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on March 24, 2013
Dr. Sowell once again dismantles blindly accepted liberal conventional wisdom which unfortunately has even bled into the vernacular of fiscal conservatives forced to defend themselves against the onslaught of specious accusations put forth by ruthless collectivists. Their war of words to hide their own true agenda while mischaracterizing the intent of political opposition will never end. With the help of modern mass media, we have become inundated with false narratives crafted to dupe an intellectually lazy and thus ignorant electorate
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on March 3, 2014
I have read everything I could get my hands on by Thomas Sowell and have not only never been disappointed, but have also never found anything he has written less than excellent. This is another (though smaller than usual) eye-opener.
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on December 19, 2012
This is a concise explanation of a simple but misunderstood concept - that raising tax rates on high earners produces less revenue to the government, stymies economic growth and hurts everyone (especially the poor). Sowell not only gives the economic and historical analysis of the issue itself but also explains the history of the political demagoguery on the issue. It is this demagoguery that has enabled politicians to sell the public on terrible economic policy dressed up as class warfare. This is a short book, but that's one of the things I like about it.
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on December 19, 2012
I must admit that I enjoy Thomas Sowell's articles and his interviews even more. If you want a concise view of his take on tax policy or may have heard of his work and wanted to sample something before jumping into one of his books, which are quite a bit longer and more in depth, then this is a good place to start.
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on March 6, 2014
Okay, this clearly spells out the (false) beliefs about these two economic/political fables. The basic principles of economics that should apply if these were true are explained clearly for the majority of us.

The political and historical basis of where the term came from is addressed in passing (I was surprised to see where these terms came from and how how "common knowledge" of who said them is 180 degrees from reality.)

Gracias,

Glenn
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on February 2, 2013
Even though this is a VERY short book it is typical Dr. Sowell stuff. Complete, well-documented, easy to read, and (gasp) logical ! He does his homework and it shows: over 56 supporting notes in the last four pages. When I sit down to read a Dr. Sowell book it becomes a habit to bring a yellow highlighter to outline the juice lines. Once thru this tiny booklet I was equipped to take on those folks shouting "the Trickle Down Theory does not work" mantra and their zero-sum mentality. I highly recommend this booklet and most of Dr. Sowell's books (full disclosure: I have purchased only 12 of his 30+ books, but I'm working on getting and reading the rest!).
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on December 22, 2012
Thomas Sowell is one of the smartest men out there. Everytime I read his writings I come away with the feeling of how simple he can explain complicated principles. This short essay is really no different from his other works. He lays out a grreat and simple arguement. Read it and you will enjoy.
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on August 22, 2013
An excellent short read that can benefit us all. Thomas Sowell is a national treasure. Sowell separates out the political issue of setting a "soak the rich" rate which is really not closely tied to raising the maximum money with the least damage to the economy. Taxing the rich tends to result in the rich doing things to minimize their tax bill, which can result in less economic activity and growth. The valid purpose of government is to set tax policy and tax rates without the class warfare, but to fund the government in the best way possible for the economy. It is short, so read it twice.
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on December 15, 2012
"Trickle Down Theory and Tax Cuts for the Rich" by Thomas Sowell is a brief, 20-page read that introduces readers to the correlation between tax rates and revenue. The central theme of the book is that lower tax rates change behavior by investors in a way that is beneficial to economic activity, making the correlation between rates and revenue more complicated than if behavior were to be ignored (known as a static analysis).

Whether the purpose of tax increases is to get more revenue from the rich, or to get the rich to pay a greater share of federal revenue, this book provides historical evidence that tax cuts accomplish both. As Mr. Sowell points out in regards to the Coolidge tax cuts of the 1920s, "...hard data show that, in fact, both the amount and the proportion of taxes paid by those whose net income was no higher than $25,000 went down between 1921 and 1929, while both the amount and the proportion of taxes paid by those whose net incomes were between $50,000 and $100,000 went up--and the amount and proportion of taxes paid by those whose net incomes were $100,000 went up even more sharply."

This premise suggests that higher tax rates will achieve the opposite of its intended goal. However, even when considering the extent that the United States economy has changed since the 1920s, Mr. Sowell explains that wealthy investors can more easily dodge tax rates, since "a globalized economy makes overseas investments a readily available alternative to buying tax-exempt bonds domestically." The idea that U.S. tax rates are competing with other countries in terms of tax rates makes today's rates all the more important.

Mr. Sowell sheds light on why tax shelters exist in the first place for those who consider the exploitation of tax loopholes evil or even unpatriotic. He writes in a footnote that "... it was politically beneficial to elected officials, who could attract votes with class-warfare rhetoric and at the same time attract donations from the wealthy by providing an easy escape from actually paying those taxes." While this is historically the case, it's not hard to imagine the same method being used today.

As of this review being written, a compromise to the 2012 year-end fiscal cliff is being discussed by American politicians, with tax rates being the central theme of the negotiations. This book gives the perspective on the supply-side argument of lower tax rates for everyone being the better cure for the economy, rather than soaking the rich with more taxes in an attempt to raise more revenue.

If you enjoy this introduction to taxes and revenue by Thomas Sowell, and would like more information on the effects of the Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush tax cuts on revenue, an excellent follow-up read is "Who's the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America" by economist Stephen Moore. Both books provide numerical evidence on why tax cuts are the right course for the United States. As Mr. Sowell succinctly states: "The facts are unmistakably plain, for those who bother to check the facts."
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on February 23, 2013
I like Sowell. I like the way he writes. I like the ideas he puts forward.
Most of all, I like the perspective he brings to the table. He looks at every problem from multiple angles. He doesn't necessarily come at a problem from the typical direction. He circles the problem, looking at it from different perspectives to see, why is this being said or done, and then why is that being said or done. What is the strength of that argument, and what is the weakness. Why do people think this or that. He gets into the other persons shoes and finds out, where is the flaw in their reasoning coming from. What is its root? A problem should be dealt with at its root, not just its manifestation.
In this book he puts together a very good perspective of what it is that "liberals" misunderstand about taxation and "the wealthy".
I particularly liked his framing of it as, not that we don't want to tax the rich, but that we have to acknowledge that they have options of where there money goes, and what we want to do, is affect their decision making so that that money goes to where it will be most productive. That is, funnel the money to capital investment, etc, by making that investment have better returns than the other options. It should be taxed at a lower rate so that it is more attractive. Otherwise, its all the same, and it may as well go sit somewhere else. The rich will still get richer, but their money will be "doing less" for others.
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