Let Me Tell You About Sweden

By September 29, 2008Economy, Taxation

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “The Stockholm Curve“:

With the economy struggling, at least some people are urging a pro-growth tax cut. Too bad they live in Stockholm. As a recent headline in Agence France-Presse put it: “Sweden Announces Income Tax Cuts to Boost Jobs.” The government is planning to cut business taxes and the personal income and payroll tax.

“The corporate tax is one of the taxes which large companies really study when they plan to set up business somewhere,” says Jan Björklund, leader of the country’s Liberal Party, in promoting the tax cut plan. The corporate tax reduction will bring the Swedish rate down to 26.3% from 28%, continuing its fall from a high of 57% in 1987. This means that Swedes will soon have a corporate tax rate one-third lower than the U.S. average of 39.5% (the 35% federal rate plus the state average).

Sens. Obama and McCain discussed corporate taxation in the presidential debate in Oxford. (Transcript)

McCain:

Right now, the United States of American business pays the second-highest business taxes in the world, 35 percent. Ireland pays 11 percent.

Now, if you’re a business person, and you can locate any place in the world, then, obviously, if you go to the country where it’s 11 percent tax versus 35 percent, you’re going to be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment, et cetera.

Obama:

What I do is I close corporate loopholes, stop providing tax cuts to corporations that are shipping jobs overseas so that we’re giving tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States. [snip]…

Now, John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he’s absolutely right. Here’s the problem: There are so many loopholes that have been written into the tax code, oftentimes with support of Senator McCain, that we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

We turn again to the Tax Foundation for analysis and commentary

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