avoided a government shutdown until December 11 by passing a short-tem funding extension was that the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) was extended for the same duration, continuing the long-standing moratorium on Internet taxes. Otherwise the moratorium would have ended on September 30, and consumers would have felt a hit in the pocketbook almost immediately. ITFA was first signed into law in 1998, and it has been extended repeatedly. Originally intended to be permanent but negotiated to be temporary, the Act bans federal, state and local governments from imposing discriminatory taxes on online sales and Internet access. Continue Reading

 

Reforms Cuba Needs

Fidel Castro took over the power in 1959. Shortly afterwards, he took one measure after another to dismantle all independent institutions and eliminate all individual liberties. As a consequence, all power was concentrated on him and him alone. He did not only consider that he has the right to decide on every aspect of the life of the society and any individual, but also that he has the right to decide how the society has to function for the next generations. By 2002, he changed the Constitution and declared that the laws imposed by himself cannot be invalidated by any means. Continue Reading

 

Trudeau tax changes a mixed bag

Canadians have chosen a change in government for the first time in a decade.  Justin Trudeau’s Liberals sailed to a majority government Monday on a message of change. So what will this “change” mean for Canadians’ pocketbooks? A look at the Liberal election platform tells us it’s a mixed bag. Continue reading

 

SLATE POLITICS: COMING SOON TO A CITY HALL NEAR YOU

Video killed the radio star. But it’s Peter Fassbender who is about to kill the independent civic politician. Last week, the BC Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development rolled out legislation that would limit the amount of money municipal candidates could spend on their campaigns. But this new law will have an unfortunate, unintended consequence – it will prompt civic politicians across BC to run together on slates in order to pool spending limits and allow them to share expenses. Why send out one advertising piece, when you can be on six by running a slate? Continue reading

 

CTF Urges Minister Bains To Refuse Further Handouts for Bombardier

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on new Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains to reject requests from the government of Quebec and Bombardier to pledge additional federal tax dollars towards the hapless aerospace company. “We congratulate Minister Bains on his new appointment, and welcome the new Trudeau government’s pledge of ‘real change’,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “If the minister is looking for a concrete way to demonstrate real change right out of the gate, he has an excellent opportunity to do so by refusing Bombardier’s pleas for yet another bailout.” Continue Reading

 

 

Europe

POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by Google: Single market day — Migration ultimatums — Talking to Turkey

COMMISSION WILL LAUNCH A NEW INTERNAL MARKET STRATEGY TODAY: The need to complete Europe’s single market is perhaps the biggest thing a strong majority of European leaders and citizens still agree on. President Juncker and his team (led by Vice President Katainen and Commissioner Bieńkowska) launch this strategy at noon CET to fill in the gaps. It will be a series of targeted actions rather than a big bang approach. Expect: Continue Reading

Destabilization of Polish Public Finance Instead of Reforms

In the end of September 2015 Civil Development Forum (FOR) organized press conference to inform about the 5th anniversary of the public debt clock located in the city center of Warsaw. In Poland, public expenditures have significantly exceeded revenues for many years. This, in turn, led to higher public debt. At the same time, none of the parties in power has conducted a comprehensive reform of the public finance in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the pre-election campaign is dominated by costly promises instead of reforms necessary to lower the deficit and public debt. Continue Reading

Tragic Story of Slovakian Declining Competitiveness

In the most recent ranking of the World Economic forum, which compares the competitiveness of 140 countries around the world, Slovakia ranked 67th. Since we ranked 8 places higher the year before, the media presented this as positive news. If we, however, look at the long-term evolution of the Slovak economy’s competitiveness not only in this, but in other rankings, we realize that the picture we are looking at is drastically different. What becomes apparent is a tragic story of a dramatic decline in our competitiveness. Continue Reading

Populism Behind Land Ownership Regulation in Bulgaria

A lack of reasoned argumentation when legislating is not uncommon practice of the Bulgarian Parliament. According to our expert assessments, at least 70% of all submitted for consideration drafts of normative acts are with no justification and assessment of expected costs and benefits. This leads to wrong policies, costly policy mistakes, burdened businesses, unpredictable business environment and opportunities for lobbyist to act in favour of specific groups. Continue Reading

 

