An austerity measure too far 29

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arturs_kucs 07.11.2011. 14.17

In the interests of fairness (which is what Morton’s post was about), I ought to point out that some of those ‘high-value-added activities’ mentioned are ‘high-cost-added’ to others of us.

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RitvarsPavlovs 07.11.2011. 13.46

While applauding Prof. Hansen’s desire to help the poor, some of the arguments that he advances are bad (as in “fallacious”, not “evil”), economically speaking. I hope that attentive students of Prof. Hansen can spot a couple of economic fallacies (hints: “trade is a win-lose game”, “utility can be objectively measured”) and raise questions in class.

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    Dzintars > RitvarsPavlovs 07.11.2011. 14.17

    Just in case students won’t spot your suggestion, perhaps you would be kind enough to provide us with the allegedly “fallacious” arguments???

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    RitvarsPavlovs > RitvarsPavlovs 07.11.2011. 14.52

    “The prosperity of the latter is actually relying on the existence and functioning of the not so well-off regions. Think of it like this: Riga is by far the richest region in Latvia in terms of GDP per capita (see graph below), reflecting that it has a bigger share of high value-added activities than the rest of the country (banking, consulting, accounting, education; what have you). But this is still reliant on that other parts of the country provide relatively low value-added activities such as agriculture. Without the regions, Riga wouldn’t prosper the way it does. I can provide relatively high-value added hot air as an economist exactly because someone else grows wheat and raises cattle. In that sense it is fair enough that there is redistribution from Riga to the regions.”

    It is true that prosperity of Riga is made possible by the division of labor. However, this paragraph goes beyond this claim. It asserts that it’s somehow unfair that Riga is more prosperous (hence the conclusion that redistribution would be fair). Isn’t it the argument that trade is at the expense of one party? Isn’t it an old fallacy?

    A trade concluded freely is beneficial to both parties. A Latgalian pig farmer who sold bacon to a Riga banker is better off because of the trade.

    “From an economic perspective this would represent the Mother of All Examples of a situation where one LVL to a GMI recipient represents far more value than the one LVL taken from the tax payer – a classical reason for income redistribution. The tax payer loses one LVL but has plenty of them already – one lat thus represents rather small value.”

    This argument presupposes interpersonal value comparisons. More value as measured in what? By whom? Using what methodology?

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    Dzintars > RitvarsPavlovs 07.11.2011. 15.06

    Sure, noone can prove whether an extra dollar has more value for Bill Gates or for a Latvian pensioner, not even Bill himself – still, a political evaluation is usually made in the pensioner’s favour – we can’t prove it but (many/most) would feel it would be of more value to the pensioner.

    In the first case it is similar: Sure, we (I and the pig farmer) both benefit; many would, however, think that I altogether benefit the most and thus “deserves” to pay more for this in the form of taxes.

    We can of course also apply your argumentation all the way: Screw the poor and leave them to die since it cannot be proven that one lat from me will benefit them more than it will harm me. Which is sometimes what the Latvian tax system seems to resemble….

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    RitvarsPavlovs > RitvarsPavlovs 07.11.2011. 15.22

    Prof. Hansen,

    it was exactly my point that you are not backing your suggestions with arguments from economic science, but from political philosophy.

    The rhetoric in your last paragraph gives away your true presupposition: that coercive redistribution is the only way to achieve justice. In your words, it’s either tax-based welfare or death from starvation. It seems that you can’t imagine anyone believing that “soaking the rich” is bad, but at the same time caring about the poor.

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    Dzintars > RitvarsPavlovs 07.11.2011. 16.09

    I am perfectly fine with whatever point of view anyone might have re taxation (or any other matter). And then I may or may not agree.

    And, true, the arguments are from some sort of political economy since economic science itself cannot do the trick – but I notice that you speak of “justice”, which is something economic science cannot provide either…. 🙂

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    lindapastare > RitvarsPavlovs 08.11.2011. 01.12

    One lat for poor people would sure do more good in sense of immediate survival for them than it would reduce the possibility of the taxpayer’s survival 🙂 No arguing about that.
    However in terms of long-term survival and prosperity it does more harm to both of them – for poor people such guaranteed whatever-you-do-you-will-receive money simply reduces their necessity of working. For taxpayer it reduces his benefit from the hard work he is doing.
    This may sound a bit fascist but I really think people should never ever get any bonus just because of their sole existance. State should ALWAYS get something in return – either work hours or at least improved education or skills. Otherwise those people will never have a need to make their lives better.

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    kreëstliv > RitvarsPavlovs 08.11.2011. 20.25

    @yopcix

    Jā – tieši tā, ieviesīsim komunismu, tur visiem bija paredzēts darbs. Pat, ja visi sētnieki zaudēs darbu, vismaz iegūsim gandarījumu.

