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BofA Reports Best Ever Q3 Earnings Even As Held-To-Maturity Losses Soar By $26 BIllion To Record HiIgh

BofA Reports Best Ever Q3 Earnings Even As Held-To-Maturity Losses Soar By $26 BIllion To Record HiIgh

Bank of America, the second largest…

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BofA Reports Best Ever Q3 Earnings Even As Held-To-Maturity Losses Soar By $26 BIllion To Record HiIgh

Bank of America, the second largest US bank, was the latest big money-center bank to report earnings this morning, and in keeping the trend started by JPM, Wells and Citi last Friday, it not only beat expectations, but reported Q3 numbers that were the strongest in at least seven years as net interest income topped analysts’ estimates as the lender continues to reap the benefits of Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes and market swings.

Here are the highlights:

  • Q3 revenue $25.17BN, up 3% YoY from $24.5BN and beating exp. of $24.94BN
  • Q3 EPS $0.90, up 11% YoY from $0.81, and beating exp. of $0.82

“We added clients and accounts across all lines of business,” CEO Brian Moynihan said adding that "we did this in a healthy but slowing economy that saw US consumer spending still ahead of last year but continuing to slow.”

Looking at the bank's Q3, here too it beat expectations across the board

  • Return on average equity 11.2%, estimate 10.2%
  • Return on average assets 0.99%, estimate 0.89%
  • Return on average tangible common equity 15.5%, estimate 14%
  • Basel III common equity Tier 1 ratio fully phased-in, advanced approach 13.5%, estimate 13.2%
  • Standardized CET1 ratio 11.9%, estimate 11.7%
  • Efficiency ratio 62.6%, estimate 62.9%

We'll look at BofA's non-interest income in a second but first this is how the bank took advantage of its massive balance sheet:

  • BofA reported net interest income of $14.53BN, up from $13.9BN a year ago and beating estimates of $14.22BN.
    • BofA's Net interest yield of 2.11% increased 5 bps YoY and also increased 5 bps from 2Q23 and also beating the 2.06% median estmate; Excluding GM, net interest yield dropped from 2.65%  to 2.64%

Looking at the bank's charge offs, which will be a closely watched topic since Bank of America has one of the highest carried Held to Maturity losses of all banks, the bank reported net charge-offs of $931 million, below the estimate of $995.4 million while the provision for credit losses rose to $1.23 billion, but below the estimate $1.3 billion. Unlike JPM, BofA actually built reserves for future losses to the tune of $303 billion, "driven primarily by credit cards" which together with CRE is emerging as the biggest threat to the financial system. Some more details:

  • Total net charge-offs of $931MM increased $62MM from 2Q23, but below the estimate $995.4 million
    • Consumer net charge-offs of $804MM increased $84MM, driven primarily by higher credit card losses
    • Credit card loss rate of 2.72% in 3Q23 vs. 2.60% in 2Q23; 4Q19 pre-pandemic loss rate of 3.03%
    • Commercial net charge-offs of $127MM decreased $22MM, driven by lower losses in Commercial Real Estate
  • Net charge-off ratio of 0.35% increased 2 bps from 2Q23 and remained below pre-pandemic levels; 4Q19 NCO ratio 0.39%
  • Provision for credit losses of $1.2B;
    • Net reserve build of $303MM in 3Q23, driven primarily by credit card
  • Allowance for loan and lease losses of $13.3B represented 1.27% of total loans and leases
    • Total allowance of $14.6B included $1.4B for unfunded commitments

Some more details:

  • Nonperforming loans (NPLs) increased $0.7B from 2Q23, to $4.8B, driven primarily by Commercial Real Estate
  • Commercial reservable criticized utilized exposure of $23.7B increased $2.3B from 2Q23, driven primarily by Commercial Real Estate

And another way to visualize the deteriorating credit card and CRE trends on the BofA balance sheet.

