- Paperback: 242 pages
- Publisher: Touchstone; 1st edition (May 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684871149
- ISBN-13: 978-0684871141
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,497,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America 1st Edition
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Adams, an independent scholar affiliated with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., has produced a breezy account of tax revolt in American history, from the Stamp Act to the present day. Although there is scarce opportunity in the book's 242 pages to delve into the details of such pivotal events in early American history as Shay's Rebellion and the collapse of the Federalist Party, Adams does consistently manage to choose those details which best support his thesis that "excessive" taxation is a form of government tyranny. This leads to interesting interpretations of history such as his sympathetic description of the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan as an underground resistance movement against federal tax collectors. Adams also provides a full litany of charges of present-day assaults on liberty by the IRS. There is throughout a certain sense of preaching to the choir, quite understandable given the subject matter. However, those who pick up the book not thoroughly convinced that taxes are at best a necessary evil might welcome more history and less rhetoric. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
In his dedication to Chairman Bill Archer of the House Ways and Means Committee, Adams (For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on Civilization, LJ 3/1/93), a Washington tax consultant, boldly declares his hostility to the prevailing U.S. income tax system. Adams divides U.S. history into five periods, running from Colonial times through the Cold War, and in every segment he argues that excessive taxation constitutes the root cause of all the wars, rebellions, and social turmoil that have beset the American people. The author laments the passing of the concepts of limited government in favor of a massive federal bureaucracy, governmental paternalism, supposedly high taxes, and runaway deficit spending. Adams scarcely conceals his sympathy for this country's long line of tax dodgers and resisters, and observes with equal satisfaction that today America's affluent evaders employ far less violent and more effective means to confound the IRS. A highly partisan yet provocative history of the U.S. tax system and its influence on the American people; recommended for public and academic libraries.?John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Two particular aspects were enjoyable to me. One was how the constitution says taxes should be equal They graduated tax where rich are taxed more is obviously not equal. But since it is popular to tax the rich, no revolt of the masses. Of course the rich don't pay the tax rate the nominally stated in the law. They get loopholes as a result of political contributions. Obama and Romney, as best I remember paid about 22%, a long way from the nominal tax rate for their income -- good tax accountants and lawyers.
Second was how politicians think that simply raising the tax rate will generate more revenue, when it actually generates less. The higher the taxes, the more money spent on: good tax accountants and lawyers, the underground or cash economy, moving overseas (maybe physically moving, or just moving your money).
This book is mostly a lesson in history and it explains in detail how certain taxes came into being and how the American people reacted. Much of the coverage here is old news, like the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, and the protests that led to the American Revolution. But then there are other taxes that are not so well- known, like the tariffs that led to the Civil War in the 1800's. Most people think the Civil War was fought over slavery, but this was only one reason among many. Adams shows how Lincoln deliberately used taxes to antagonize the South, leading ultimately to war, which was exactly what he wanted.
The income tax is the one that most Americans know best, because it's the tax that everyone pays at present. Woodrow Wilson was president when the income tax became law. Officials who passed the tax swore that it would never be greater than a few percentage points and it would never be levied against anyone except the very wealthy. Of course, as everyone knows, this was a blatant lie to sell the plan to the states and to the general public. Once the ability to tax was in place, it was only a matter of a few years before it expanded and grew to several times the original level. Adams talks at length about the deceptions used by politicians to get this and other taxes enacted.
Adams spends most of the book talking about the income tax and possible alternatives to the tax. One part of the book is titled "The tyranny of the income tax, 1913 to 199?". This book was published in 1998. Adams was being very optimistic if he thought the income tax would be a thing of the past only 1 year after he published his book. The use of the question mark shows his optimism that the income tax will be replaced with a different system of taxation at some point in the near future.
This book is a fairly quick read. The print is larger than normal and many of the pages include illustrations, with political cartoons and photos from the past, mocking the government's position on taxation. The cartoons are mostly humorous in nature, and they depict different political figures and other people talking cynically about different taxes and their affects on the people.
Overall, this is a good book about the issue of taxation and rebellion. It's obviously biased against taxes, but author Charles Adams maintains a level of respect throughout, stating some of the facts about taxes and offering up alternatives to the present system. He doesn't resort to name- calling, like some other authors. You can tell that Adams is no friend of taxation, but he basically lets you, the reader, decide for yourself about this difficult issue and how it has affected Americans from the early days of the republic.
While I abhor taxation beyond what is absolutely necessary, I think all the arguments about taxes actually function to distract us from the real thing we should be debating and that is government spending. The problem is that the modern state has so many of us on the receiving end of this or that program that we will resist any program that decreases the increase in our program's spending (let alone any actual cuts). So, when someone proposes ANY cut in spending, those being cut raise a loud resistance effort to defeat it. This is why we try and starve the government by cutting taxes - the hope being that the starved beast will not be able to increase the handouts without limit.
Anyway, this can be an entertaining read. There is a list for further reading and an index. Just don't take everything in here as gospel.