June 13th, 2013
06:58 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

Immediate reform is needed in Pakistan's tax system, writes Tariq Ali in the London Review of Books. "As elsewhere in the world, the rich barely pay any taxes since most of their income is hidden from view. A recent report by the Westminster Parliament’s International Development Committee found that only 768,000 Pakistanis paid any income tax last year – that’s 0.57 per cent of the population. In countries of a comparable level of development the figure is usually around 15 per cent. Unsurprisingly, 69 percent of National Assembly members paid no tax in 2011."

"All this uncollected money could lay the foundations for the proper state education and health service that was the main demand of the PTI."

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Focusing on what people pay when they’re young, healthy and rich misses the fundamental point of health insurance, argues Ezra Klein on Bloomberg. "No one has a permanently fixed identity in the health system. The young become old. The healthy grow sick. The rich become poor. By highlighting what the luckiest group of people pays at a single moment in time, critics overlook the reason people need insurance in the first place. It’s like dismissing the need for a fire department based on the fact that your house hasn’t caught fire yet."

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“As an academic, I'm just an amateur capitalist. Still, over the past 15 years I've started small ventures in both the U.S. and the U.K.,” writes Niall Ferguson in the Wall Street Journal. “In the process I've learned something surprising: It's much easier to do in the U.K. There seemed to be much more regulation in the U.S., not least the headache of sorting out health insurance for my few employees.

And there were certainly more billable hours from lawyers.”

“This set me thinking. We are assured by vociferous economists that economic growth would be higher in the U.S. and unemployment lower if only the government would run even bigger deficits and/or the Fed would print even more money. But what if the difficulty lies elsewhere, in problems that no amount of fiscal or monetary stimulus can overcome?”

 


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. lolis trevino

    Dr. Zakaria, during the broadcast of your show GPS on sundays, the onpy sound you can hear in our livingroom is: Ssshhhh! Let us hear! We are thinking about getting a DVR.

    June 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  2. matslats

    Pick the plank out of your own eye!
    USA has made Pakistan a war zone.
    How dare you comment on its social services.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:49 am | Reply
  3. j. von hettlingen

    With Nawaz Sharif now in power, he would hardly carry out tax reform, as he's one of the richest men in Pakistan. Indeed Hillary Clinton urged Zardari's government to tax the rich, before it reached out to the world and urged for funding the relief programmes in 2011 after the heavy flood in the country.

    June 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply

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