Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hidden costs to tax cut

Boston Herald article "Hidden Costs to Tax Cut" (October 23rd, 2010) talks about the benefits of a tax cut as if it would be a direct transfer from government coffers to consumers. However, they would potentially gain much more.
Each voter must decide if that 3 cents per dollar savings is worth more to them than what they would lose in cuts to public safety, schools, roads, senior programs, health care, libraries, housing.
Because taxes create deadweight loss, for every three cents transferred from government is more transferred to them. Indeed, it could be much more. This is depicted in a competitive constant marginal cost case graphically below (click to enlarge). However, it could be extended to a monopolistically competitive case--this would make Corrections point even more strongly, as tax incidence may sum to more than 100% for monopolies, as they transfer the loss of the tax to the consumer inefficiently, so to speak.
Put in the way the Herald is arguing it, individuals may be losing one cent of government services for every three they get back in sales tax. Additionally, they are gaining not only what they lost, but what they never bought because of the tax wedge. They gain the amount they were taxed as well as the distortion, the tax wedge, brought on by that tax.

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