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10 Excellent Reasons Not to Hate Taxes
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2008
I am not sure you can find more than a few people in this country who actually like taxes and would be willing to voluntarily pay more in taxes. As a result, there is a lot to disagree with in this book, which is a series of well written essays on the need to restructure the tax system we have now.

I admit that there were several essays that I did agree with, such as continuing the estate tax, and quite a few I didn't agree with. Of the ten essays, I am sure everyone will have their own particular "blend" of things to like and dislike. Either way, the book will provide a lot of material for discussion of the current broken tax system and how we should change it. And, the one thing I think most reasonable people can agree on is the need to overhaul our current system. Reading this book only reminded me of just how broken the system is.

My rating represents 3 stars for content and 5 stars for the quality of the writing.
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VINE VOICEon January 30, 2008
Tax and spend liberals" was a term that gained popularity in the Reagan era. It implied that taxes raised would be spent ineffectually and inequitably. In "10 Excellent Reasons Not to Hate Taxes" ten authors writing ten essays demonstrate how taxes in the past have actually fueled our economy and have been wisely spent and more equitably distributed.

For those who know little about taxes, progressive, regressive, personal, payroll or corporate, this book provides an excellent explanation of what many people may have heard without completely understanding. It also explains the alternative minimum tax which was designed to make the wealthy pay their fair share was never adjusted for inflation is now hitting upper middle class people with a substantial tax burden that was never intended for them.

Another essay describes taxation as a moral, biblical obligation rooted in the Book of Genesis. The author's contention is that reducing government to the most minimal of services will NOT be offset by faith-based initiatives. Greed will win out over charity every time preventing people from reaching their "divinely inspired potential." On the other hand, tax "write-offs" allow a high level of charity to be maintained.

One of the most damaging misconceptions about taxes and big government, explains another, is that taxes will stifle economic growth by crowding out personal investment. He points out that taxes fairly collected and distributed actually promote economic growth because government spends money on science, education, transportation, infrastructure and health care, which is an investment in the future of our country. Our dams, national parks, and interstate highway system attest to that. The greatest taxation during the 1950's and 60's, where the wealthiest paid the highest percentage of taxes, brought about an economic growth explosion that also created a viable and thriving middle class.

This book paints a compelling picture of how taxes ensure the very fabric of an orderly society, how pollution taxes will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, how taxes provide economic opportunity for everyone and narrows the divide by race and wealth, the haves, and the have-nots. The end of tax breaks for corporations, or welfare for the wealthy, will actually contribute to an economically vibrant community where those taxes will maintain flourishing businesses, good libraries and schools. Equally important are estate taxes which are challenged only by the wealthiest families in the country, and who have the most to gain by its elimination. Not one estate or farm has been lost to estate taxes-not one!

As Stephanie Greenwood concludes, the debate about taxes involves two very important questions: "what kind of society do we want? And how are we going to pay for it?" Both questions are at the "root of our most deeply held beliefs."

There are ten excellent reasons for buying this book that can fit into your pocket. If for no other reason, buy it because the sales tax on the book might benefit another American.

Also recommended:

Holmes, Stephen, & Sunstein, Cass, "The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes." (Warning: Rather dry).

Johnston, David Cay, "Perfectly Legal." (Phenomenal. It will really open your eyes).

Johnston, David Cay, "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bills)." (Equally phenomenal).
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on July 25, 2009
Duh: There's a liberal bent to these essays. Not just that, but regarding which ones were chosen.

Because this book IS a collection of essays . . . I didn't understand that. There is an introduction by D. Johnston and everything is edited by S. Greenwood, but the 10 essays all have different authors, sometimes a pair of authors.

The essays are mostly user-friendly and non-technical. Also, they were apparently written for this volume especially: they do not seem to have been collected from periodicals, newspapers, and so forth.

But it's a pretty good book for the stated purpose: you'll come out with a much deeper appreciation of the necessity of taxes beyond just "they help build schools and roads." My favorite was the last: "Taxes fuel democracy."

Note that this is also a very short book: about 125 pages of readable text. Plenty of citations in the footnotes at the back, too, in case you need to go to the source data for a class paper.
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on March 18, 2008
Interesting read on various tax considerations. Contradicts 40 years of hype and deliberate misleading frames.
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