The excellent book Great Again by Henry R. Nothhaft with David Kline, points out that 2000 was the year in which the tax and regulatory burden in theUS reached a tipping point compared to other OECD (First World) countries. 2000 was also the year in which average corporate tax rates of OECD countries fell below theUS’s. TheUS now has highest marginal corporate tax rate in the world (in most states) and our effective tax rate is 50% higher than the European Union average. Is there any wonder why the US is losing high quality jobs to other countries?
The book’s identification of the year 2000 as the tipping point is ironic since this is also the year that I identified in my book as the tipping point for anti-technology startup regulations. The book Great Again calls the decade from 2000-2010 the lost decade, let’s hope it is only a single lost decade. Besides the negative effects of the US corporate and capital gains tax rates, the US has also significantly weakened our patent system and made it extremely difficult for startups to raise capital because of Sarbanes Oxley (although Dodd Frank only makes this worse). The major asset of startups is their patents – legal title to their inventions. Weakening our patent system has undermined this asset.
Some other interesting points made by the book include that a SBA (Small Business Administration) study showed that 1% cut in the corporate tax rate increases the number of start-ups by 1.5% and decreases the rate of failure by 8%. A World Bank study showed that 10% increase in the effective tax rate results in 2.2% reduction in investment to GDP.
The policies necessary to grow high quality jobs and get our economy growing are clear. The only conclusion is that the US is not interested in growing the economy, it is only interested in growing government power.
Great Again: Revitalizing America’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, by Henry R. Nothhaft with David Kline
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