Econintersect: Switzerland continued as the top ranked country for business competitiveness for the third year in a row, according to the Latest Ranking from the World Economic Forum. Singapore rose to second place as Sweden fell to third. Finland, seventh last year, moved up to fourth, displacing the U.S. which fell to fifth. In 2008 the U.S. was ranked #1. The rankings are based on economic data combined with a survey of 15,000 business executives.From the Associated Press report by John Heilprin:
The forum praised the U.S. for its productivity, highly sophisticated and innovative companies, excellent universities and flexible labor market. But it also cited “a number of escalating weaknesses” such as rising government debt and declining public faith in political leaders and corporate ethics.
A total of 142 nations were included in the survey.
Switzerland’s strengths, according to the World Economic Forum, are innovation, technological readiness, even-handed regulation, and one of the world’s most stable economic environments.
Taxes were not specifically discussed in the MSNBC/AP story, so GEI News has gotten some tax data.
This table was obtained from the TaxFoundation.org.
The following two graphs from Wikipedia show investment and corporate tax history.
Personal Income Taxes
The following graphic (which also contains corporate tax rates) was obtained from Wikipedia.
The arrows were added by GEI News. Singapore was not in the graphic.
If taxes are a dominant business driver, as some maintain, the message appears to be: The U.S. should raise personal income tax rates and lower corporate and investment rates. Of course, the rates are not the real story because the loop holes in tax codes make actual taxes paid much different than the rates would indicate, particularly for corporations.