Of course,  the one line item everyone will be asking about is the bank's $131.6BN in HTM losses, which increased by $26BN from last quarter and is now the highest in BofA history!

Another look at the balance sheet reveals average loans and leases of $1.05 trillion, in line with the estimate of $1.05 trillion...

... while deposits were unchanged at $1.88 trillion, above the estimate of $1.77 trillion, but down from $1.96 trillion a year ago.

As has been the case lately, every bank is finally doing what we have been showing since 2012 when JPM's excess deposits led to the London Whale disaster, and is disclosing how it is handling its "excess deposits over loans" which these days are mostly parked in deeply underwater (but HTM) treasuries. Here are the details:

  • Deposits in excess of loans grew from $0.4T in 3Q19 and peaked at $1.1T in 4Q21; remained above $0.8T in 3Q23
  • Excess deposits stored in cash and investment securities
    • 53% HTM and 47% cash and AFS in 3Q23
    • Cash levels remained well above pre-pandemic levels ($157B in 3Q19)
  • AFS securities mostly hedged with floating rate swaps; duration less than 0.5 years and marked through AOCI1 and regulatory capital
  • Invested net $33B in short-term US Treasuries in 3Q23
  • HTM securities were $603 billion; these declined $80B since peaking at $683B in 3Q21; down $40B vs. 3Q22 and $11B vs. 2Q23. This is where all the deeply underwater TSY and MBS holdings are found.
    • MBS  of $474B down $11B vs. 2Q23; $129B UST / other flat
    • Valuation declined 13% vs. 3Q22, as mortgage rates ended 3Q23 at highest level in almost 23 years

Turning to BofA's Global Markets trading desk, the bank reported trading revenue ex DVA at $4.42BN, up 8% and beating the $4.16BN expected.

  • FICC trading revenue excluding DVA $2.72 billion, beating estimates of $2.62 billion, and above the $2.57BN from a year ago, "driven by improved trading in credit and mortgage products, partially offset by weaker trading in currencies and rates"
  • Equities trading revenue excluding DVA $1.70 billion, also beating estimates of $1.54 billion, and also above the $1.54BN from a year ago, "driven primarily by an increase in client financing activities"
  • The average VaR dropped notably from 117 a year ago and 76 in Q2 to just 69 in Q3
  • On the expense side of the ledger, noninterest expense in global market, of $3.2B increased 7% vs. 3Q22, driven by investments in the business, including people and technology.

Taking a quick look at the company's expenses, BofA reported that non-interest expenses rose 3.5% from a year earlier to $15.8 billion. Costs have been a focal point for investors, with persistent inflation putting pressure on spending and spurring wage growth. Analysts had expected a 3.3% increase. Broken down, compensation and benefits rose to $9.55 billion from $9.4 billion, above the estimated $9.34 billion; Other expenses dropped from $6.6BN to $6.3BN, resulting in an efficiency ratio of 63%, down from 64% but up from 62% a year ago.

The stronger than expected results offered another look at how US consumers and businesses are faring as the Fed leaves borrowing costs higher for longer than economists had predicted. Last week, JPM, Wells Fargo and Citi beat analysts’ expectations for net interest income and raised their forecasts for the remainder of the year.

Shares of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank which were down 19% this year through Monday, rose 0.7% to $27.19 at 8 a.m. in early New York trading as attention has yet to turn to the aggressive deterioration in the bank's books.

The company's full Q3 presentation is below (pdf link)

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 08:13

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Taxing Billionaires Won’t Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Taxing Billionaires Won’t Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing…

Published

on

Taxing Billionaires Won't Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing billionaires to alleviate the financial burdens of the middle class stands as a tempting narrative. Advocates tout it as the quintessential solution to income inequality, promising a redistribution of wealth that lifts the masses from their fiscal woes. However, this narrative, so alluring in its simplicity, crumbles upon closer examination, revealing a multitude of complexities and pitfalls that belie its benefits.