Tax and IP: follow the money

The release of the final BEPS reports may prompt a detailed analysis of a corporation’s global tax structure, including the location of IP ownership and profit-generating activities, says Linda Pfatteicher of Squire Patton Boggs. In the wake of the October 5, 2015 release of the final package of “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)” reports from the OECD, as well as the European Commission’s decision on October 21 accusing Fiat and Starbucks of violating EU state aid rules, multinational corporations are looking at their intangible property ownership globally and assessing what, if any, changes need to be made to their global transfer pricing structures. Continue Reading

 

Commission seeks to remove EU “digital borders” in e-commerce sector inquiry

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission launched an inquiry into the e-commerce sector, addressing concerns that commercial arrangements between private companies are unjustifiably restricting cross-border online trading. Although the Commission is looking at a wide range of arrangements, the inquiry centres on “geo-blocking” and other measures that the Commission considers prevent consumers from freely choosing an online “e-tailer” or content provider. The first set of information requests has already been sent to a vast number of companies, such as wholesalers, suppliers, online retailers and online content service providers. The Commission has set out to publish a preliminary report for consultation in 2016 and a final report in the beginning of 2017. Continue Reading

 

Greece: Bailout reforms go to parliament on Thursday

A bill to enact a number of the reforms required by the Greek bailout deal will go to parliament for approval on Thursday. The bill includes some, but not all measures which Greece’s European creditors require if the next tranche of next €2 billion ($2.2 billion)  tranche of its three-year, €86 billion bailout loans. One such measure is the reduction of the number of installments Greek citizens can have in repaying money owed in taxes or social security. Currently, they can enjoy 100 installments, but the bill would limit that number in certain cases. Continue reading

 

No way, Norway!

The Economist discussed recently the necessary ‘devolution’ of the Scandinavian model in Norway, following similar trends in Sweden and Denmark. The article makes several good points about the effects of bureaucratization and high-tax welfare on entrepreneurship and corporate culture in a country where the government owns 40% of the stock market and employs 33% of the workforce (almost double the percentage in OECD countries). Continue Reading

 

 

Asia

Asean united in fighting IS

During Malaysia’s tenure in chairing the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) here this year, it has gained cooperation and unanimous agreement of all 10 Asean members to jointly declare their stand against the Islamic State (IS) threat. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he also saw commitments by the expert working groups on cooperation of the six priority areas, among others was supporting regional stability and the fight against terrorism. “ADMM have shown a united front to the world and work very hard to endure that capable to address our ever changing security threats “Security threats today are no longer one nation affairs, we can never be completely insulated from problems beyond our borders,” he said. Continue Reading

 

How Beijing and the West Work Together to Manipulate the Global Currency War

From reading the commentaries you might have imagined that the process of a currency winning international reserve status depends on getting the IMF seal of approval. At least that seems to be the story with China. So, strange to tell, the great international monies of the past evolved either before the IMF was created or without its help. Think of the Deutsche mark and Swiss franc — the two upstarts of the 1970s and 1980s — or briefly the Japanese yen when it enjoyed great popularity. Their emergence was due to the path of monetary stability chosen by their issuing authorities together with complete freedom from restrictions. So why is the world of currency diplomacy now playing along with the nonsense of the IMF examining whether the Chinese yuan has met the criterion to become a reserve currency? Continue Reading

Philippines still needs to cut costs in international trade

The most hard working, most efficient persons will not be able to produce all the goods and services that they need for themselves and their families. But there are always other people willing to produce these things or render these services in exchange for money, useful goods, and services. On the macro level, no country or economy can prosper quickly without trade. And that includes countries that incur frequent trade deficits (in which their imports exceed their exports). Imported machines, vehicles, and computers become inputs for several activities used for the production of goods and services in the domestic economy. Continue Reading

 

ASEAN set to become next global economic powerhouse

Established to promote collaboration, peace and stability among its members, The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been in existence since 1967. However, this December marks a significant step in its economic development with the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The advent of the AEC brings not only a master plan for regional economic integration but the likely realisation of ASEAN’s exceptional potential both as a low-cost manufacturing hub and an importer of consumer goods. Continue Reading

Ibero America

Elections in Argentina: What’s Next?

