Dr. Daniel Mitchell, senior tax policy analyst at Cato Institute in Washington DC, gave a talk about progressive taxes at the University of Iceland 16 November 2012, invited by RNH and the newly-f0unded Icelandic Union of Taxpayers. Mitchell pointed out that the main role of taxes is to obtain the revenue necessary to pay for government services. By double taxation, such as taxes on dividends and capital gains, the accumulation of capital, necessary in a growing economy, is made more difficult. Tax authorities should not discriminate between future consumption (or investment) and present consumption. Mitchell argued that a high progressive incomes tax as has recently been imposed in Iceland, and a special wealth tax were both very inefficient kinds of taxes.
Mitchell’s visit to Iceland provoked much discussion. The daily Morgunbladid published an interview with Mitchell 20 November 2012. Vidskiptabladid, a weekly business magazine, gave an account of his lecture 1 December. Oli Bjorn Karason, economist and alternate Member of Parliament for the Independence Party, published an article about Mitchell’s message in Morgunbladid 21 November. Lawyer Finnur Thor Vilhjalmsson criticized Mitchell in an article in left-wing newspaper DV 8 December 2012.