Central to the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of government spending and deficits. Proponents of this approach often overlook the inconvenient truth that as most governments increase spending even when tax receipts rise, deficits soar to unprecedented heights, burdening future generations with a mountain of debt and always increasing taxes for the middle class.

Taxing the rich is the door that leads to more taxes for all of us. The case of the United States is evident. No tax revenue measure is going to wipe out an annual two trillion dollar deficit. Therefore, the government announces a large tax hike for the wealthy and disguises it with more taxes for everybody and higher inflation, which is a hidden tax.

The notion that taxing billionaires will miraculously alleviate this fiscal strain is akin to applying plaster to a gaping wound—it does not even provide temporary relief, and it fails to address the underlying malaise.

A seminal paper by Alesina, Favero, and Giavazzi (2015) delves into the implications of government deficits on economic growth. The authors argue that persistent deficits not only crowd out private investment but also lead to higher interest rates, reduced confidence, and ultimately diminished economic growth. This underscores the importance of fiscal prudence in addressing long-term fiscal challenges and the evidence that tax hikes are not neutral.

Billionaires mostly hold their wealth in shares of their own companies. This is what is called “paper wealth.” However, they cannot sell those shares and if they lost them, their value would decline immediately.

The redistribution fallacy comes from three false ideas:

  • The first is the notion that billionaires do not pay taxes to begin with. The top one percent of income earners in the United States earned 22 percent of all income and paid 42 percent of all federal income.

  • The second error is believing that wealth is static—like a pie—and can be redistributed at will. Wealth is either created or destroyed. Confiscating the wealth of billionaires does not make the middle class or the poor richer. We should have learned that lesson from the numerous examples in history, from the French Revolution to the Soviet Union.

  • The third mistake is to believe that the economy is a sum-zero game where the wealth of one person is the loss of another. That is simply false because wealth is not “there.” It must be created through an exercise where all parties win in exchange for cooperation.

The world must strive to create more wealth, not limit those who generate it.

Consider the recent clamour for increased government intervention and spending, particularly in the wake of global crises. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted governments all over the world to enact a flurry of fiscal stimuli, ostensibly intended to soften the blow of the economic fallout. Yet, as the dust settles, we find ourselves grappling not only with the immediate ramifications of increased government spending but also with the long-term consequences of ballooning deficits as well as persistent inflation.

Who came out as the loser of the redistribution and stimulus frenzy of the past decade? The middle class. It has been destroyed by persistent inflation created by printing money without control, rising debt and deficits and constantly bloating government size in the economy, which in turn creates two taxes for the middle class and the poor: inflation and rising indirect taxes.

Critics of this approach have long warned of the dangers of irresponsible government spending. Taxing billionaires will not stop this trend of excessive bureaucracy and irresponsible administration of public services; in fact, it may accelerate it, as we have seen in so many countries, and certainly will not reduce the tax wedge on ordinary citizens.

History is replete with cautionary tales of nations brought to their knees by unchecked fiscal excesses. From hyperinflation to sovereign debt crises, the ramifications of fiscal irresponsibility are manifold and far-reaching. And yet, in the face of mounting pressure to “tax the rich,” policymakers seem intent on repeating the mistakes of the past, heedless of the inevitable consequences.

But the fallacy of taxing billionaires extends beyond the realm of fiscal policy—it strikes at the very heart of economic prosperity. At its core, capitalism depends on investment, entrepreneurship, and innovation—all of which are at risk from excessive taxation. The narrative that vilifies billionaires as greedy hoarders of wealth overlooks their crucial role in driving economic growth and prosperity.

By focusing solely on redistributive measures, policymakers risk undermining the very foundations of prosperity upon which our economic system rests.

Moreover, the notion that taxing billionaires will somehow level the playing field and uplift the middle class is predicated on a flawed understanding of economic reality. In truth, the global mobility of capital renders such measures largely ineffective, as the ultra-wealthy can easily relocate to jurisdictions with more favourable tax regimes. This not only undermines the efficacy of taxing billionaires as a revenue-generating mechanism but also exacerbates the very inequalities it seeks to redress.

