Hillary Clinton's praise of Brazil was the topic of a post here last month. Earlier this week, speaking in Quito, Ecuador, in a "Policy Address on Opportunity in the Americas," she sounded a similar theme:
Brazil has one of the highest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world today, but the results speak for themselves. Brazil is an economy and a country on the move...in many places, including often in my own country, the simple fact is that the wealthy do not pay their fair share. We cannot mince words about this. Levels of tax evasion are unacceptably high, as much or more than 50 percent in some of this region's economies when it comes to personal income tax....We simply cannot support policies that reduce poverty and spread prosperity if the wealthiest among us are not doing our part.
A blog post by Clifford Thies from the Ludwig von Mises Institute posted on the Christian Science Monitor Web site thoroughly demolishes Secretary Clinton's point about Brazil:
Are the revenues generated by the sale of products and services by government enterprises categorized as tax revenues? Clearly, if Brazil counts oil sales as tax revenue and Mexico does not, comparisons of the ratio of tax revenue to GDP to the rate of economic growth are meaningless....On the specific issue of marginal tax rates, Brazil's are lower than those of the United States .... In Brazil, the top corporate and individual income-tax rates are 25 and 27.5 percent, while in the United States, the comparable rates are both 35 percent....Oh, one last thing. Brazil doesn't have the highest ratio of tax revenue to GDP in the western hemisphere. Cuba does.