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Taxing Ourselves, 4th Edition: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes Paperback – February 8, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0262693639 ISBN-10: 0262693631 Edition: fourth edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; fourth edition edition (February 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262693631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262693639
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Citizens should read Taxing Ourselves before casting their votes in local, state, and national elections. Politicians should read Taxing Ourselves before taxing us." Robert C. Schiming Business Library Review



"The newest edition of Taxing Ourselves provides a comprehensive treatment of the issues and a fresh look at recent developments in US tax policy. Using the clear language that has been a hallmark of earlier editions, Slemrod and Bakija lead the citizen taxpayer through the jungle of tax provisions and jargon to an understanding of how the tax system affects our lives, how we might do better, and what roadblocks stand in the way."--Alan J. Auerbach, Robert D. Burch Professor of Economics and Law, and Director, Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, University of California, Berkeley

(Alan Auerbach)

"A major impediment to rational tax reform is that most politicians, journalists, and citizens fail to grasp the key issues. Even those who understand much about taxes may be naïve about tax policy. With Taxing Ourselves, all can stop making excuses and start making sense."--Louis Kaplow, Finn M.W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics, Harvard

(Louis Kaplow)

"This book is a most timely and thoughtful discussion of the federal tax system and current proposals for its reform. Thorough, objective, and up-to-date in its analysis and set in the historical/political context, this book is a must-read for every citizen and student who wishes enlightenment on one of the most vital and controversial issues of the day."--Peggy B. Musgrave, University of California, Santa Cruz

(Peggy Musgrave)

"A major impediment to rational tax reform is that most politicians, journalists, and citizens fail to grasp the key issues. Even those who understand much about taxes may be naïve about tax policy. With Taxing Ourselves, all can stop making excuses and start making sense." Louis Kaplow , Finn M.W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics, Harvard



'A major impediment to rational tax reform is that most politicians, journalists, and citizens fail to grasp the key issues. Even those who understand much about taxes may be naïve about tax policy. With Taxing Ourselves, all can stop making excuses and start making sense." Louis Kaplow, Finn M. W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics, Harvard University



Praise for earlier editions: "A fair-minded exposition of a politically loaded subject." Kirkus Reviews



Praise for earlier editions: "An excellent book." Jeff Madrick New York Times



Praise for earlier editions: "This truly splendid book effectively outlines most issues related to a major topic of concern today. Tax policy and options for badly needed tax reform are thoroughly and engagingly dealt with by mixing serious debate with supporting anecdotes. The book is well written and carefully argued." E. D. Craig Choice



"The newest edition of Taxing Ourselves provides a comprehensive treatment of the issues and a fresh look at recent developments in US tax policy. Using the clear language that has been a hallmark of earlier editions, Slemrod and Bakija lead the citizen taxpayer through the jungle of tax provisions and jargon to an understanding of how the tax system affects our lives, how we might do better, and what roadblocks stand in the way." Alan J. Auerbach , Robert D. Burch Professor of Economics and Law, and Director, Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, University of California, Berkeley



"This book is a most timely and thoughtful discussion of the federal tax system and current proposals for its reform. Thorough, objective, and up-to-date in its analysis and set in the historical/political context, this book is a must-read for every citizen and student who wishes enlightenment on one of the most vital and controversial issues of the day." Peggy B. Musgrave , University of California, Santa Cruz

About the Author

Joel Slemrod is Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Ross School of Business, Professor of Economics, and Chair of the Economics Department at the University of Michigan. He is the coauthor, with Jon Bakija, of Taxing Ourselves, now in its fourth edition from the MIT Press.

More About the Author

Joel Slemrod is a professor of economics at the University of Michigan, where he also serves as Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research, an interdisciplinary research center housed at the Business School. In 1983-84 he was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution and in 1984-85 he was the senior economist for tax policy at the President's Council of Economic Advisers. He's been at Michigan since 1987.

Professor Slemrod has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and several foreign governments, as well as to Marriott International and Merck & Co., Inc. He has been a member of the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Advisers, and has testified before the Congress on domestic and international taxation issues. From 1992 to 1998 Professor Slemrod was editor of the National Tax Journal, and from 2006 to 2010 was co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics. In 2005-6, he was president of the National Tax Association. He is co-author with Jon Bakija of Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes, whose fifth edition will be published in 2013, and with Len Burman of Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know, published in 2012. In 2012 he received from the National Tax Association its most prestigious award, the Daniel M. Holland Medal for distinguished lifetime contributions to the study and practice of public finance.

