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on October 10, 2012
Another terrific tome from Steve! No nonsense revelations about what it means to be fair when it comes to the government confiscating our earnings based on success. Steve lays out exactly what is "fair" and why - a flat tax, each person with "skin in the game".

Our current tax code punishes those who work hard while it rewards those who sit back and contibute nothing but an outstretched hand asking for more. The achievers who build things, hire people and make the wheels of the economy spin and produce are bearing the burden of almost half of the "takers". Romney and Ryan need to carry this book around and read it outloud at their rallies!
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on October 17, 2012
Stephen Moore, Senior Economics writer at the WSJ and frequent collaborator with Art Laffer, has published a timely reminder of the supply-side policies that are absolutely essential if the US is to escape the current economic morass. Supply-side economics can be distilled down to the ineluctable premise that 'incentives matter' from a behavioral standpoint. The result, as Art Laffer is fond of stating, is that the more you tax something, the less you are likely to get of it. A stunningly simple concept that is hard for the average liberal to understand because it requires counterintuitive, second-derivative thinking (lowering tax rates can actually increase revenues by growing the pie!). The problem of voter susceptibility to self-defeating economic policies, based on first-derivative reasoning, was brilliantly detailed by Bryan Caplan in his 2007 book, "The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies." Caplan posits that voters are irrational and have systematically biased ideas concerning economics and specifically the "anti-market bias" that Obama is leveraging with his tired 'fairness' rhetoric. It is poisonously self-destructive and emblematic of the 'liberal paradox,' whereby policies meant to help the poor and disenfranchised actually wind-up hurting those very same constituencies. Fortunately, we have a live "A/B" test taking place right now in the US, via our federalist system, with some states lowering taxes to attract business while others - California most notably - look to commit financial suicide by raising the top marginal rate to over 13%. To use my favorite quote/analogy from Laffer & Moore's "Rich States, Poor States" (2nd Edition): "Robin Hood had a progressive stealing structure. You recognize the model don't you? Doesn't it sound like the California Government? How long would it take you to learn not to go through the forest?" The answer, from businesses and "the rich" if Prop 30 passes, will be "not very."
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on October 29, 2012
All around us are examples of state governments and individual localities in America going broke, and being unable to pay off their debts. Yet our federal government continues to run up its bills and ratchet up its level of borrowing. The net product of our government's duplicity, chicanery, and money printing will be a citizenry without a sustainable future. We will, eventually, bring the third world to our shores. We are all on the hook about 50 grand for the debts our politicians have taken out in our name, and all we have is bankruptcy to show for it. Enter Stephen Moore, one of the brightest stars in the field of economics, and a guy that President Obama completely ignored when he said that economists on both sides agree with his policies. That's a complete joke, and Mr. Obama would be wise to make a phonecall to Thomas Sowell before making such a risible statement. But Moore as well has been a consistent, ingenious, and well-spoken critic of statism over the years and his television appearances--along with this text and another Encounter Books publication---illustrates that he is a man who understands perfectly the current dysfunction that is the state's relationship with our finances. This book is in keeping with the one he wrote in 2010 with Art Laffer in terms of its indict of pseudo-Keynesian over-spending in bad times and then our present over-spending and money borrowing in good times. When will we balance our budget? Never, unless the left is removed from power. Who's the Fairest of Them All? is brief but the perfect criticism of a dissolute age. It's a mere 120 or so pages but Moore's analysis is devoid of fluff. His chapters reveal what REAL fairness is and that forced equality can lead to total poverty. I agree with him about the flat tax and probably enjoyed Chapter 4 the most as it reveals which citizens are the ones that really pay the taxes in America. I certainly hope that he's wrong about a 76% tax rate being in our nation's future though, but after a few decades of tax, borrow, and spend the federocracy will have no one left to steal from...except us.
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on January 20, 2014
In arguing the case for supply-side economics and lower tax rates, the book brings a lot of useful and interesting statistics, building them into a cogent case. The many tables, charts, and graphs are much welcomed, and illustrate the book's points nicely. Moore's writing isnot particularly eloquent - not that it aims to be, since his case rests primarily on the facts. What is distressing, however, is the utter lack of proofing or editing in this relatively short text (122 pages). These errors are not limited to mere misspellings or other nuisances that have little impact on the book's argument. For example, on page 70, in arguing the importance of small businesses as employers, Moore states that "Small businesses create 70 percent of new jobs." Yet the citation is an unfinished footnote which reads "citation needed: 70% of new jobs small business" - a note the author left to himself while writing the book reminding himself to research this point. Very, very sloppy to leave that in the final version of the book. Another similarly sloppy mistake is found on page 102. Here Moore cites the reduction of income taxes in the 1920s and parallel rise in tax revenue as proof of the validity of supply-side economics. But in the chart he uses to illustrate, the figures are all mislabeled: tax revenue is shown as the tax rate, and vice versa. According to the chart in the book, Calvin Coolidge make an unprecedented tax hike rather than dramatic tax cuts. Again, very sloppy and just one more example of the lack of editing.
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on December 7, 2012
No joke, I actually did send President Obama a copy of this book along with essays from Thomas Sowell and Milton Freesman regarding how tax cuts increase revenues. I just hope he reads them as this is a simple and concise book that does a great job of explaining why lower taxes always increase revenues, every time! What do you get the most powers man in the world for Christmas? A book that explains how to increase revenues to the government without killing the economy.
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on March 7, 2013
Chock-full of color charts and graphs, this book is an easy-reading primer on historical tax policies and their economic results.

