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March 2, 2024 

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TARIFF: A tax that's usually on imports, but occasionally (very rarely) on exports. This is one form of trade barrier that's intended to restrict imports into a country. Unlike nontariff barriers and quotas which increase prices and thus revenue received by domestic producers, a tariff generates revenue for the government. Most pointy-headed economists who spend their waking hours pondering the plight of foreign trade contend that the best way to restrict trade, if that's what you want to do, is through a tariff.

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CONSUMPTION TAX: A tax on consumer's spending for goods, services and the other stuff they buy. One sort of consumption tax is the sales tax. Some politicians and balding, bespectacled economists argue that the current income tax system should be replaced with a consumption tax. This means any income that's saved wouldn't be taxed. The idea behind a consumption tax is to encourage saving, which is then used for investment, which then promotes economic growth. Such a tax would be easily implemented (you get a deduction for saving on the current income tax form), but it would tend to be a regressive tax hitting the poor harder than the wealthy.

     See also | consumption | tax | sales tax | income tax | saving | investment | economic growth | regressive tax |


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STABLE EQUILIBRIUM

Equilibrium that is restored if disrupted by an external force. Most economic models have equilibrium that is stable, reflecting the observation that the real world adapts to changes and maintains a fair degree of stability. The alternative to a stable equilibrium is an unstable equilibrium.

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