What went wrong? This is what the members of the Peronist leadership must be asking themselves after the first round of the presidential elections, held on Sunday October 25th. Just two months ago they were repeating the mantra that their candidate, Daniel Scioli, “had already won.” They were convinced that their candidate would almost certainly avoid having to compete in the second round or at least get between 8 and 10 % more votes than his closer contestant. The meager 2.5 % difference Mr. Scioli actually got over Mauricio Macri, current mayor of Buenos Aires and main opposition candidate, came as a shock for all the political landscape. Now the government has to face a second round starting from a very weak position. Continue Reading

 

Squandering economic freedom: Nations that forsake free markets also endanger civil and personal liberties

There was good news for Argentina last week. It was expected that Daniel Scioli, the Peronist candidate and political heir of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, would win the presidential election. Much to most people’s surprise, Maurico Macri, the more free-market-oriented mayor of Buenos Aires, won almost as many votes as Mr. Scioli, forcing a runoff, which Mr. Macri has a good chance to win. The Peronists (named after former dictator Juan Peron) have had political control much of the last 70 years, and it has been a disaster for the country. Continue Reading

 

Reflections on Venezuela’s “Economic Miracle”

Back in 2013, Salon took a quick break from criticizing a caricature of libertarianism to let David Sirota write an embarrassing article praising socialism in what turns out to be a fantastic case study in both the dangers of socialist economics and of course, speaking too soon. The article was titled “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle” and it was certainly not the only one of its kind to come out at the time. It may seem like twenty-twenty hindsight to criticize such foolishness, but it might be instructive as well. However, looking at Venezuela now as compared to the country Sirota saw in 2013 and thought provided an economic alternative to American capitalism (a truly free market was never discussed) serves as a good example of what Nicolás Cachanosky calls “the bait-and-switch behind economic populism.” Continue Reading

 

In Brazil, Free-Market Ideas Rise as the Economy Falls

For those of us not in Brazil, it is hard to interpret the commentary on Brazil’s economy right now. Brazil’s debt was recently reduced to junk status, and we can see that Brazil’s economy is not doing well. But how severe is the crisis? Antony Mueller: Part of the explanation is that for a large part of the population and for the government itself, the crisis came as a shock. At first, the Brazilian government ignored the coming of the crisis and when it arrived, the government ignored its existence. Imagine Brazil like a family with a lot of inherited wealth that spends as if there were no tomorrow. Continue Reading

 

Australasia

Tax reform: drive out government waste before raising taxes

Few things excite politicians more than spending money and cutting ribbons. Few things annoy voters more than tax hikes, especially if the extra tax is supporting government spending addictions. Across the world, governments have resolved this dilemma by accumulating debts, passing the buck to future generations. Australian state governments are on to a better trick — convince the federal government to raise taxes, and then get hold of the money. Continue Reading

 

Free Trade

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Leveling the playing field for American workers & American businesses

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) writes the rules for global trade—rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class. TPP will make it easier for American entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners to sell Made-In-America products abroad by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes & other trade barriers on American products across the 11 other countries in the TPP—barriers that put American products at an unfair disadvantage today. Continue Reading

Find the full text here: https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/trans-pacific-partnership/tpp-full-text

New Zealand, EU To Launch Free Trade Talks

The European Union and New Zealand have said they will launch negotiations toward a free trade agreement. The commitment was made in a joint statement issued following a meeting between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. They said: “Today we committed to start the process for negotiations to achieve swiftly a deep and comprehensive high-quality free trade agreement. Discussions to define the scope and overall approach to the negotiations should start as soon as possible.” Continue Reading

 

Hong Kong’s accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Recently, 12 countries, including the United States, Japan, Singapore and Australia, reachedan agreement on the formulation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of these countries accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. Although some pro-establishment commentators consider that TPP is a move of the United States aimed to exclude China or even a tool used to blockade China, there are comments that TPP will have impacts on Hong Kong’s future economic development, economic independence, role positioning and international status. Continue Reading

 

 

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The 13th WTA Conference is Around the Corner!!

Section: WTA Blog
6 November 2015 | The 13th WTA Conference is Around the Corner!!

The 13th WTA Conference will be upon us soon! This year it is being held in Berlin and hosted by The German Taxpayers Association, 17th-20th March 2016.

