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The Benefit and The Burden

Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take

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Hardcover published by Simon & Schuster (Simon & Schuster)

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About This Book
A thoughtful and surprising argument for American tax reform, arguably the most overdue political debate facing the nation, from one of the most respected political and economic thinkers, advisers, and writers of our time.

The United States Tax Code has undergone no serious reform since 1986. Since then, loopholes, exemptions, credits, and deductions have distorted its clarity, increased its inequity, and frustrated our ability to govern ourselves.

At its core, any tax system is in place to raise the revenue needed to pay the government’s bills. But where that revenue should come from raises crucial questions: Should our tax code be progressive, with the wealthier paying more than the poor, and if so, to what extent? Should we tax income or consumption or both? Of the various ideas proposed by economists and politicians—from tax increases to tax cuts, from a VAT to a Fair Tax—what will work and won’t? By tracing the history of our own tax system and by assessing the way other countries have solved similar problems, Bartlett explores the surprising answers to all of these questions, giving a sense of the tax code’s many benefits—and its inevitable burdens.

Tax reform will be a major issue debated in the years ahead. Growing budget deficits and the expiration of various tax cuts loom. Reform, once a philosophical dilemma, is turning into a practical crisis. By framing the various tax philosophies that dominate the debate, Bartlett explores the distributional, technical, and political advantages and costs of the various proposals and ideas that will come to dominate America’s political conversation in the years to come.

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A thoughtful and surprising argument for American tax reform, arguably the most overdue political debate facing the nation, from one of the most respected political and economic thinkers, advisers, and writers of our time.

The United States Tax Code has undergone no serious reform since 1986. Since then, loopholes, exemptions, credits, and deductions have distorted its clarity, increased its inequity, and frustrated our ability to govern ourselves.

At its core, any tax system is in place to raise the revenue needed to pay the government’s bills. But where that revenue should come from raises crucial questions: Should our tax code be progressive, with the wealthier paying more than the poor, and if so, to what extent? Should we tax income or consumption or both? Of the various ideas proposed by economists and politicians—from tax increases to tax cuts, from a VAT to a Fair Tax—what will work and won’t? By tracing the history of our own tax system and by assessing the way other countries have solved similar problems, Bartlett explores the surprising answers to all of these questions, giving a sense of the tax code’s many benefits—and its inevitable burdens.

Tax reform will be a major issue debated in the years ahead. Growing budget deficits and the expiration of various tax cuts loom. Reform, once a philosophical dilemma, is turning into a practical crisis. By framing the various tax philosophies that dominate the debate, Bartlett explores the distributional, technical, and political advantages and costs of the various proposals and ideas that will come to dominate America’s political conversation in the years to come.

Product Details
Hardcover (288 pages)
Published: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781451646191
Other books byBruce Bartlett
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    Wrong on Race
    The Democratic Party's Buried Past
    In Wrong on Race, Bruce Bartlett sets the record straight on a hidden past that many Democrats would rather see swept under the carpet. Ranging from the founding of the Republic through to today, it rectifies the unfair perceptions of America's two national parties. While Nixon's infamous "Southern Strategy" is constantly referenced in the media, less well remembered are Woodrow Wilson's segregation of the entire Federal civil service; FDR's appointment of a member of the KKK to the Supreme Court; John F. Kennedy's apathy towards civil rights legislation;  and the ascension of Robert Byrd, who is current President pro tempore of the Senate, third in line in the presidential line of succession, and a former member of the KKK. For the last seventy years, African Americans have voted en masse for one party, with little in the end to show for it. Is it time for the pendulum to swing the other way? With the Republican Party furiously engaged in pre-2008 soul searching, this exhaustively researched, incisively written exposé will be an important and compelling component of that debate as we head towards November.

    The New American Economy

    The New American Economy
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    As a domestic policy advisor to Ronald Reagan, Bruce Bartlett was one of the originators of Reaganomics, the supply-side economic theory that conservatives have clung to for decades. In The New American Economy, Bartlett goes back to the economic roots that made Impostor a bestseller and abandons the conservative dogma in favor of a policy strongly based on what’s worked in the past. Marshalling compelling history and economics, he explains how economic theories that may be perfectly valid at one moment in time under one set of circumstances tend to lose validity over time because they are misapplied under different circumstances. Bartlett makes a compelling, historically-based case for large tax increases, once anathema to him and his economic allies. In The New American Economy, Bartlett seeks to clarify a compelling and way forward for the American economy.

    The Spurs of James J. Wheat, Pioneer Collector

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