    Noteikti vajag pieprasīt, lai loosers novergo atpakaļ pāris desmitu latu pabalstus, tikmēr tā sauktie “biznesmeņi” pasmelsies no siles tā ka maz neliekas, kas tur tos “uzņēmējdarbības veicināšanas” miljonus vispār skaita. Taisnībai jābūt!

    Vislabāk vispār atstāt bez naudas – tas visvairāk uzlabo vēlmi “uzlabot dzīvi”, jo īpaši, ja bērniem nav ko ēst. Jo mums taču ir mūžīgā augšupeja un darba vietas kā no pārpilnības raga, tikai nevar saprast, kādēļ ir sākusies tautas staigāšana uz ārzemēm.

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    ArmL > RitvarsPavlovs 08.11.2011. 23.06

    Nu jā, darbs dara darītāju. Man tāds teorētiskas dabas jautājums, ja mums ir algoritmi un roboti. Vai tas ir kapitāls, jeb darbaspēks? Vai nakotnē mēs visi “pasmelsimies no siles tā ka maz neliekas” un neko citu nedarīsim?

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    lindapastare > RitvarsPavlovs 09.11.2011. 03.44

    Econ,
    Tā ir demagoģija, ko Tu tagad piekop! Jebkurai idejai pretī dot universālo pretargumentu, ka bagātie tāpat zags. Kaunējies būtu! Protams, ka kāds vienmēr kaut ko zags – bet manam komentāram ar “biznesmeņiem” nebija ne vismazākā sakara.
    Runa nav arī par darbavietām. Vai mums visas ceļmalas ir tīras no krūmiem? Visas pļavas nopļautas, visas izcirstās platības apmežotas? Ja valsts tāpat šķirsies no N latiem – vai tomēr nav izdevīgāk kaut ko dabūt pretī un kaut daļēji kādu nodarbināt, nekā atbalstīt personības degradāciju? Gandrīz jebkurš darbs ir labāks nekā pilnīga parazitēšana.

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    agijs > RitvarsPavlovs 09.11.2011. 17.30

    @yopcix
    I’d argue that only way your point would be making SOME sense at all, would be if capitalist economics would be a fair game! But in reality it is far from that, especially in Latvia.
    Speaking of rich an poor, would you really believe that income level linearly corresponds to individuals “contribution” to the society. I would suggest that on top end, it more tends towards clever trickery, skill at which “poor” are not too good at.
    In other words, what you suggest in practice will lead to rich making poor to starve, and not because the poor contribute too little, but because rich are too greedy and too sly. But at the same time the rich are too stupid, to understand that this will hurt them selves in the long run, e.g. Prof. Hansens point.

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    lindapastare > RitvarsPavlovs 09.11.2011. 18.43

    Reini, you missed my point completely. I’m not talking about fairness or anything like that. My point is that government should never hand out money to anyone just because they exist. Instead it should “buy” something – some contribution to the society or to themselves. And not robbing someone and not going on riots is NOT a contribution – that is called blackmailing.
    It doesn’t matter how unfair the capitalism is, how much the riches are getting. It is all about yourself – whether YOU make any contribution that is worthy enough to society (or business) to get paid for.
    Look at rich western countries – whole families are living on GMI without doing anything. All just because they don’t need to do anything to receive it. Instead if they start actually doing something they may not qualify for GMI anymore. There is no way you can get them to start working without causing riots. If this applies to Latvia as well – what a shame.

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aivarstraidass 07.11.2011. 12.54

Fully agree with the author on the essence – need for solidarity between citizens within the same country. Idea that “municipality pays for everything” – and the central government just decides what has to be paid – this is increasing income gap between regions.

Tax on cars is a tricky proposition:
(1) As many people already noticed – for many people in Riga a car is not a necessity, but for many people in the countryside it may well be.
(2) The external costs created by someone owning a car (which would be perfectly OK to tax) differ considerably. Some people drive very economic cars, some others drive 4×4. Some people drive them in the congested streets of Riga (where public transportation is also abundant) – polluting air and making life miserable for others. Some other people drive car only when it is necessary – and in sparsely populated areas, where pollution is not a big issue.

If car tax could somehow reflect the widely varying external costs – it would be perfectly fine. There have been previous attempts to differentiate (e.g. depending on where the car is registered – cars registered in Riga paid a higher tax), but this is easy to circumvent. In the perfect world we would install “external cost meters” on each car – measuring the air pollution – especially if it is already polluted, penalizing for being in a traffic jam, occupying a bus lane during a rush hour, driving through the city center, etc. But since such meters are impractical – what would be a good approximation?

Obviously, we have tax on gasoline – but that accounts only for one particular kind of external cost – CO2 emissions.

