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E-taxes

Mike Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies states that as an online discussion grows longer, the likelihood of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. A corollary adage could be that as the economic discussion grows longer, the likelihood of creating a new form of taxation approaches one. Your leader on the rise of electronic money has violated this real economic discussion by not creating any new taxes (“Digital currencies that matter”, May 8). In fact, the tax was not mentioned at all.

You’ve summed up the positive aspects of central bank digital currencies well (CBDCs). Yet government-issued fiat currencies are deeply tax-related (fiat currencies are arguably only tax credits). CBDCs provide new tax collection powers. Complex tax algorithms can be applied to any CBDC real-time transaction. Once people realize the power of CBDC systems to support various tax initiatives with low transaction costs, we must expect an avalanche of proposals: city taxes, taxes on child noise, taxes on sugar, taxes on alcohol consumption, taxes on foreign visitors, etc.

In 2016 I gave an example of such CBDCtax based on the House of Lords. Given the widespread feeling that London is too oversized, imagine a populist redistributive tax in which transaction taxes go up in wealthy neighborhoods. To raise the level, politicians raise the tax rate as they approach Trafalgar Square, up to 99.9% next to Nelson’s Column, or spend your money in the Outer Hebrides at 0.1% tax. The technology cuts in two ways.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL MAINELLI
Executive chairman
Group Z / Yen
London

Some countries, like Australia, have already digitized their currencies independently of their central bank. Since 2013, most Australians have opened free myGov accounts which can be managed from their mobile phones. The government also issues free debit cards linked to their myGov to make payments. As a result, many people on social assistance no longer need a bank account.

SHANN TURNBULL
Main
International Institute for Autonomy
Sydney

How worrying to read your article on govcoins the very week a major pipeline was shut down by a cyber attack. One cannot even comprehend the effect of such an attack on a digital currency issued by a central bank, an event that would immediately freeze all financial activity, from corporate transactions to the purchase of groceries.

PETER PRASTHOFER
The Woodlands, Texas

Your special bank file mentioned whaling sloops that left Nantucket (May 8). A sloop is a boat designed for speed. The whalers of the 1800s, especially Nantucket, were more likely to be brigs, brigantines, or ships rigged with multiple masts and large hulls to hold supplies and whale oil for a trip of three or four years. Only the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest or Alaska would venture into a narrow hull to go whaling, which these “rude” sailors from New England would find reckless.

GRÉGOIRE SANIAL
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Technology and China

You mentioned the important role of the US government’s Office of Industry and Security in drafting rules for technology trade with China (“Assuming the position,” May 8). It is, however, erroneous to suggest that the appointment of a “foreigner” to lead the BIS would indicate an absence of a “real plan” on China. The agency is responsible for ensuring that sensitive technologies do not reach adversaries who would use them for harmful purposes. It’s increasingly difficult work, especially as China has blurred the lines between the private sector, government and military.

The Trump administration has added some 330 companies aligned with the Chinese government to the entity list. The Biden administration added seven more to this blacklist, signaling the continued policy against the Chinese Communist Party’s strategy of military-civilian fusion. The real test of whether this administration has a “real plan” for China will be whether Joe Biden’s candidate understands his ambitions to steal and exploit American-made technology and is ready to push through security interests. US national long-term before short-term corporate profits. Whether the candidate has legal title, is a foreigner, or is a Washington veteran is irrelevant.

The appointment must be made on background, ability and an understanding of the problems and issues – not whether an individual fits the mold of a bureaucrat.

ROSLYN LAYTON
Co-founder
Technological threat in China
Naples, florida

Jackson, Wyoming

Lexington’s column (May 15) on Liz Cheney’s political disappearance was excellent, and I share Ms. Cheney’s concerns about Donald Trump’s damaging impact on democracy. However, as a proud Wyomingite, I still blame Ms. Cheney for committing a cardinal sin against the people of Wyoming: she moved to Jackson.

You have to understand Wyoming’s small-scale geopolitics to understand this. As a former governor said, the state is just a small town with long streets between neighbors. Most of it is rural, desolate and windy. Small communities depend on drilling, mining and ranching to survive. We’re interconnected to the State Fair, county rodeos, and high school athletic events. We all know someone from Cheyenne, Cody, Gillette, Laramie, and Sheridan, as well as even smaller towns in between.

The only exception is Jackson. Jackson is a beautiful, expensive playground for the coastal elite. Jackson is an islander. Jackson does not interact with the economy of the rest of the state. Most Wyomingites do not identify with Jackson. Its elitism is foreign to us. We vacation in the Wind River and Big Horn mountain ranges.

I still wonder why Ms. Cheney decided to move there. When she was elected to Congress, she was called a satchel. Yet in my father’s words, you could have been born in Jackson and still be a carpet. She could have moved to Cody or Sheridan.

I predict Ms. Cheney’s popularity will continue to decline in Wyoming; she will continue to be portrayed as an elitist on the east coast disconnected from the state. I praise his courage in his opposition to Trumpism. I still can’t forgive him for moving to Jackson.

JASON DESPAIN
Casper, Wyoming

Slapshot

The mere reference to the “American National Hockey League” in “The Puck Stops Here” (May 15) must have caused your Canadian readers to choke on their Labatt beer. the NHL was founded in Canada and the nation mentioned in the name is Canada. Sadly, the Canadians have long lost control of their national sport, with 24 of the 31 NHL teams located in America.

Adding insult to injury, many of the new teams are located in southern cities like Tampa, Las Vegas or Anaheim that rarely, if ever, see natural ice.

ALISTAIR BRYDEN
Comox, Canada

This article appeared in the Letters section of the print edition under the title “On Digital Currencies, Technology and China, Wyoming, Ice Hockey”

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