We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money

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9780199332243: We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money

We Are Better Than This fundamentally reframes budget debates in the United States. Author Edward D. Kleinbard explains how the public's preoccupation with tax policy alone has obscured any understanding of government's ability to complement the private sector through investment and insurance programs that enhance the general welfare and prosperity of our society at large.

He argues that when we choose how government should spend and tax, we open a window into our "fiscal soul," because those choices are the means by which we express the values we cherish and the regard in which we hold our fellow citizens. Though these values are being diminished by short-sighted decisions to starve government, strategic government spending can directly make citizens happier, healthier, and even wealthier.

Expertly combining the latest economic research with his insider knowledge of the budget process into a simple yet compelling narrative, he unmasks the tax mythologies and false arguments that too often dominate contemporary discourse about budget policies. Large quantities of comparative data are succinctly distilled to situate the United States among its peer countries, so that readers can judge for themselves whether contemporary budget choices really reflect our aspirational fiscal soul.

Kleinbard's presentation takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on economics, finance, law, political science and moral philosophy. He uniquely weaves economic research and moral philosophy together by emphasizing our welfare, not just our national income, and by contrasting the actual beliefs of Adam Smith, a great moral philosopher, with the cartoon version of the man presented by proponents of the most extreme forms of private market triumphalism.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:


Edward D. Kleinbard is the Johnson Professor of Law and Business at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law and a Fellow at The Century Foundation. Prior to these appointments, Professor Kleinbard served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan tax resource to Congress.

Review:


"Packed with powerful data, fresh insights, unassailable analysis, and a set of recommendations that are both economically and politically viable... [A] compelling critique of market triumphalism and the economist who helped to shape it."

Washington Post


"Kleinbard's viewpoint is both moral and farsighted...Kleinbard's ability to make the complexities of fiscal policy comprehensible permeates We Are Better Than This. So does his impatience, even anger, with the partisan sophistry that passes for much of fiscal and economic discussion in Washington... Kleinbard's book presents a challenge and a reproach to the America of recent decades; it's time the challenge was met."

Los Angeles Times


"[A] prolific, witty, and effective polemicist whose new book, We Are Better than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money, is a must-read for anyone who wants to be educated about taxes and social policy."

Fortune Magazine


"Edward Kleinbard knows as much about taxation in America as anyone alive."

Bloomberg Businessweek


"An important message not just for politicians and voters but for the CEOs who frequently argue that our nutty corporate tax code is a (or the) major obstacle to economic growth and job creation in the U.S."

Harvard Business Review


"Like Adam Smith, whom he cites throughout, Kleinbard is a moral philosopher. He sits astride society with tax tables and charts and thinks clearly, with great depth and insight, about what a better society would look like."

Jared Bernstein's On the Economy Blog


"...a well-done progressive take on the expenditure side of fiscal policy."
Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution


"Turning Adam Smith against the hypocrisy of free-marketeers is not the least of the strengths of this solid treatment of a potentially existential issue."
Kirkus Reviews


"This masterpiece of tax, fiscal, and economic policy is richly endowed with philosophical in- sights from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and holds the potential to change our often dogmatic and sometimes toxic public debate over how we tax ourselves and spend our tax dollars into a conversation about how to raise more money with less pain and spend in ways that will produce a happier America."
Tax Notes


"Kleinbard aim[s] for nothing less than to restore the country to spiritual as well as financial health... [A] significant, timely contribution to the debate over the nation's financial future and deserves [a] wide readership."
The New Rambler


"We Are Better Than This is firmly grounded in a sound understanding of politics, Congressional process and fiscal policy, but transcends 'wonkery' to focus on the ends we are trying to achieve as a society. While so many in Washington propound ideological agendas, Edward Kleinbard calls on our better angels to consider the kind of world we want for our communities, for our nation, and for our future generations. He then leads the reader through consideration of the best possible economic policies to get us there, regardless of ideology. Kleinbard recognizes that government and private sector have complementary strengths and weaknesses that can be managed to achieve the best American system."
Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee


"The debate about the role of government is as old as the Republic itself. This is a debate we as a country should be having, and Kleinbard's book is a vigorous discussion of the issues involved. Kleinbard, a respected tax policy scholar and practitioner, is well-equipped for the task, and adds an eloquent voice to the discourse on these important issues."

Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations, and Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury


"Ed Kleinbard has been a superstar tax practitioner, policy advisor and now, scholar. This important book on America's fiscal future shares the lessons of his varied experience. Anyone who cares about the future of federal government spending and taxing will have to carefully consider Kleinbard's arguments. This is an important book because it rises above policy details to grapple with fundamental issues."