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    RitvarsPavlovs > aivarstraidass 07.11.2011. 15.48

    >> Some people drive very economic cars, some others drive 4×4

    on the other hand, some very economic cars will create traffic jams this winter by being stuck on the uncleared roads (and thus impose external costs on other people), while 4x4s will generally whizz around without a problem, taking producers and consumers about their respective businesses…

    Any tax rebate for a humble 4×4 ?

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malacīte 07.11.2011. 09.31

Cars are the new cash cows, right?
Wrong. Living in Riga, I have quite a few friends and relatives living in regions. If anything, they really need cars to move and sure they drive far more than I do.
It happens that public transport is reasonable only in “rich” towns, where it is highly subsidized.
What author essentially proposes is to take money for GMI, taxing people, who have not proper access to public transport, i.e. living in the poor regions! Brilliant!

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    Dzintars > malacīte 07.11.2011. 13.53

    Tax cars progressively – one can get around, also in the regions, without having to reply on an Audi Q7 or a Porsche Cayenne.

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Pēteris Jakubaņecs 07.11.2011. 09.27

ja tev ir mašīna, tad jau var teikt, ka piederi pie ne-nabadzīgākās nodokļu maksātāju daļas.
Auto tomēr mums ir iegājies tīri amerikāniski kā Must-have. Lielākā daļa, piemēram, Rīgas iedzīvotāju varētu tīri labi dzīvot bez automašīnas, sakārtojot savas ikdienas gaitas. Bet lai būtu godīgi, auto nodokli vajadzētu diferencēt – kā progresīvu procentu no automāšinas vērtības/vecuma vai vēlsazin kā lai būtu līdzīgi kā ziemeļvalstīs – ieraugot cilvēku ar pagājušā gada izlaiduma Volvo, visiem ir skaidrs, ka pie stūres ir miljonārs.

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    Ojārs Strauts > Pēteris Jakubaņecs 08.11.2011. 23.06

    No vienas puses piekritu, biezajiem, kas ikdiena brauc ar Lexus vai Volvo luksusa klases automasinam, butu jamaksa vairak. Bet sads princips nak pretruna ar merki samazinat gaisa piesarnojumu, tomer ari no jaunas luksusa klases masinas izplust mazak CO2, neka no veca BMW vai Golfa, lidz ar to nevajadzetu tadel aplikt ar lielaku nodokli. Pie tam jaunas masinas parada satiksmi drosaku.
    Cik es zinu, tad masinam ar jaudigiem dzinejiem gan ir lielaks nodoklis, neatkarigi no izlaiduma gada. Ta tad “leksusisti”, “bembisti” vai citi lielo masinu ipasnieki tomer maksa vairak, neka opitis, kas parvietojas ar vecu grabazu.
    Vienigais variants butu ieviest luksusa klases auto nodevu, apliekot tos pasus Leksusus, Volvo utt. ar lielaku nodokli.

    P.S. pats braucu ar otro golfu, man apskate+nodokli iznak ap 40 Ls gada, apdrosinasana 13 Ls gada. Nepilni 5 Ls menesi tiri par formalitatem, man liekas, ka tas nav daudz.

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    Piekrītu par luksusa auto. Tikai uzreiz arī kaut kā jāizdomā kā ierobežot tos, kas Lietuvā reģistrējas

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Juris 07.11.2011. 08.59

Shitais man patiik – “The tax payer loses one LVL but has plenty of them already – one lat thus represents rather small value.”

1) Pienjemums, ka nodoklju maksatajiem ir pietiekoshi daudz naudas 🙂 – tikai tapec vien, ka kaads nesanjem GMI vel nenozimee, ka shis cilveks ir particis un naudas vinjam ir atliektiem galiem
2) Nevajag visu uzkraut uz tiem, kas nodoklus maksaa / ir vel spejigi tos maksaat. No vienas puses jau jaa – viens lats neko neizsaka, bet no otras – vispirms nedaudz paaugstina vienu nodokli, tad nedaudz – otru, tad vel kaut ko. Katrs atseviski – it kaa jau nieks, bet kopaa – jau ieverojama naudas summa.

Un shados mirklos vienmer paradas jautajums – a kaada tad ir jeega maksaat tos nodoklus, ja tu tiec uztverts kaa taada slaucama govs, kam jaauztur tavs kaimins, jo, redz, vins nestradaa/stradat negrib/nemaksaa nodoklus, bet, redz, vinjam pienakas?

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    agijs > Juris 07.11.2011. 10.28

    Nevajag pārprast autora rakstīto! “The tax payer” drīzāk norāda uz konkrētā nodokļa (t.i. auto nodokļa) maksātāju, nevis nodokļu maksātāju kā tādu. Tas, ka cilvēks maksā auto nodokli nebūt nenozīmē, ka viņš ir visādi citādi godīgs nodokļu maksātājs (“tax payer” plašākā nozīmē). t.i. arī tie 40% aplokšņu/ēnu ekonomikas ir spiesti maksāt auto nodokli. Un šādā kontekstā auto nodokļi ir tiešām veiksmīga alternatīva ideja GIM čakarēšanai. Un vēl jo vairāk tāpēc ka:
    a) No auto nodokļa praktiski nevar izvairīties (0,1% nereģistrēto auto laukos nav taustāms lielums). Tātad maksās arī ēnu ekonomikas kontingents.
    b) Tas tomēr skar turīgāko sabiedrības daļu. Īpaši jau ja salīdzinām ar GIM saņēmējiem.

