Book income and Swift’s swaggering stud tax

Book income tax is a tax on enterprises who tell people they are profitable.  That’s worth something.  Cost of enforcement is negligible. Maybe taxpayers will stop seeing overstating earnings as a costfree ploy.

A nominal or low tax on book income, in addition to the standard income tax, corresponds to Jonathan Swift’s notion in Gulliver’s Travels:

When it came to “Ways and Means of raising Money,” in Part 3 of Gulliver’s Travels, among other things, Jonathan Swift suggested, instead of juries, letting the taxpayer himself assess tax, on the honor system. Here’s one example: the “highest Tax was upon Men who are the greatest Favourites of the other Sex, and the Assessments, according to the Number and Nature of the Favours they have received; for which, they are allowed to be their own Vouchers.” Decode the olde English, and you’ve got a tax on either promiscuity or boastful lies about sex — a “Swaggering Stud” tax.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/taxes-cannabis-gulliver-j_b_7761696

So corporations are either profitable to benefit of shareholders or they’re exaggerating. Either way, a tax seems OK. Adjust the regular tax rate down if people want.

If you follow Swift, book income should be a free-standing tax, not an alternative alternative minimum tax.

One thought on “Book income and Swift’s swaggering stud tax”

  1. what fun

    On Mon, Oct 5, 2020 at 5:52 PM The Center for New Revenue wrote:

    > patoglesby posted: ” Book income tax is a tax on enterprises who tell > people they are profitable. That’s worth something. Cost of enforcement > is negligible. Maybe taxpayers will stop seeing overstating earnings as a > costfree ploy. A nominal or low tax on book income, i” >

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