Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Tax Avoidance

The Left Wing Argument for Keeping Northern Ireland in the UK

As Britain marches ever closer to its date with Brexit destiny, I hear some people arguing that Brexit could lead to Irish reunification and that this would be a good thing. But if you evaluate the arrangement Northern Ireland has with the UK, it’s clear that it is in the material interest of the North Irish to remain. The UK gives Northern Ireland a very good deal, and it is highly unlikely that the Republic of Ireland would be able to offer a competitive package.

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Britain: For Pity’s Sake, Stay in the EU

On 23 June, Britain is having a referendum on its membership in the European Union. I care deeply about British politics–I’m doing my PhD there as I write this. But more importantly, Brexit would be a stunningly poor choice, undermining British interests in both the short and the long-term, and I would feel deeply remiss if I didn’t do my part to point this out.

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How Much Should We Soak the Rich?

There’s broad agreement among the political left in most developed states that we should raise taxes on high earners, if not now then after the economy recovers. The justifications vary somewhat, depending on how one comes at one’s leftism, but in most cases it can be boiled down to the principle of diminishing returns, which holds that the more money you have, the less utility additional money buys you. A homeless person almost always benefits more from a dollar than does a rich person, and if we are seeking to maximize welfare, it is reasonable to redistribute wealth from the rich person to the homeless person. Even some right wingers agree to this, in theory. The trouble is that there is much disagreement as to the extent to which we ought to redistribute empirically. That’s the question I’m going after today.

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How to Stop Tax Avoidance

Recently, as countries have sought to shrink deficits, the question of tax avoidance has come up, and how to put a stop to it. In Britain, Google, Amazon, and Starbucks are being questioned by parliament as to why they pay such small amounts of tax on their UK incomes. Much of the public is in uproar over the fact that Google, Amazon, and Starbucks paid effective tax rates of 0.4%, 2.5%, and 0% on their respective 2011 earnings. All of this begs one very important question, one that no one seems to be attempting to answer seriously–what do we do about this? How do we stop it?

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