Det er ikke kun Punditokrater, der kan lide "fladskat" (flat tax). Wall Street Journals politiske redaktør John Fund havde mandag en klumme med et "round-up" af nogle af de lande, der p.t. drøfter ideen. Danmark er ærgerligt nok fraværende fra "trenden" i artiklen, desuagtet at det er lykkedes først og fremmest CEPOS på rekordtid at få emnet bragt højt på den danske politiske dagsorden. Men måske WSJ's politiske redaktør ikke har stor tillid til, at det rent faktisk vil lykkes i Danmark? Og hvem skulle kunne bebrejde ham det?
Hele pointen med klummen er i øvrigt, at fladskat-bølgen p.t. synes at gå udenom det nordamerikanske kontinent:
"Next month's report of the White House tax reform commission will likely stop short of advocating a complete scrapping of the tax code. But look for it to have warm words for how well the flat tax is promoting economic growth in the more than dozen places–ranging from Ukraine to Hong Kong–that have adopted variations of it.
It's about time the concept of taxing all income at a single rate, which presidential candidate Steve Forbes and then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey broached a decade ago, once again takes center stage. …
Here at home the flat tax is still routinely ridiculed. When Mr. Forbes floated the idea in 1995, President Clinton joked that Republicans were becoming "the party of flat-earthers and flat-taxers." But he has also told friends privately that he got a real scare during the 1992 primaries when Jerry Brown championed a flat tax. Mr. Brown won applause from audiences by pointing out that under our current system the rich will always be able to hire experts to lobby for tax loopholes and avoid the higher rate traps set for them.
That logic and the practical realization of it in country after country is winning adherents from all walks of life in the U.S. Donald Trump is full of praise for Mr. Forbes's new book, "Flat Tax Revolution." Actor Clint Eastwood praises a flat tax because it would mean "a little old lady on a home computer [could do] the work of all these thousands of bureaucrats and accountants." A variation on the flat-tax idea, junking the income tax in favor of a single-rate national sales tax is also gaining popularity. "The Fair Tax," a new book by Rep. John Linder and radio talk-show host Neal Boortz, is currently topping best-seller lists."
Som Fund pointerer, er ideen ikke bare ekstremt populær andre steder men også blevet implementeret eller på vej til at blive det:
"It's increasingly popular overseas, with Romania and the republic of Georgia adopting it last January. Greece is likely to introduce a 25% single rate for both corporate and personal income next month. If Poland's opposition parties win next month's elections they are likely to introduce a flat tax. In Italy, the Bruno Leoni Institute has just published an interview with former finance minister and current defense minister Antonio Martino detailing his support of the flat tax.
Even Germany, normally a center of intellectual stagnation when it comes to tax policy, has gotten the bug. Angela Merkel, the candidate of the conservative Christian Democrats in the Sept. 18 election, has appointed radical reformer Paul Kirchhof as her spokesman on taxes. While her party's manifesto falls far short of advocating Mr. Kirchhof's idea of a single rate of 25% for companies and individuals, she has stoutly defended his approach: "It's important that there is a man who wants to go further in principle and, when there is room for maneuver, says, now we can go the next step.""
Hvis de statsglade tyskere kan, hvorfor så ikke andre? I Storbritannien har Gordon Brown argumenteret kraftigt imod en fladskat, som Adam Smith Institute og The Economist har ført på banenmen med den utilsigtede virkning, at det har givet idéen ekstra vind i sejlene:
"In Britain, die-hard opponents of the flat tax, such as Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, were caught censoring portions of an internal Treasury paper on the subject that was obtained under the recently effective Freedom of Information Act. The unexpurgated version, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, found that a flat tax would likely make Britain more attractive to foreign investors, eliminate economic distortions and create a "mini-economic boom." The paper noted that under flat-tax systems in other European countries the rich end up paying a larger share of total tax revenues. In flat-tax countries, taxpayers in the highest brackets move from consumption or tax-sheltered investments to more productive, taxable investments. Many higher earners work harder or take additional risks, rewarded by higher after-tax returns."
Og ifølge Fund er der måske et land yderligere, der er på vej med fladskat, nemlig Kina:
"If China adopted a flat tax, more than a quarter of the world's population would be filling out tax returns on the back of a postcard. That would leave them a lot of time and money to eat our economic lunch."
Update: Her er iøvrigt et link til Adam Smith Institute-bloggens dækning af emnet "flat tax", inkl. omtaler af CEPOS' konference om emnet tidligere på sommeren.