Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Great Betrayal 11

I finished Pat Buchanan's The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy.

In my latest reading, Buchanan elaborated on his proposal to have a revenue tariff of 15 percent.  Actually, he doesn't believe that the tariff should be that low for all imports.  For imports that come from countries where workers are paid dramatically less than our workers, Buchanan argues, the tariff should be higher.
Buchanan also talks about tax policy.  In my latest reading, he treats the national sales tax as a good idea, even though he says earlier in the book (on page 295) that "Even a national sales tax would require tens of thousands of IRS agents pouring over the cash receipts of millions of businesses", which is why Buchanan prefers tariffs for raising revenue: with tariffs, the government doesn't intervene in Americans' lives, as it simply collects the tariffs at the ports. 

Regarding the flat tax, Buchanan doesn't want it to allow people who have inherited their wealth to avoid paying their taxes, yet he does support a flat tax for salaries, wages, capital gains, interest, and dividends above $35,000, as that could encourage savings and investment.  Buchanan also supports a corporate revenue tax, which seems to be a tax on the corporations' gross revenue rather than merely their profits.  Buchanan states on page 323: "To provide a break for small businesses, which have created almost all of the 30 million new jobs since 1981, the corporate revenue tax could be raised to 5 percent for large corporations, but the first few millions of dollars of [corporate] revenue could be taxed at 0 percent, 1 percent, or 2 percent."  Buchanan appears to recognize the need for a strong middle class here, which (for him) entails that the rich pay more.  Yet, he also doesn't want to soak the rich.

I found this to be an excellent book.  Reading Buchanan has been a mixed experience for me.  I used to love his red-meat campaign speeches, especially when I was a conservative, and even today I can appreciate his talent as a wordsmith and as an intense orator.  Some of his columns and books, however, have struck me as overly technical and nuanced----which is good, yet not exactly pleasing for me as a reader.  This book, however, was readable and informative----not to mention that it was a substantive defense of protectionism and critique of the arguments that are often made in favor of free trade.  I especially enjoyed his narration of American history, which I could tell is a great love of his.  I first heard of this book over a decade ago.  I was at a Buchanan rally in 1996, and he was saying that he would write a book about the founding fathers and protectionism.  I'm glad I finally got around to reading it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog