Saturday, December 05, 2015

Taxing Times Reading During the Holly Season: John Quiggin

Tax Justice Network. Our quote of the day comes from one absolute must-read article about Zuckerberg’s move: “He amassed one of the greatest fortunes in the world — and is likely never to pay any taxes on it.” Quote of the day – on Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘charitable donation’
[However philanthropic the intentions of Mark Zuckerberg, he isn’t required to give a penny of his $45 billion to charity despite his announcement this week ...]
Academic Study Says Fed Engaged In Systematic Leaks To Insiders Value Walk (TF). Quelle surprise ...

For most of my (citizen blogger John Quiggin's) academic career, I’ve been working on (more precisely, trying to demolish) the idea of private investment in public infrastructure, exemplified by the Private Finance Initiative in the UK and the Public Private Partnerships program in Australia. Here’s my first published article on the subject, from 1996. I conclude that

The current enthusiasm for private infrastructure, like the enthusiasm for public ownership which it replaced, has been based more on ideological beliefs in the virtues of one sector and the vices of the other than on any systematic economic analysis …Analysis of the relative performance of the private and public sector in different phases of infrastructure provision suggests that, in most cases, the private sector will be most efficient in the construction phase but the public sector will be best equipped to handle the risks associated with ownership.
Twenty years later, this analysis seems finally to have been validated. The UK Auditor-General recently reported that

Analysis of the 2012-13 Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) implies that the effective interest rate of all private finance deals (7%–8%) is double that of all government borrowing (3%–4%)
As a result of the excess costs, and some spectacular failures, bipartisan enthusiasm for the PFI has finally turned to disillusionment. Here’s the Telegraph, correctly putting much of the blame on New Labour. And, for balance, here’s the Guardian. There hasn’t been a similar admission of failure in Australia, but the flow of PPP projects has greatly diminished, and most new ones rely on a substantial component of public capital.  Private infrastructure finance and secular stagnation

  ***Tax Whistleblowers Who Changed The Game ...

**Australia Greens accused of 'selling out' over deal with Coalition on tax transparency

***Ex-money launderer Kenneth Rijock offers tips for whistleblowers