There will also be Free Market Road Show, the TaxPayer Leaders Forum, and European Resource Bank! Look at the document below for more information. A registration link is coming soon, so please start the visa process in your respective countries!

WTA Conference March 2016

 

 

 

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Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance: 3rd Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference

Section: Members Highlights
24 September 2015 | Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance / Australia

Australia

On 2-3 May 2015 – The Australian Libertarian Society and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance worked together to throw their 3rd annual conference in honor of the late, great Nobel-winning economist, Milton Friedman. This is a great idea to have an event around and to educate people on free market economics.

 

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National Taxpayers Union (USA) – Congress Keep the 2011 Budget Control Act

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
24 September 2015 | National Taxpayers Union (NTU) / United States

United States

The U.S. Budget Control Act Caps Saved Nearly $9,000 Per Household

by Michael Tasselmyer

As Congress faces a looming deadline on funding for the federal government, some legislators are calling for a repeal of the spending caps imposed under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Undoing those restrictions on discretionary spending would almost certainly result in larger deficits and deeper debt. For some perspective, the table below compares actual federal spending since 2011 alongside the levels proposed by the White House just before the caps were put in place. (Note: dollar amounts are in billions and figures for the President’s budget reflect CBO’s March 2011 analysis.)

Year Total Outlays President’s March 2011 Budget Savings
2011 $3,603 $3,655 -$52
2012 $3,537 $3,708 -$171
2013 $3,455 $3,800 -$345
2014 $3,506 $3,976 -$470
Total -$1,308

That means that federal spending was reduced by over $1.3 trillion compared to what the Administration had proposed just before the caps were enacted.

To put it another way, spending was reduced by $3,256 per person and $8,980 per household. Federal deficits have been lower than they’d otherwise be by over $703 billion, roughly $2,206 per person and $6,083 per household 

That not only represents a very significant spending cut, but one that has been sustained over time.

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Deceptive Temperature Record Claims

Section: Members Highlights
28 August 2015 | Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) / Canada

Canada
http://s3.amazonaws.com/wuaala/page/5663998322147328/washingtontimes.jpg
Deceptive temperature record claims
Warmest month announcements have no scientific basis
The Washington Times, 15-08-23. By Tom Harris.
The U.S. government is at it again, hyping meaningless records in a parameter that does not exist in order to frighten us about something that doesn’t matter.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week that according to their calculations, July 2015 was the hottest month since instrumental records began in 1880. NOAA says that the record was set by eight one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over that set in July 1998. NASA calculates that July 2015 beat what they assert was the previous warmest month (July 2011) by two one-hundredths of a degree.
But government spokespeople rarely mention the inconvenient fact that these records are being set by less than the uncertainty in the statistics. NOAA claims an uncertainty of 14 one-hundredths of a degree in its temperature averages, or near twice the amount by which they say the record was set. NASA says that their data is typically accurate to one tenth of a degree, five times the amount by which their new record was set.
So, the new temperature records are meaningless. Neither agency knows whether a record was set.
Such misrepresentations are now commonplace in NOAA and NASA announcements. They are regularly proclaiming monthly and yearly records set by less than the uncertainties in the measurements. Scientists within the agencies know that this is dishonest.
They also know that calculating so-called global average temperatures to hundredths of a degree is irrational. After all, there is very little data for the 70 percent of Earth’s surface that is ocean. There is also little data for mountainous and desert regions, not to mention the Antarctic.
Much of the coverage is so sparse that NASA is forced to make the ridiculous claim that regions are adequately covered if there is a temperature-sensing station within nearly 750 miles. This is the distance between Ottawa, Canada, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. cities with very different climates. Yet, according to NASA, only one temperature sensing station is necessary for the two cities and the vast area between them to be adequately represented in their network.
In the final analysis, it is no more meaningful to calculate an average temperature for a whole planet than it is to calculate the average telephone number in the Washington D.C. phone book. Temperature, like viscosity and density, and of course phone numbers, is not something that can be meaningfully averaged. “Global temperature” does not exist.
In their award winning book, “Taken By Storm” (2007), Canadian researchers Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick explain: “Temperature is not an amount of something [like height or weight]. It is a number that represents the condition of a physical system. In thermodynamics it is known as an intensive quantity, in contrast to quantities like energy, which have an additive property, which we call extensive in thermodynamics.”
Even if enough accurate surface temperature measurements existed to ensure reasonable planetary coverage (it doesn’t) and to calculate some sort of global temperature statistic, interpreting its significance would be challenging. What averaging rule would you use to handle the data from thousands of temperature-sensing stations? Mean, mode, median, root mean square?
Science does not tell us. For some groups of close temperature measures (and NASA and NOAA are dealing with thousands of very close temperatures), one method of calculating an average can lead to a determination of warming while another can lead to a conclusion of cooling.
Even if you could calculate some sort of meaningful global temperature statistic, the figure would be unimportant. No one and nothing would experience it directly since we all live in regions, not the globe. There is no super-sized being straddling the planet, feeling global averages in temperature. Global warming does not matter.
Future generations are bound to ask why America closed its coal-fueled generating stations, its cheapest, most plentiful source of electric power, and wasted billions of dollars trying to stop insignificant changes in imaginary phenomena.
The sad answer will be that it had nothing to do with the realities of science, technology or economics. The tragic blunder is based on satisfying political expedience for a privileged few, egged on by vested financial interests, and supported by largely uninformed activists granted the media platforms needed to sway public opinion. As Jay Lehr, science director of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute said, “It is a scam that dwarfs all others that have come before.”
Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.
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Congratulations to Singapore for 50 Years of Independence and Success – from a Fishing Village to the Top of the World

