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April 21, 2018 

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SALES TAX: A tax on retail sales. This is major source of revenue for many state and local governments. Because poorer people tend to spend a larger share of their income on stuff covered by sales taxes, it tends to be a regressive tax. To reduce this regressiveness, some state and local governments excluded items like food and medicine.

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FISCAL: Relating to government taxation, spending, or financial matters. The term is most often using in combination with other words, such as fiscal budget, fiscal year, or fiscal policy. In each case, the addition of the term "fiscal" means a connection with government financial matters. Fiscal policy, for example, is policy that makes use of government spending and taxation. Fiscal year is then the standard 12-month period government uses for collecting taxes, appropriating spending, and otherwise tabulating its budget.

     See also | government | fiscal policy | fiscal year | fiscal budget | budget |


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BALANCE ON MERCHANDISE TRADE

A subset of the balance of payments current account that records the difference between the payments received for exports of goods to other nations and the payments made for the imports of goods from other nations. The goods included are physical or tangible goods, but not intangible services. The balance on merchandise trade is thus appropriately divided into merchandise exported and merchandise imported. Two other subsets of the current account include the balance on services and unilateral transfers. The commonly termed balance of trade is the sum of the balance on merchandise trade and the balance on services.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time calling an endless list of 800 numbers trying to buy either a pair of red goulashes with shiny buckles or a handcrafted bird feeder. Be on the lookout for pencil sharpeners with an attitude.
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