Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The keeping the big lean tax

No matter how optimistic we can be about that all the assets the US government acquires during the current financial crisis will be fairly priced, there is no doubt that the whole crisis is going to be extremely expensive for the public sector. The costs will have to be paid by taxes or, in its absence, by inflation.

In this respect society has a vested interest in finding new equitable ways of how to pay for it, and that these are aligned with the new global realities and interfere as little as possible with the recovery of the economy. The following is a second proposal that follows up on “An income tax on profits from intellectual-property monopolies.”

The keeping the big lean tax: Tax progressiveness based on market share.

There is nothing wrong with a corporation striving to obtain a large market share. Indeed since it is the result of having a better motivated and better organized commitment to exploit comparative advantages in order to satisfy the market with better products or services at better prices, the fight for more market share benefits us all.

That said, while the market share grows, for all the good reasons, growing market powers might tempt the corporation to use competitive tools of dubious nature which could diminish the marginal returns for the society, to such an extent that they could perhaps even turning into costs that erode all previously obtained benefits.

I therefore propose we introduce tax progressiveness based on market shares. For instance if a corporation has below 10 percent of market share a 30% income tax rate applies but, if it has a 100 percent market share then it should be taxed at for instance a 50% rate, with a linear function for the in-betweens. Alternatively, if we want to avoid making the “after-tax” subsidies of inefficiencies higher it could be a progressive sales tax.

Of course the market share tax is not be applied to those corporations who have the financial returns on their activities otherwise regulated, such as the electricity distribution companies.

Of course in banking where the bigger-you-are-the-more- it-hurts-when-you-fall-on-us, a tax on size should be immediately applied, before we run out of the small local banks that do not need the credit rating agencies to know us.