|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
For readers who have ever had the sneaking suspicion that they're being shafted, the latest book from this Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team ( America: What Went Wrong? ) provides the facts, figures, names and anecdotes to prove it. Their goal is to show how all those abstract terms bandied about on the Sunday morning talk shows affect the average taxpayer, particularly anyone whose family income is between, say, $25,000 and $150,000. Wealthy individuals squirrel away money through tax-free bonds, charitable-donations deductions and racehorses, among other write-offs; and the wealthiest corporations benefit from foreign tax credits, deductions for estimated worth of brand names and even the writing-off of interest on loans taken out to pay their stockholders (Weren't stockholders supposed to share both profits and losses?). All of which, the authors note with jackhammer regularity, leaves Joe and Jane Shmoe holding the tab. The authors are bipartisan in their apportionment of blame, rounding up not only the usual Republican presidential suspects but also Democrats like LBJ (whose "unified budget" amounted to a grand-scale doctoring of the books), Dan Rostenkowski (superannuated Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) and even independent Ross Perot (whose tax-free income in 1991 was somewhere between $18 and $87 million). Their "modest proposal" on reforming the tax system is indeed that: one based largely on eliminating deductions and making all income--no matter how earned--equally taxable. Barlett and Steele's greatest achievement, though, is to have painstakingly translated mountains of often deliberately obscure material, thereby making their book a dream for those who've never quite grasped what government, corporations and the wealthiest few are doing--and a nightmare for those who have and want to keep that knowledge to themselves.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Us middle-class schlemiels, that's who!" But that answer to the title's question is not all that informative, so Barlett and Steele, tax reporters for 25 years and authors of the 1992 bestseller, America: What Went Wrong?, tell us who doesn't pay and how they don't. Two systems of taxation have developed in the U.S. since the 1950s, they say, one for wealthy individuals and corporations, the other for everybody else. In the six subsequent chapters, they prove two-tiered taxation's a fact by discussing one rich stiff's tax dodge after another, from preferential capital gains rates to multinational corporate transfer-pricing to the tax court system, and they demonstrate that to those responsible for tax law (guys named Rostenkowski, Dole, Gephardt, etc.) money doesn't talk, it orders. After all the dismaying federal news, Barlett and Steele tell us about "The Unfairest Taxes of All": local and state government levies (on real estate, sales, income, etc.), which, driven by federal mandates upon states and municipalities, have risen faster and more inequitably than federal taxes. Barlett and Steele maintain fair taxation is a real possibility, and they make a serious "Modest Proposal" for reform that eventually, but hardly exclusively, does indeed depend upon real modesty, i.e., spending cuts. But popular political shoving will be necessary to achieve tax fairness. Superb investigative journalism. Ray Olson
Enjoyed reading and learning what is rarely disclosed in the media, whether in print or on network, cable or radio. Read morePublished 22 months ago by cbcruiser
Pulitzer prize winning research goes into this book presenting a history of taxes in America and the effects of different tax laws. Read morePublished on December 29, 2012 by Randi Wickliff
Thanks to Occupy Wall Street and the near total collapse of the world financial system in 2007-9 people are talking about the problem of growing economic inequality. Read morePublished on October 17, 2012 by J. Colbert
While the book is dated, the information within show the horrible underbelly of the American Tax system and how the corporations and wealthy exploit it for gain, such as hiring... Read morePublished on July 30, 2012 by Boardgamer, PHD
i've read this guys other book on the great american tax dodge and there are so many errors and just flat out bizarre assertions that I couldn't even imagine giving any credibility... Read morePublished on December 29, 2011 by J. M Ullman
This is the third book that I have recently read and reviewed dealing with the U.S. tax system, the others being "Free Lunch" and "Perfectly Legal. Read morePublished on January 1, 2011 by George Fulmore
AMERICA -- WHO REALLY PAYS THE TAXES? by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, is an involving, well-researched, and very well-written book. Read morePublished on September 30, 2010 by Patricia
This would be an interesting read if there were any truth to it. It took me about 15 minutes to disprove the theories presented herein. Read morePublished on July 14, 2008 by S. Scott