Customer Reviews

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Highly readable and informative for both professionals and the "average persons".
Cheng Eng Aun
Very solid and unbiased treatment of all aspects of current tax policies as well as proposals to reform the system.
S. Kurbanov
I liked this book enough that I picked it up and read it again a year after my class ended.
Leigh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dan on October 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book as a text for a masters-level tax policy class taught by the author, Joel Slemrod. Don't let this mislead you, the book is not written as a text, you will not find many graphs if any, and the language is clear and concise. The title tells you what it is: a citizen's guide.

Maybe you don't think tax policy makes for beach reading, but this book is different. Additionally, Prof. Slemrod is fair and not ideological, so tax policy and suggested reforms are given their proper treatment in here. This book is NOT designed to be used in a screaming match with your relatives at Thanksgiving. You may also find yourself questioning your own opinions as you work through it, and reinforcing other opinions with strong facts and economic argument.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cheng Eng Aun on December 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
In this book, Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija had presented a very comprehensive overview of the U.S. taxation. Topics covered include the interaction between taxation and various economic variables such as growth rate, income distribution and distortion of behavior; the problem of "fairness" as qualitative measures not captured by economic analysis; the trade-off between efficiency, enforceability and equity; and non-partisan analyses of the current tax system and proposals. This is not a book that provides a solution or answer; rather, it seeks to demonstrate the implications of the current tax system and various proposals of reforms. The authors had made use of various mathematical analyses and estimates on taxation, and presented the results in jargon-free language. Highly readable and informative for both professionals and the "average persons".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Kurbanov on December 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a great overview of the tax system and problems that the U.S. are facing now. Very solid and unbiased treatment of all aspects of current tax policies as well as proposals to reform the system. Although it's only 300 pages, the book manages to cover much of taxation theory and effectively evaluate the U.S. tax system and reform proposals giving the reader an opportunity to grasp the big picture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Since the days of Ronald Reagan, tax policy has dominated economic policy discussions in the U.S. The most significant laws enacted during each presidency since then have been tax laws. Meanwhile, talk of fundamental overhaul continues - eg. a flat tax, a VAT, etc. (Major advantages of the latter would be greater simplicity; the major disadvantage - they would be regressive.)

The most common complaint about taxes is that they are too high. This complaint reflects a great deal of self-interest. Since the Bush tax cuts in the early 2000s we've run large budget deficits, financed by borrowing and risking high interest rates and high inflation. Dissatisfaction with taxes also arises from those antagonistic against allowing government to play an active role in society, or believing that government is wasting money. Another problem - typical Fortune 500 firms spend over $5 million/year on tax matters; overall, the total amounts to about 10 cents for every dollar raised and about $40 billion/year for large corporations. Still another - a great deal of cheating on taxes occurs - the IRS estimates about 18% of personal and corporate income tax liability is not paid due to tax evasion.

Taxes affect the rewards obtained from saving, working hard, taking a second job, investing in education or training. Clearly, objective information is required for intelligent judgments.

Interestingly, the authors find that the U.S. has lower taxes than most comparable countries. Per OECD 2009 data, we rank third lowest (24.4% tax revenues/GDP) of its 34 members - eg. South Korea at 25.5%, Japan at 26.9%, Germany at 37.3%. Major sources of the difference - we lack a VAT.

Corporate tax receipts in the U.S. are down from 30% in the 1950s to 10% now.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a glum look at today's economy, but factual. I learned a lot. Quick delivery and book was new still in wrapper.even though I got it at a used price.
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By g.a. mumey on April 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding discussion of U.S. tax policy, and I unequivocally recommend it. Having said that, let me add some constructive comments:
1. A fresh edition would be welcome.
2. There is a strong presumption of the correctness of market solutions. While there is mention of externalities, a bit more elaboration on pigovian sumpturary taxes (e.g., carbon tax) would be helpful.
3. There is a general predisposition to treat total gdp as the maximand--and then add that moral judgments must be made with respect to issues such as income distribution. Might it not be better to set an objective function more explicitly inclusive of moral judgment, such as a maximand of median personal income over an extended time.
I have not read all other comments, and if these points have been made (or refuted) before, I apologize to the originator.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In an age where politicians spout off figures left and right that clearly contradict "the other side", being informed about the FACTS is essential. This book is exactly that. It is very fair, and unbiased -- it doesn't start from a political position and interpret the facts through that lense. Rather it attempts to take a thorough look at the tax system, and examine the economics of it before drawing any political conclusion. An impressive piece of work.
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