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    Juris > Juris 08.11.2011. 15.02

    Un sen jau auto esamiiba/neesamiiba raksturo turiibu? Man auto nav – taatad neskaitos turiiga? Vienam no kaiminjam pieder Volga – veca kaa pasaule. Tad nu shis buutu tas turiigais?
    Un no kurienes shis maldiigais priekstats, ka, ja tev ir auto un tu esi spiests maksaat nodokli par to, tad ir kaut kaads nodoklis, no kura maksaashanas tu izvairies, tapec shii konkretaa nodokla paaugstinashana tevi neskars tik ljoti?
    Arguments, ka driikst paaugstinaat kadu nodokli, jo, redz, nodoklu nemaksatajs bus spiests to maksaat un to ir viegli iekaseet, neiztur kritiku. Ir cilveeki.
    Panemsim citu piemeru, nekustamaa ipasuma nodoklis – pec Juusu vardiem – arii viegli administreejams un to bus spiesti maksaat, ieskaitot mani. Kapeec gan nedaudz nepaaugstinaat – es tach to kaa nodoklu maksaatajs tapat nepamanisu. Kas veel ir – akciizes. Auto nav, bet ikdienaa 4h pavadu sabiedriskajaa. “Nedaudz” paaugstinot sho nodokliti, pieaugs sabiedriskaa transporta cena, bet man kaa nodoklu maksaatajam viens lats uz prieksu vai atpakalj jau neko neizteiks. Shaadi te var tikai turpinaat – kuraa mirklii paradiisies taa linija, kas noteiks, ka kadu nodokli nepaaugstinaas? Un shaadi nedaudz paaugstinaati nodoklishi veido visai ieverojamu summu tiem, kas visus, arii gruuti administreejamus vai iekaseejamus nodoklus maksaa. Un jaa, es tos nodoklus maksaaju. Tiesa tiem, kas tos nemaksaa vai censas izvairiities to buus gruuti saprast.

    Slaukt govi, kura dod pienu, ir tikai normaali. Bet ir nenormaali tai govij pretii neko nedot – tad tas lops driiz aiziet bojaa.

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    agijs > Juris 09.11.2011. 18.13

    Vispirms runa ir nevis par “turīgo sabidrības daļu” bet gan “turīgāko sabdierības daļu”, t.i. relatīvā nozīmē. Un izvēlētais piemērs – auto ir ekstra no kuras tomēr var atteikties, ja spiež apstākļi. Jā, pat veca Volga. Un ne tikai no pašā auto vērtības viedokļa, bet arī no uzturēšanas izmaksu viedokļa. Savukārt no pārtikas (GIM čakarēšanas ideja) cilvēkam būtu stipri grūtāt atteikties, lai neteiktu vairāk.

    Rezultātā kaut vai no tā paša auto īpašnieka (kāds esmu arī es) interesēm, tad ilgtermiņā skatoties stipri lielāka iešaušana sev kājā būtu GIM čakarēšana nevis auto nodokļa palielinājums. Lieta tāda, ka izčakarējot vis mazturīgākos, tas Valstij un jebkuram tās pilsoni atspiedīsies daudz sāpīgāk nekā viens otrs nodoklis, kas izčakarē “turīgāko” (nevis “turīgo”!!!) sabiedrības daļu īstermiņā. Vienīgi lai šo saprastu, ir jāpaskatās nedaudz dziļā par savām personīgajām īstermiņa interesēm!

    NĪ nodoklis savukārt nav korekts salīdzinājums, jo jumts virs galvas arī ir lieta no kā grūti atteikties.

    Ja runājām par govīm, tad te drīzāk piemērs sekojošs – divas govis viena šobrīd dod pienu, otra nē. Līdz ziemas beigām siena priekš abām pilnām ēdienreizēm nepietiek. Ko daram:
    a) Noņemam nedzaudz piena devējai, lai otra arī tomēr “izvelk”
    b) Nomērdējam pienu nedodošo badā

    Skaidrs, kāda būs atbilde ja jautāsim pirmajai govij 😉
    Un īstermiņā protams (b) variants nav tik slikts, jo no otrās govs šobrīd maz jēgas. Tomēr ilgtermiņā (b) novedīs pie daudz vājākas un mazākas saimniecības, jo arī otra govs kādā brīdī tomēr sāktu dot pienu.

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