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Friday, August 26, 2005

Book Review

I recently read The Great American Tax Dodge by Donald Barlett and James Steele, about the epidemic of income tax evasion taking place in this country. This isn't the first book by these authors I have read; long ago, I read America: What Went Wrong, an earlier book about the decline of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., and along with it, the middle class.

The Great American Tax Dodge was a good book, but not as good as America: What Went Wrong, in my opinion. It provides a lot of facts and makes a compelling case for how troublesome and costly tax evasion is (as if we didn't know that the rich get away with this already), but it seemed to be just a little bit off, as if they were running with a slight limp. The had some oddly placed opinions in there, like how bad they think Roth IRAs are, that didn't really tie into the whole tax evasion story. Their recommendations for a better income tax system are sound and sound like what I have been saying for a long time, and as a result, will never happen.

There are two things we need to abolish in this country: Congress giving special tax breaks to very narrow interests, and local governments auctioning off tax breaks to companies in an attempt to get them to relocate. Unfortunately, it seems like it would take constitutional amendments to ban these things. I fear that true reform is a long way off, if in fact it will ever come.


At 1:48 PM, August 30, 2005, Blogger Hammer said...

Have you read David Cay Johnston's Perfectly Legal? I learned a lot from that book. Sounds similar to the Barlett/Steele book.

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