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OPen Forum: U.S. tax ranking is low

An important principle for this nation’s founders was “no taxes without representation.” It is now clear that we also oppose taxes with representation. We justify this notion by the feeling, pushed by conservatives, that we are ‘overtaxed’. A review of world tax rates shows that U.S. tax revenues, as a percent of GDP, are the lowest among developed nations. 

In 2009, total U.S. tax revenues were 24 percent of GDP, a rate between Turkey and Mexico. Canada’s 31.1 percent was exceeded by Western European nations like Germany at 33 percent-plus and even higher percentages for Norway, France, Belgium, etc. The list is topped by Denmark at 48.2 percent.

A place to start would be taxes on fossil fuels with the proceeds going to job creating domestic investments in our decaying infrastructure and public transport. 

In his farewell address to the nation, President George Washington said that we should cherish “public credit’ and avoid “throwing upon posterity the burden that we ourselves ought to bear.”  Regarding taxes, he said, “there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.”

Rolf Westgard