Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Canada’s tax revenues steady as they lowered corporate tax rates

Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending

Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending

From the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

The chart shows Canada’s federal corporate tax revenues as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) and the federal corporate tax rate. The tax rate plunged from 38 percent in 1980 to just 15 percent by 2012. Amazingly, there has been no obvious drop in tax revenues over the period.

Canadian corporate tax revenues have fluctuated, but the changes are correlated with economic growth, not the tax rate. In the late 1980s, a tax rate cut was followed by three years of stable revenues. In the early 1990s, a plunge in revenues was caused by a recession, and then in the late 1990s revenues soared as the economy grew.

In 2000, Canadian policymakers enacted another round of corporate tax rate cuts, which were phased in gradually. Corporate tax revenues initially dipped, but then they rebounded strongly in the late 2000s.

The rate cuts enacted in 2000 were projected to cause substantial revenue losses to the Canadian government. That projection indicates that the reform didn’t have much in the way of legislated loophole closing. But the chart shows that the positive taxpayer response to the rate cut was apparently so large that the government did not lose much, if any, revenue at all.

In 2009, Canada was dragged into a recession by the elephant economy next door, and that knocked the wind out of corporate tax revenues. However, it is remarkable that even with a recession and a tax rate under 20 percent, tax revenues as a share of GDP have been roughly as high in recent years as they were during the 1980s, when there was a much higher rate. Jason Clemens of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute notes that Canadian corporate tax revenues have been correlated with corporate profits, not the tax rate.

If a corporate tax rate is high, there is a “Laffer effect” when the rate is cut, meaning that the tax base expands so much that the government doesn’t lose any money. Estimates from Jack Mintz and other tax experts show that cutting corporate tax rates when they are above about 25 percent won’t lose governments any revenues over the long run.

This data is no surprise to supply siders – we expect this because of past experience with tax cuts.

Tax cuts: do they work?

Consider this article by the Cato Institute discusses how the Reagan tax cuts affected the unemployment rate.

Excerpt:

In 1980, President Carter and his supporters in the Congress and news media asked, “how can we afford” presidential candidate Ronald Reagan’s proposed tax cuts?

Mr. Reagan’s critics claimed the tax cuts would lead to more inflation and higher interest rates, while Mr. Reagan said tax cuts would lead to more economic growth and higher living standards. What happened? Inflation fell from 12.5 percent in 1980 to 3.9 percent in 1984, interest rates fell, and economic growth went from minus 0.2 percent in 1980 to plus 7.3 percent in 1984, and Mr. Reagan was re-elected in a landslide.

[...]Despite the fact that federal revenues have varied little (as a percentage of GDP) over the last 40 years, there has been an enormous variation in top tax rates. When Ronald Reagan took office, the top individual tax rate was 70 percent and by 1986 it was down to only 28 percent. All Americans received at least a 30 percent tax rate cut; yet federal tax revenues as a percent of GDP were almost unchanged during the Reagan presidency (from 18.9 percent in 1980 to 18.1 percent in 1988).

What did change, however, was the rate of economic growth, which was more than 50 percent higher for the seven years after the Reagan tax cuts compared with the previous seven years. This increase in economic growth, plus some reductions in tax credits and deductions, almost entirely offset the effect of the rate reductions. Rapid economic growth, unlike government spending programs, proved to be the most effective way to reduce unemployment and poverty, and create opportunity for the disadvantaged.

The federal revenues as a % of GDP were steady.

The conservative Heritage Foundation describes the effects of the Bush tax cuts.

Excerpt:

President Bush signed the first wave of tax cuts in 2001, cutting rates and providing tax relief for families by, for example, doubling of the child tax credit to $1,000.

At Congress’ insistence, the tax relief was initially phased in over many years, so the economy continued to lose jobs. In 2003, realizing its error, Congress made the earlier tax relief effective immediately. Congress also lowered tax rates on capital gains and dividends to encourage business investment, which had been lagging.

It was the then that the economy turned around. Within months of enactment, job growth shot up, eventually creating 8.1 million jobs through 2007. Tax revenues also increased after the Bush tax cuts, due to economic growth.

In 2003, capital gains tax rates were reduced. Rather than expand by 36% as the Congressional Budget Office projected before the tax cut, capital gains revenues more than doubled to $103 billion.

The CBO incorrectly calculated that the post-March 2003 tax cuts would lower 2006 revenues by $75 billion. Revenues for 2006 came in $47 billion above the pre-tax cut baseline.

Here’s what else happened after the 2003 tax cuts lowered the rates on income, capital gains and dividend taxes:

  • GDP grew at an annual rate of just 1.7% in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts. In the six quarters following the tax cuts, the growth rate was 4.1%.
  • The S&P 500 dropped 18% in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts but increased by 32% over the next six quarters.
  • The economy lost 267,000 jobs in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts. In the next six quarters, it added 307,000 jobs, followed by 5 million jobs in the next seven quarters.

The timing of the lower tax rates coincides almost exactly with the stark acceleration in the economy. Nor was this experience unique. The famous Clinton economic boom began when Congress passed legislation cutting spending and cutting the capital gains tax rate.

Tax revenues increased after the Bush tax cuts – due economic growth.

Those are the facts. That’s not what you hear in the media, but they are the facts.

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4 Responses

  1. joeeasy says:

    I like the fact that you pulled information from two periods of American economic growth and a concurrent period in our neighbor Canada’s growth. Those kind of facts are hard to hide, though they are easily not reported by American media. Appreciate the effort here.

  2. [...] Wintery Knight. “This data is no surprise to supply siders – we expect this because of past experience with tax cuts.” Share this: [...]

  3. Dominik Pigeon says:

    Regarding the excerpt of the Cato Institute, inflation didn’t fall because of lower corporate rates, but because Reagan and the Fed raised the fed fund rate to 19%, the highest ever probably. Reagan had to lower personal tax rates so people could pay their interests to avoid banrkuptcy… not a model to repeat!

    • It was necessary to do that because of stagflation, and it solved the problem. In fact, that’s probably what is going to have to happen to fix Obama’s mess. I am looking forward to that. I have tons of capital. It will be nice to finally see the payoff to all my frugal living, once people realize the cost of all of this spending and money printing. Canada is already talking about raising interest rates.

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