Indeed, the unintended consequences of excessively taxing the rich are manifold and far-reaching. From reduced investment and job creation to economic stagnation and decline, the repercussions of such policies are felt across society. And while the rhetoric of wealth redistribution may sound appealing in theory, the reality is far more sobering—a stagnant economy, diminished opportunities, and a dwindling standard of living for all.

So, where does this leave us? If taxing billionaires is not the panacea it purports to be, what alternatives exist to address income inequality and alleviate the burdens of the middle class? The answer lies not in punitive taxation but in prudent fiscal policy, targeted policies, and a renewed focus on fostering economic growth and prosperity for all.

Primarily, we must recognize that fiscal responsibility is not a luxury but a necessity. Governments must exercise restraint in their spending, prioritize efficiency and accountability, and resist the temptation to paper over fiscal deficits with ill-conceived tax hikes and money printing. Only through disciplined fiscal management can we hope to secure a prosperous future for generations to come.

Second, we must recognize the vital role that entrepreneurship and investment play in driving economic growth and prosperity. Rather than demonizing billionaires as the root of all evil, we should celebrate their contributions to society and create an environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation. This means reducing regulatory barriers, incentivizing investment, and empowering individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Finally, we must understand that opportunities provided to citizens, not the size of the government, are what define true progress. Rather than relying on the state to solve all our problems, we should empower individuals and communities to chart their own course to prosperity. This means investing in education, healthcare, and infrastructure, providing a safety net for those in need, and fostering a culture of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

In conclusion, the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies not in its intentions but in its execution. While the notion of redistributing wealth may sound appealing in theory, the reality is far more complex. By succumbing to the allure of punitive taxation, we risk stifling economic growth, undermining prosperity, and perpetuating the very inequalities we seek to redress. Only through prudent fiscal management, targeted interventions, and a renewed focus on fostering economic growth can we hope to build a future that is truly prosperous for all.

Socialism does not redistribute from the rich to the poor, but from the middle class to politicians.

The fallacy of massively taxing billionaires is another trick to promote socialism, which has never been about the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, but the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to politicians.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/18/2024 - 17:30

Read More

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Taxing Billionaires Won’t Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Taxing Billionaires Won’t Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing…

Published

on

Taxing Billionaires Won't Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing billionaires to alleviate the financial burdens of the middle class stands as a tempting narrative. Advocates tout it as the quintessential solution to income inequality, promising a redistribution of wealth that lifts the masses from their fiscal woes. However, this narrative, so alluring in its simplicity, crumbles upon closer examination, revealing a multitude of complexities and pitfalls that belie its benefits.

Central to the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of government spending and deficits. Proponents of this approach often overlook the inconvenient truth that as most governments increase spending even when tax receipts rise, deficits soar to unprecedented heights, burdening future generations with a mountain of debt and always increasing taxes for the middle class.

Taxing the rich is the door that leads to more taxes for all of us. The case of the United States is evident. No tax revenue measure is going to wipe out an annual two trillion dollar deficit. Therefore, the government announces a large tax hike for the wealthy and disguises it with more taxes for everybody and higher inflation, which is a hidden tax.

The notion that taxing billionaires will miraculously alleviate this fiscal strain is akin to applying plaster to a gaping wound—it does not even provide temporary relief, and it fails to address the underlying malaise.

A seminal paper by Alesina, Favero, and Giavazzi (2015) delves into the implications of government deficits on economic growth. The authors argue that persistent deficits not only crowd out private investment but also lead to higher interest rates, reduced confidence, and ultimately diminished economic growth. This underscores the importance of fiscal prudence in addressing long-term fiscal challenges and the evidence that tax hikes are not neutral.

Billionaires mostly hold their wealth in shares of their own companies. This is what is called “paper wealth.” However, they cannot sell those shares and if they lost them, their value would decline immediately.

