Jan 27, 2017

Theory of the day: Border adjusted tax is pointless

Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute argues that in the long run a border adjusted tax, that would raise taxes on imports, will be a wash because America can't run a trade deficit forever. Eventually we'll have to run commensurate surpluses to make up for what we've spent. So when we do start running those surpluses, our tax receipts will go down, eliminating the benefit of the tax in the long run.

Counterpoint: Former Reagan economic adviser Martin Feldstein, however, emails Axios to take exception with this theory. "The U.S. has had a trade deficit for each of the past 30 years. So apparently the world is prepared to allow us to keep doing this without paying them back."

Why this matters: The Trump administration has floated a border tax to raise $10 billion to pay for a wall on the Mexican border. And even if Viard might technically be right in the (very) long run, that won't stop policy makers from trying to grab this extra revenue while they can.

Go deeper

China tries to contain coronavirus, as Apple warns of earnings impact

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

As China pushes to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — placing around 780 million people under travel restrictions, per CNN — the economic repercussions continue to be felt globally as companies like Apple warn of the impact from the lack of manufacturing and consumer demand in China.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There are some signs that new cases are growing at a slower rate now, although the World Health Organization said Monday it's "too early to tell" if this will continue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Apple will miss quarterly earnings estimates due to coronavirus

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple issued a rare earnings warning on Monday, saying it would not meet quarterly revenue expectations due to the impact of the coronavirus, which will limit iPhone production and limit product demand in China.

Why it matters: Lots of companies rely on China for production, but unlike most U.S. tech companies, Apple also gets a significant chunk of its revenue from sales in China.

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.