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America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? Paperback – March 23, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The big picture lies in the sharp turnaround since 1950 in who pays the taxes. In that year the tax system was gearedf toward broadening membership in the middle-class, America's cushioning class. Since then, the shift towards taxing this sector out of existence has been little less than startling. Among the categories reflecting this turnaround: tax-exemption rates, Social Security levies, total tax-dollar comparisons, and state and local shifts in levies. A thumbnail sketch of taxation's history in the US helps the reader understand the class battle going on beneath the numbers.
The final chapter closes with recommendations for reforms. Most are quite sensible given the gross inequities that currently exist. For example: terminate capital gains preferences and tax this category as income, stop discriminating certain preferential categories of income from others, terminate tax-exempt securities, et. al. That corporate income tax should be increased is usually rebutted by claims that the increase will be passed along to the consumer. If so, then why - the authors point out - do corporations so stoutly resist this legislation, preferring instead an excise tax that would most surely be passed along. Good point.Read more ›
This book is the most well argued book I have read about the current demise of the middle class in the U.S. After reading it I would definitely have to say that I have more concern about political decisions being made in Washington as the authors illustrate that consistently the politicians don't do the right thing for the country.
The authors bring up several concerns
1. Middle class demise via outsourcing of manufacturing to lower cost areas
2. Growing disparity of wealth (the rich own more in % terms)
3. The outsourcing of the `HIGH TECH JOBS' that are to be the savior of the country.
4. Commentary about various social programs set up and how ineffective they are.
In conclusion I would say this book was extremely well researched and I therefore give KUDOS to the authors. While I don't agree with everything they wrote I believe they have put forth an excellent piece of work.
My main contention with the book is that it focuses on the demise of manufacturing and low-end jobs, along with some high tech. The U.S. is expensive from a labor perspective. As we have outsourced much of our manufacturing we have been able to purchase products at cheaper prices in the U.S.. Imagine what some products would cost if we were paying for labor that was, in some cases, 10x higher than current wages in developing countries? NOWHERE in the book do the authors mention the BENEFIT to our standard of living because we can buy more with our dollars than we would be able to do so otherwise. In general, this book is WAY to the left so reader beware.
My background is a B.S. in Acct., an MBA in finance and current interests in economic and social policy development so I found this to be quite an interesting read.
In the 80's, as the budget deficits soared beyond anyone's worst nightmare, something had to be done to mask the true size of the monster. The result? A spike in the "payroll taxes" used to pay for Social Security and Medicare! While technically "off budget" and held in trust, the shell game used these receipts to disguise the growing deficits by lumping them in with other tax revenue. Oh yeah...the wealthy don't pay this tax on the vast majority of their income.
Barlett and Steele do a very passable job of explaining the shell game that has been used to lead Americans down the primrose path while transferring an ever greater share of our nations wealth to the very few at the expense of the rest of us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed reading and learning what is rarely disclosed in the media, whether in print or on network, cable or radio. Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 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