- - Sunday, January 15, 2017


Stephen Moore’s op-ed, “The case for a border adjustable tax system” (Web, Jan. 8), is a juxtaposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to negotiate and reverse the unfair trade practices of other countries.

A common unfair trade practice is the system of border adjustments employed by valued-added tax (VAT) nations at U.S. expense. It’s a disguised system of tariffs and export subsidies, with the VAT tacked onto imports and rebated on exports. Its defense rests on a claim of acceptance — all VAT nations employ it, and it’s a system that’s been practiced for decades without any real challenge.

Mr. Moore writes that he agrees with Donald Trump that this system of VAT border adjustments “for America is not fair trade.” So it’s puzzling to see the incoming Trump administration ducking from the negotiation table for an end to this system in favor of a proposal to muck up the corporate income tax with built-in VAT border adjustments.

It seems as though we are to ignore the principles of free trade and allow some tariffs and export subsidies — so long as they are not labeled as such. And we are to further complicate and make even more confusing our already insane income-tax system. I get it; two wrongs make a right.





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