Friday, January 04, 2013

He also proposed a 666% tax rate

It's only a matter of time before a conservative economics outfit is proclaiming "Iron Maiden supports flat tax!" It's true, with a catch. A big catch. Here's the actual quote from Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson in an interview with the Wall Street Journal Europe, it's in the context of his current career as an aerospace entrepreneur in Cardiff:

The alternative [to current income tax], endorsed by Mr. Dickinson, would be a flat rate. "You simply say everybody has to pay it—if you're born in this country, you pay 20%. End of story, no tax exiles, you want to live in Monaco, fine—20%."

So yes, it's a flat tax. But it's a flat tax applied on the basis of citizenship, not residency, a basis that only the USA currently uses -- to much criticism -- among major countries now. Yet despite the criticism, the US system has an inherent logic of simplicity and obligation: if you want to be a citizen, you pay for it, and all the dodges based on residency and domicile go out the window -- dodges which are disproportionately available to high income individuals anyway.

But the flat tax headbangers may not see the subtlety in Bruce's argument.