Section: WTA Blog
28 August 2015 | Congratulations to Singapore for 50 Years of Independence and Success – from a Fishing Village to the Top of the World

50 years ago Singapore was a fishing village and today one of the 10 richest countries of the world. Every 10th homeowner in Singapore is a millionaire.

How did this happen?

The success is largely credited to one man, the founder of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong who died this year.

His major programs were two:

– to create economic growth,

– to eradicate corruption; to get rid of this cancer that destroys economic grown.

Tax fighters all over the world should copy Singapore and intensify the fight against corruption!

Footnote about wealth and taxes for Singapore and other countries:
Singapore´s GDP per person is USD 65.000 per person, in Hong Kong and USA 53.000, Switzerland 46.400, Sweden 41.000, Germany 40.000, UK 37.300, Russia 17.000, China 10.000, Georgia 6.000.

The overall tax burden in Singapore and Hong Kong is only 14% compared with China 19%, USA 24%, Georgia 25%, Switzerland 28%, Russia 29%, UK 35%, Germany 38%, Sweden 43%, France and Finland 44%, France and Belgium 45% and highest in Denmark with 48%.

For many years Sweden had the highest taxes in the world. I dare say Swedish Taxpayers Association has done a good job.Today Sweden has no property tax, no gift tax, no inheritance – death – tax, no wealth tax and practically no tax on capital gains and dividends. Income taxes have been decreased, first down to a maximum of 50% (the Half Left-campaign) and now increased to a maximum of 57%.

Source:
2015 Index of Economic Freedom. By Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.

Bjorn Tarras-Wahlberg Founder, former Secretary General World Taxpayers Associations Founder and Chairman Asia-Pacific Taxpayers Union

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The USA’s Taxpayers Protection Alliance & Australian TPA Working Together

Section: Members Highlights
28 August 2015 | Taxpayers Protection Alliance / United States

United States

This collaboration between the US group, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, is a perfect example of how the WTA can be helpful to global taxpayer protection movement.  Building relationships, sharing ideas, and helping one another fight against global threats to the taxpayer.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been sounding the alarm on various attempts by governments around the globe to institute plain packaging policies for tobacco. Australia was the first country to pass legislation mandating plain packaging of tobacco and after just a few years, the impact has been exactly what TPA warned they would be: greater tobacco consumption, increased illicit trade, and loss of revenue. Last week, the following submission was made to the Australian Parliament for public comments regarding the plain packaging laws. You can also download the full submission by clicking here.

I wanted to thank Tim Andrews for alerting us to this opportunity.  In my opinion, this is exactly the type pf coordination groups from around the world need to do more of.

If you submitted comments, please feel free to share with the group.

-David

David Williams

President

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

www.protectingtaxpayers.org

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