The redistribution fallacy comes from three false ideas:

  • The first is the notion that billionaires do not pay taxes to begin with. The top one percent of income earners in the United States earned 22 percent of all income and paid 42 percent of all federal income.

  • The second error is believing that wealth is static—like a pie—and can be redistributed at will. Wealth is either created or destroyed. Confiscating the wealth of billionaires does not make the middle class or the poor richer. We should have learned that lesson from the numerous examples in history, from the French Revolution to the Soviet Union.

  • The third mistake is to believe that the economy is a sum-zero game where the wealth of one person is the loss of another. That is simply false because wealth is not “there.” It must be created through an exercise where all parties win in exchange for cooperation.

The world must strive to create more wealth, not limit those who generate it.

Consider the recent clamour for increased government intervention and spending, particularly in the wake of global crises. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted governments all over the world to enact a flurry of fiscal stimuli, ostensibly intended to soften the blow of the economic fallout. Yet, as the dust settles, we find ourselves grappling not only with the immediate ramifications of increased government spending but also with the long-term consequences of ballooning deficits as well as persistent inflation.

Who came out as the loser of the redistribution and stimulus frenzy of the past decade? The middle class. It has been destroyed by persistent inflation created by printing money without control, rising debt and deficits and constantly bloating government size in the economy, which in turn creates two taxes for the middle class and the poor: inflation and rising indirect taxes.

Critics of this approach have long warned of the dangers of irresponsible government spending. Taxing billionaires will not stop this trend of excessive bureaucracy and irresponsible administration of public services; in fact, it may accelerate it, as we have seen in so many countries, and certainly will not reduce the tax wedge on ordinary citizens.

History is replete with cautionary tales of nations brought to their knees by unchecked fiscal excesses. From hyperinflation to sovereign debt crises, the ramifications of fiscal irresponsibility are manifold and far-reaching. And yet, in the face of mounting pressure to “tax the rich,” policymakers seem intent on repeating the mistakes of the past, heedless of the inevitable consequences.

But the fallacy of taxing billionaires extends beyond the realm of fiscal policy—it strikes at the very heart of economic prosperity. At its core, capitalism depends on investment, entrepreneurship, and innovation—all of which are at risk from excessive taxation. The narrative that vilifies billionaires as greedy hoarders of wealth overlooks their crucial role in driving economic growth and prosperity.

By focusing solely on redistributive measures, policymakers risk undermining the very foundations of prosperity upon which our economic system rests.

Moreover, the notion that taxing billionaires will somehow level the playing field and uplift the middle class is predicated on a flawed understanding of economic reality. In truth, the global mobility of capital renders such measures largely ineffective, as the ultra-wealthy can easily relocate to jurisdictions with more favourable tax regimes. This not only undermines the efficacy of taxing billionaires as a revenue-generating mechanism but also exacerbates the very inequalities it seeks to redress.

Indeed, the unintended consequences of excessively taxing the rich are manifold and far-reaching. From reduced investment and job creation to economic stagnation and decline, the repercussions of such policies are felt across society. And while the rhetoric of wealth redistribution may sound appealing in theory, the reality is far more sobering—a stagnant economy, diminished opportunities, and a dwindling standard of living for all.

So, where does this leave us? If taxing billionaires is not the panacea it purports to be, what alternatives exist to address income inequality and alleviate the burdens of the middle class? The answer lies not in punitive taxation but in prudent fiscal policy, targeted policies, and a renewed focus on fostering economic growth and prosperity for all.

Primarily, we must recognize that fiscal responsibility is not a luxury but a necessity. Governments must exercise restraint in their spending, prioritize efficiency and accountability, and resist the temptation to paper over fiscal deficits with ill-conceived tax hikes and money printing. Only through disciplined fiscal management can we hope to secure a prosperous future for generations to come.

