(Relative) Freedom Allows Americans Many Reasons to Give Thanks

By: Alfredo Ortiz

Appeared in Breitbart.com on November 25, 2015


The tradition of not talking politics at the dinner table is often not observed on Thanksgiving.The indoor setting and presence of extended family create an excellent environment for vigorous debate about the most pressing issues facing the country.

And while it’s a time to highlight the negative effects that government regulations, taxes, and other mandates have on the well-being of job creators and their employees, it’s also a day to be thankful for the relative economic freedom and vibrancy that this country still enjoys.

This means that as we discuss how the country’s 35 percent corporate income tax – the highest in the developed world – pushes job creators, thousands of good jobs, and billions of dollars of economic activity overseas, we should also be thankful that we are the only developed country without a national sales tax.

Most Europeans, on the other hand, pay an eye-watering 20 or 25 percent “value-added tax” on most of their purchases. That means that a $400 television costs $480 or $500.

The effect of such a tax is even more harmful than it seems on the surface because it is usually applied to each level of production. That means that the European TV manufacturer also has to pay 20 percent tax on its parts, the wholesaler has to pay 20 percent for the TVs, and the retailer has to pay 20 percent to the wholesaler. The compounding effects of this taxation means people pay a “baked-in” tax rate that is far higher than 20 or 25 percent. This is a major reason why things in Europe are so expensive.

Those who drove long distances to arrive at the dinner table and are criticizing current proposals to raise the gasoline tax, which already adds about 50 cents per gallon to our fill-ups, should also be thankful that we pay significantly less than our developed-world peers.

The price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. is about half of that of Canada, and about one quarter of that of Europe, where gas is taxed at far higher rates. Think about how spending double or quadruple as much on a tank of gas would affect your standard of living.

Those of us who flew to our Thanksgiving destinations and had trouble taking an Uber from the airport because of local regulations that impede middle-class residents from earning some extra income should also be thankful that we don’t live in a country that bans Uber outright.

Countries including Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands have caved to special interests wanting to keep inflated taxi rates and have banned the low-cost version of Uber, retarding economic progress and their citizens’ standards of living. Uber officials in France are actually facing jail time. The crime: providing a service that millions of people will happily pay for.

So as we sit down to the dinner table this Thanksgiving and discuss the many economic challenges the U.S. faces because of bad government policy, we should also take a moment to give thanks for our relative economic freedom that allows us to remain the most dynamic country on earth.

Alfredo Ortiz is CEO and President of Job Creators Network