Chpter 2 should be required reading for every American -- I'm teaching it as part of civics at the 6th grade level.

Digging our way out of the current economic mess is not going to be painless or pretty, but it is possible. Moore's prescription is a flatter, fairer tax system with an end to popular deductions and a massive reduction of tax rates, combined with the eliminiation of corporate and estate taxes.

Written before President Obama's 2012 re-election, it's doubtful now whether this prescription will be heeded.

This book is great to read after David Wessel's "Red Ink" -- a book on the who's who in the Federal budget and how we got into this mess. Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget I recommend you read both.
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on December 19, 2012
Stephen Moore’s work is engaging with clearly articulated, easy to follow points backed up by data. Thomas Sowell like writing style. Political rhetoric and agenda matter. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on economic outcome, social justice, and equality but not their own facts. Good book that will fall on deaf ears for 53% of the electorate.
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on March 19, 2013
Unless you've been living under a rock your whole life, you're probably aware that tax policy is at the core of most arguments coming out of Washington D.C. If you've ever dived into the subject, you've probably found yourself sucked into a confusing hodgepodge of tax claims that contradict each other. Who's telling the truth? The first step to discovering the truth is to realize that taxes are complicated, and therefore, nobody really knows what they're talking about. The second step is to buy this book.

"Who's the Fairest of Them All?" by Stephen Moore takes on some of the most common tax beliefs in the political landscape and debunks them with facts. Some of the questions this book addresses include the following:

1) Are the rich paying a lower tax rate than the middle class?

This was a common claim made during the 2012 presidential election, and continues to be a favorite among demagogues. But what do the facts say? Mr. Moore cites a study from the left-leaning Tax Policy Center that shows the top 0.1% of taxpayers pay 27.9% of their income in federal taxes, the top 1% pay 26.1% in federal taxes, and the middle 20% (or the middle class) paid 13.4% of their income to the federal government. [1]

Are there other studies that support this? Yes. The Congressional Budget Office also released a study showing similar numbers: the top 1% paid 28.9% of their income in federal taxes, the top 20% paid 23.2%, and the middle class paid 11.1%. [2]

2) Are the rich getting richer while the poor are getting poorer?

Mr. Moore cites a study from the National Tax Journal showing growth for each income group between 1979 and 2007. According to the study, the poorest 20% saw an increase of 26.4% in income and benefits, the middle class saw a 36.9% increase, and the top 5% saw a 63% increase. [3] This study shows that every income group got wealthier. If you're still bothered by the idea that the wealthy see bigger gains than lower income groups, Mr. Moore has an explanation behind the numbers. (For example, if you adjust for the number of people living in each household who are working, two-thirds of the income "gap" disappears.)

3) What's the correlation between cutting taxes and revenue?

Finally, Mr. Moore argues the economic benefits of the four major tax cuts in the past century: The Harding-Coolidge tax cuts in the 1920s, the Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts in 1960s, the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980s, and the Bush tax cuts in the 2000s. A central theme in this book is that not only do federal revenues paid by the rich go up after tax cuts because of beneficial changes in behavior, but their share of federal taxes paid also go up. For instance, he explains that after the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, federal revenue increased by $700 billion between 2003 and 2007. [4] Details on each tax cut can be found near the end of the book, with information that can be easily fact checked.

While short, this book is packed with useful information that you may refer back to. This is one of the few books I've read twice because of the bundle of useful information inside. If you want to prepare for your next debate on taxes with the facts on your side, then this is the book to read.

Citations:
[1]: Tax Policy Center. Average Effective Tax Rates Under Current Law, By Cash Income Percentile 2009. (Aug. 2009)
[2]: Congressional Budget Office. The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009. (Jul. 2012)
[3]: Burkhauser, Larrimore, and Simon. A Second Opinion on the Economic Health of the Middle Class. National Tax Journal. (Mar. 2012)
[4]: Tax Policy Center. Historical Federal Receipt and Outlay Summary. (Apr. 2012)
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on November 24, 2012
If one has not read books which Mr Moore authored or co-authored with Art Laffer, this book
will serve you well. If you have read those excellent books, this is a good, quick refresher.
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on December 19, 2012
Mr. Moore has authored an excellent study of the affects of taxation on the economy. Unlike Paul Krugman, Mr. Moore provides facts that support his analysis of the adverse affects taxation and government spending have on the economy. The book clearly documents the lie about "the rich must pay their fair share." They already are and to continue use taxation as a redistributionist sword will only prolong and deepen the current economic tragedy!
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