T.R. Reid’s new book A Fine Mess shows “What a World Tour of Tax Codes Can Teach the U.S. About How to Reform Its Own.”

Tax ranks high among global economic activities. Federal taxes alone constitute more than a quarter of the American economy. Including state and local levies brings the total tax burden to more than a quarter of Gross Domestic Product. Taxes account for about 45 percent of the economies of Denmark, France and Belgium, while in less prosperous countries like Chile and Mexico taxes are a fifth or less of the economy. Overall taxes, and disguised taxes like government fees, account for about 21 percent of the global economy. Given those numbers, researchers coming here from another planet might report back home that Earthlings love taxes, especially those humans living in rich countries, because high-tax countries tend to be the most prosperous. [NYTimes.com]

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