Larry Summers, University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University and former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury


"We are certainly better than this, but few people are better than Ed Kleinbard in explaining complicated, important topics in insightful and dare I say even entertaining ways. Ed has excelled in the corporate world, in government, and in academia -- and this book gives us all the benefit of his trenchant mind. If you believe in a brighter future for our country, read this book."

Peter Orszag, Chairman, Public Sector and Financial Strategy and Solutions Groups, Citigroup, and Former Director, U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office


"Invoking Adam Smith's broader vision of a just society, Edward Kleinbard argues passionately for a reformed US fiscal system in which government, financed adequately and in a fairer, more efficient manner, does more of what markets cannot to improve individual welfare. Mustering a vast array of data and economic analysis to support his case, Kleinbard provides an insider's informed perspective to counter the artificial constraints of 'market triumphalism' and point the way forward."

Alan J. Auerbach, Director, Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, University of California, Berkeley


"A prolific, witty, and effective polemicist whose new book, We Are Better than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money, is a must-read for anyone who wants to be educated about taxes and social policy." --Allan Sloan, Fortune Magazine


"Kleinbard offers a comprehensive, bold and authoritative look at the role of government spending and what it means in shaping values in a democratic society."--Get Abstract


"excellent on the revenue side, laying out what a better tax system would look like, challenging perverse tax expenditures, and countering predictable objections about incentives, economic distortions, and fairness." --Barron's


"A number of important recent books have brought broad public attention to rising high-end inequality. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, while the best-known, is merely one entry in this genre. However, until the 2014 publication of Edward Kleinbard's We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money, there had been no comparably prominent and important recent contributions within the tax law or public economics realms addressing low-end inequality ... Kleinbard's book is a tour de force, lucidly explaining a broad range of fiscal, economic, and moral issues in a way that both enriches and informs public discourse. It deserves to be both widely-read and influential." --National Tax Journal


"Edward Kleinbard is an ace mechanic who conveys a deep appreciation of the workings of the US fiscal machine. His wry humor pervades the text, making it more accessible and compelling."

-- Financial Analysts Journal


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We Are Better Than This fundamentally reframes budget debates in the United States. Author Edward D. Kleinbard explains how the public s preoccupation with tax policy alone has obscured any understanding of government s ability to complement the private sector through investment and insurance programs that enhance the general welfare and prosperity of our society at large. He argues that when we choose how government should spend and tax, we open a window into our fiscal soul, because those choices are the means by which we express the values we cherish and the regard in which we hold our fellow citizens. Though these values are being diminished by short-sighted decisions to starve government, strategic government spending can directly make citizens happier, healthier, and even wealthier. Expertly combining the latest economic research with his insider knowledge of the budget process into a simple yet compelling narrative, he unmasks the tax mythologies and false arguments that too often dominate contemporary discourse about budget policies. Large quantities of comparative data are succinctly distilled to situate the United States among its peer countries, so that readers can judge for themselves whether contemporary budget choices really reflect our aspirational fiscal soul. Kleinbard s presentation takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on economics, finance, law, political science and moral philosophy. He uniquely weaves economic research and moral philosophy together by emphasizing our welfare, not just our national income, and by contrasting the actual beliefs of Adam Smith, a great moral philosopher, with the cartoon version of the man presented by proponents of the most extreme forms of private market triumphalism. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780199332243

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We Are Better Than This fundamentally reframes budget debates in the United States. Author Edward D. Kleinbard explains how the public s preoccupation with tax policy alone has obscured any understanding of government s ability to complement the private sector through investment and insurance programs that enhance the general welfare and prosperity of our society at large. He argues that when we choose how government should spend and tax, we open a window into our fiscal soul, because those choices are the means by which we express the values we cherish and the regard in which we hold our fellow citizens. Though these values are being diminished by short-sighted decisions to starve government, strategic government spending can directly make citizens happier, healthier, and even wealthier. Expertly combining the latest economic research with his insider knowledge of the budget process into a simple yet compelling narrative, he unmasks the tax mythologies and false arguments that too often dominate contemporary discourse about budget policies. Large quantities of comparative data are succinctly distilled to situate the United States among its peer countries, so that readers can judge for themselves whether contemporary budget choices really reflect our aspirational fiscal soul. Kleinbard s presentation takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on economics, finance, law, political science and moral philosophy. He uniquely weaves economic research and moral philosophy together by emphasizing our welfare, not just our national income, and by contrasting the actual beliefs of Adam Smith, a great moral philosopher, with the cartoon version of the man presented by proponents of the most extreme forms of private market triumphalism. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780199332243

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