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Figure of the Day: Odds on Obamacare

**FLASH** MUST CREDIT DELONG **FLASH**: Horrible Tragedy: Republicans Read Greg Mankiw, Move to North Korea Seeking Low-Tax Country

If you are a Republican, you think a low-tax country is the right place to live, right? And now if you read Greg Mankiw he proves that North Korea is the lowest tax country.

South Korean police have been trying to keep Republican lobbyists from trying to cross the border minefields without success all morning. In other news, Coast Guard vessels with bullhorns have been trying to stop Republican entrepreneurs from embarking for Cuba from Key West in small rubber boats...


Greg Mankiw's Blog: Taxes per Person: Some pundits, reflecting on the looming U.S. budget deficits, claim that Americans are vastly undertaxed compared with other major nations.  I was wondering, to what extent is that true? The most common metric for answering this question is taxes as a percentage of GDP.  However, high tax rates tend to depress GDP.  Looking at taxes as a percentage of GDP may mislead us into thinking we can increase tax revenue more than we actually can.  For some purposes, a better statistic may be taxes per person, which we can compute using this piece of advanced mathematics:

Taxes/GDP x GDP/Person = Taxes/Person

Here are the results for some of the largest developed nations:

France: .461 x 33,744 = 15,556. Germany: .406 x 34,219 = 13,893. UK: .390 x 35,165 = 13,714> US: .282 x 46,443 = 13,097. Canada: .334 x 38,290 = 12,789. Italy: .426 x 29,290 = 12,478. Spain: .373 x 29,527 = 11,014. Japan: .274 x 32,817 = 8,992

The bottom line: The United States is indeed a low-tax country as judged by taxes as a percentage of GDP, but as judged by taxes per person, the United States is in the middle of the pack.