Second, we must recognize the vital role that entrepreneurship and investment play in driving economic growth and prosperity. Rather than demonizing billionaires as the root of all evil, we should celebrate their contributions to society and create an environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation. This means reducing regulatory barriers, incentivizing investment, and empowering individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Finally, we must understand that opportunities provided to citizens, not the size of the government, are what define true progress. Rather than relying on the state to solve all our problems, we should empower individuals and communities to chart their own course to prosperity. This means investing in education, healthcare, and infrastructure, providing a safety net for those in need, and fostering a culture of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

In conclusion, the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies not in its intentions but in its execution. While the notion of redistributing wealth may sound appealing in theory, the reality is far more complex. By succumbing to the allure of punitive taxation, we risk stifling economic growth, undermining prosperity, and perpetuating the very inequalities we seek to redress. Only through prudent fiscal management, targeted interventions, and a renewed focus on fostering economic growth can we hope to build a future that is truly prosperous for all.

Socialism does not redistribute from the rich to the poor, but from the middle class to politicians.

The fallacy of massively taxing billionaires is another trick to promote socialism, which has never been about the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, but the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to politicians.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/18/2024 - 17:30

Read More

Continue Reading

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Taxing Billionaires Won’t Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Taxing Billionaires Won’t Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing…

Published

on

Taxing Billionaires Won't Reduce Taxes For The Middle Class

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing billionaires to alleviate the financial burdens of the middle class stands as a tempting narrative. Advocates tout it as the quintessential solution to income inequality, promising a redistribution of wealth that lifts the masses from their fiscal woes. However, this narrative, so alluring in its simplicity, crumbles upon closer examination, revealing a multitude of complexities and pitfalls that belie its benefits.

Central to the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of government spending and deficits. Proponents of this approach often overlook the inconvenient truth that as most governments increase spending even when tax receipts rise, deficits soar to unprecedented heights, burdening future generations with a mountain of debt and always increasing taxes for the middle class.

Taxing the rich is the door that leads to more taxes for all of us. The case of the United States is evident. No tax revenue measure is going to wipe out an annual two trillion dollar deficit. Therefore, the government announces a large tax hike for the wealthy and disguises it with more taxes for everybody and higher inflation, which is a hidden tax.

The notion that taxing billionaires will miraculously alleviate this fiscal strain is akin to applying plaster to a gaping wound—it does not even provide temporary relief, and it fails to address the underlying malaise.

A seminal paper by Alesina, Favero, and Giavazzi (2015) delves into the implications of government deficits on economic growth. The authors argue that persistent deficits not only crowd out private investment but also lead to higher interest rates, reduced confidence, and ultimately diminished economic growth. This underscores the importance of fiscal prudence in addressing long-term fiscal challenges and the evidence that tax hikes are not neutral.

Billionaires mostly hold their wealth in shares of their own companies. This is what is called “paper wealth.” However, they cannot sell those shares and if they lost them, their value would decline immediately.

The redistribution fallacy comes from three false ideas:

  • The first is the notion that billionaires do not pay taxes to begin with. The top one percent of income earners in the United States earned 22 percent of all income and paid 42 percent of all federal income.

  • The second error is believing that wealth is static—like a pie—and can be redistributed at will. Wealth is either created or destroyed. Confiscating the wealth of billionaires does not make the middle class or the poor richer. We should have learned that lesson from the numerous examples in history, from the French Revolution to the Soviet Union.

  • The third mistake is to believe that the economy is a sum-zero game where the wealth of one person is the loss of another. That is simply false because wealth is not “there.” It must be created through an exercise where all parties win in exchange for cooperation.

The world must strive to create more wealth, not limit those who generate it.

Consider the recent clamour for increased government intervention and spending, particularly in the wake of global crises. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted governments all over the world to enact a flurry of fiscal stimuli, ostensibly intended to soften the blow of the economic fallout. Yet, as the dust settles, we find ourselves grappling not only with the immediate ramifications of increased government spending but also with the long-term consequences of ballooning deficits as well as persistent inflation.

