Tuesday, August 14, 2012

European governments practice total net worth taxation


The Wall Street Journal editorial “Germany’s Wealth Grab” on p A14 Tuesday (curiously, not online yet) brings up the subject of European governments’ taxing total financial worth of families or individuals.  Some countries, like Spain, want to play Robin Hood to deal with the debt crisis, almost like a confiscation or garnishment.

Imagine the outcry in the US, in a world where income taxes alone ignite cries of a “Federal mafia” among libertarians!

Imagine if net worth were used for Medicare or Social Security means testing!

Actually, it is done in the US in one scenario, the “spend down” rules regarding getting on Medicaid to pay nursing home bills (and the look back rules regarding gifts to family members, perhaps to be overtaken in the future by filial responsibility laws).

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