Many economists reckon the fear is simply due the dire state of the world economy and expectation of paltry growth for years to come. Others reckon it's exaggerated due to the overvaluation of conventional assets from super-easy monetary policy and quantitative easing everywhere.
Yet worries about a political backlash to stabilize inequality are intertwined with growth worries.
Although IMF studies show higher taxes and redistribution are generally benign in terms of growth impact, uncertainty about how those policies are implemented and "future game rules" holds back investment today, said SEB chief economist Robert Berqvist.
With the 'effective' tax rate paid by U.S. firms having fallen some 18 percentage points below the statutory 37 percent rate, there may be good reason to fret on that score.
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Paolini at Pictet pointed to G-20-led initiatives to clamp down on aggressive corporate tax avoidance—such as recent 'tax inversion' M&A activity in which U.S. pharma firms target Irish-based peers to avail themselves of super-low Irish taxes.
And a forecast rise in the effective U.S. corporate tax rate by 3 percentage points over the coming years as a result of these measures could lower profit growth by one percent a year, he estimates.
To that, add pressure for income rebalancing that will crimp corporate profits further. Higher minimum wage proposals are on the table in the United States, Britain and Germany and could eventually halt the decade-long decline in real U.S. wages.
The ultimate pincer movement by the authorities would be to find ways to tax unproductive cash holdings themselves. Zero interest rates are already doing much of the work on that score and negative rates are no longer taboo.
But the fact that cash continues to pile up regardless shows the depth of the concern that change is at hand. "Business conditions are about to become harsher," Paolini said.