Who came out as the loser of the redistribution and stimulus frenzy of the past decade? The middle class. It has been destroyed by persistent inflation created by printing money without control, rising debt and deficits and constantly bloating government size in the economy, which in turn creates two taxes for the middle class and the poor: inflation and rising indirect taxes.

Critics of this approach have long warned of the dangers of irresponsible government spending. Taxing billionaires will not stop this trend of excessive bureaucracy and irresponsible administration of public services; in fact, it may accelerate it, as we have seen in so many countries, and certainly will not reduce the tax wedge on ordinary citizens.

History is replete with cautionary tales of nations brought to their knees by unchecked fiscal excesses. From hyperinflation to sovereign debt crises, the ramifications of fiscal irresponsibility are manifold and far-reaching. And yet, in the face of mounting pressure to “tax the rich,” policymakers seem intent on repeating the mistakes of the past, heedless of the inevitable consequences.

But the fallacy of taxing billionaires extends beyond the realm of fiscal policy—it strikes at the very heart of economic prosperity. At its core, capitalism depends on investment, entrepreneurship, and innovation—all of which are at risk from excessive taxation. The narrative that vilifies billionaires as greedy hoarders of wealth overlooks their crucial role in driving economic growth and prosperity.

By focusing solely on redistributive measures, policymakers risk undermining the very foundations of prosperity upon which our economic system rests.

Moreover, the notion that taxing billionaires will somehow level the playing field and uplift the middle class is predicated on a flawed understanding of economic reality. In truth, the global mobility of capital renders such measures largely ineffective, as the ultra-wealthy can easily relocate to jurisdictions with more favourable tax regimes. This not only undermines the efficacy of taxing billionaires as a revenue-generating mechanism but also exacerbates the very inequalities it seeks to redress.

Indeed, the unintended consequences of excessively taxing the rich are manifold and far-reaching. From reduced investment and job creation to economic stagnation and decline, the repercussions of such policies are felt across society. And while the rhetoric of wealth redistribution may sound appealing in theory, the reality is far more sobering—a stagnant economy, diminished opportunities, and a dwindling standard of living for all.

So, where does this leave us? If taxing billionaires is not the panacea it purports to be, what alternatives exist to address income inequality and alleviate the burdens of the middle class? The answer lies not in punitive taxation but in prudent fiscal policy, targeted policies, and a renewed focus on fostering economic growth and prosperity for all.

Primarily, we must recognize that fiscal responsibility is not a luxury but a necessity. Governments must exercise restraint in their spending, prioritize efficiency and accountability, and resist the temptation to paper over fiscal deficits with ill-conceived tax hikes and money printing. Only through disciplined fiscal management can we hope to secure a prosperous future for generations to come.

Second, we must recognize the vital role that entrepreneurship and investment play in driving economic growth and prosperity. Rather than demonizing billionaires as the root of all evil, we should celebrate their contributions to society and create an environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation. This means reducing regulatory barriers, incentivizing investment, and empowering individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Finally, we must understand that opportunities provided to citizens, not the size of the government, are what define true progress. Rather than relying on the state to solve all our problems, we should empower individuals and communities to chart their own course to prosperity. This means investing in education, healthcare, and infrastructure, providing a safety net for those in need, and fostering a culture of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

In conclusion, the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies not in its intentions but in its execution. While the notion of redistributing wealth may sound appealing in theory, the reality is far more complex. By succumbing to the allure of punitive taxation, we risk stifling economic growth, undermining prosperity, and perpetuating the very inequalities we seek to redress. Only through prudent fiscal management, targeted interventions, and a renewed focus on fostering economic growth can we hope to build a future that is truly prosperous for all.

Socialism does not redistribute from the rich to the poor, but from the middle class to politicians.

The fallacy of massively taxing billionaires is another trick to promote socialism, which has never been about the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, but the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to politicians.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/18/2024 - 17:30

Read More

Continue Reading

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