Which countries have low taxes and have balanced budgets?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by stevegee58, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. Inquiring minds want to know.

    I've become so disgusted with my own country that I assume everyone else is the same.
  2. Dan44


  3. Singapore and Switzerland are to that come to mind, both have strict banking secrecy laws too.
  4. paulxx


    Switzerland is relatively good overall but gets really good in certain cantons. Schwyz, Zug, Oberwalden (10% flat income tax) and others. Also if you have a substantial amount you can cut a deal with the local canton for a fixed annual amount that makes it a lot lower. Amazingly peaceful, well mannered people. No standing military (but an assault rifle in every home), everything local and decentralized - voting is by a show of hands at village hall in some places. Not perfect, maybe a bit too regimented but the best there is for a major country. Ticino/Lugano is warm as is Basel (weather anomaly). I like quiet Bern. High cost of living (food mainly) in Geneva and Zurich, though rent is reasonable. House prices the same or lower than UK.

    Smaller places include Bahamas(no income tax but no bank privacy), Dubai(no tax), Andorra(none), Panama (if income not sourced in Panama). For EU, Ireland is lowish as is Luxembourg under some circumstances, but still way high.
  5. I guess I was wondering more along the lines of the balanced budget issue. I'm an engineer, not an economist, but I wonder if any countries really run a balanced budget any more.

    I finished Grennspan's book recently and his observations about the shift from gold based currency to fiat currency got me wondering.
  6. kowboy



    I attempted to compile some data in order to get a handle on a global look. The Bahamas is not on this list. From a corporate tax rate and dividend witholding tax for foreign investors, Ireland, Singapore, and Hong Kong also look good. Ireland is contemplating puling out of the European Union which may be negative for their economy if that happens.

    Disclaimer: There may be numerous errors and omissions and the compilation is for educational purposes only.
  7. gwac


    Canada has run a surplus for the past 10 years, taxes on the high side( but you get free medicare)
  8. Is Switzerland balanced? For the most part yes. The Germanic part yes, the Italian part mostly yes. The French part? Heck no! Go Figure... ;)

    The reason why Switzerland has balanced budgets for the most part is because of the unique way they solve problems.

    Let me illustrate...

    I live near Zurich and we are getting a new highway systems. This highway system has taken 10 years to realize. It does not include the time taken to do the planning. I am talking 10 years to do the physical labor. For other countries this would have taken about 2 years.

    So you ask, why 10 years when 2...

    Simple economics...

    The entire project costs about 2 billion CHF, and when I stretch it over 10 years it means I will be paying about 200 million per year. If I were to realize it in 2 years I would need to pay about a billion a year.

    200 million is quite a bit easier to digest than a billion. Yes by stretching you add costs due to certain inefficiencies. But when you do the math of having to issue bonds and then pay them it is better to stretch the payments. For example by squeezing everything in such a short time you are adding an urgency penalty and when things get out of whack with respect to timing, costs increase. By stretching you really don't have that problem.

    For another example of this look at the Gothard Train Tunnel system. 20 years! The interesting thing is that some workers started with that project and when it is done they will retire.

    The problem with waiting this long, is that well it is LONG...

    BUT by waiting this long, once the construction is done, the payments are done, and you have no debt.

    Rather clever actually...
  9. Funny you mention Canada...

    My wife and I left Canada because of the collapse when we graduated (1992).

    I think Canada has succeeded due to 2 reasons:

    1) Paul Martin putting the brakes on spending. He deserves oodles of credit for this.

    2) Commodity prices going up. I am sure you remember the boom and bust of Alberta, and Sudbury....

    What concerns me with Canada is that they have destroyed their industrial base. Recently I wanted to invest in Canada and to do so I would have had to invest in Real Estate, Energy, and Mining. There are hardly any industrial companies on the TSE outside of a couple.
  10. Which country has a massive surplus right now?
    #10     Jul 17, 2008