This week, Ben Smith reported in Politico that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aspires to make the United States more like Brazil. According to Ms. Clinton:
The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] – whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms…Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what – they’re growing like crazy. And the rich are getting richer, but they’re pulling people out of poverty.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the Heritage Foundation’s marvelous 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, I highly recommend it. A few raw comparisons from the index:
- The freest country, Hong Kong. 5.7% 5-year compound annual growth. 4.4% unemployment. Tax rates that are among the lowest in the world with a tax-to-GDP ratio of 14.2%.
- The eighth freest country, the United States. 2.2% 5-year compound annual growth. 9.9% unemployment. Burdensome tax rates with a tax-to-GDP ratio of 28.3%.
- The 113th freest country, Brazil. 4.5% 5-year compound annual growth. 7.3% unemployment. Tax-to-GDP ratio of 35.3%.
That anyone could look at that dramatic comparison and decide, “Gee, we really ought to try to be more like Brazil — they’ve got it going on!” I find simply befuddling.