If Americans Really Understood The Income Tax: Uncovering Our Most Expensive Ignorance

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9780813342382: If Americans Really Understood The Income Tax: Uncovering Our Most Expensive Ignorance

One hundred eighty million Americans file income tax returns, almost as many complain about the system, yet few understand the underlying social and economic outcomes. This book carves open the belly of the income tax for Americans who never have had the opportunity to learn about it, and empowers Americans to make informed judgments about what income tax laws would be best. John Fox explains how the laws represent the most comprehensive expression of official government values. Fox also elucidates how special relief provisions far exceed in sheer dollars and importance programs funded directly through the federal budget, and why these special provisions typically fail to advance tax justice or economic growth. Fox presents a compelling argument that our nation's interests would be best served by overhauling the system through reforms that eliminate all but the most essential special relief provisions, while reducing tax rates across the board. Such reforms, he argues, are far more compatible with principles of liberals and conservatives than is today's system. Part primer, part manifesto, If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax is sure to open the eyes of tax-paying Americans and earn the respect of policy experts.

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About the Author:

John O. Fox has engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C. since 1964, specializing in tax and business matters. He has been developing the arguments for this book over the past 15 years in conjunction with a course he teaches at Mt. Holyoke College entitled "Taxation and the Values of Democracy."

From Booklist:

Longtime Washington, D.C., tax attorney Fox is well positioned to lend perspective to the current tax debate. Fox stresses the narrowness of the U.S. tax base; Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that, from 2000 to 2004, nearly $3 trillion of income will be excluded from taxes. This tax-expenditure amount includes employer benefit plan contributions, capital-gains-related exclusions, personal itemized deductions and business deductions beyond the cost of doing business, and tax credits. These tax preferences encourage economic behavior Congress wanted to reward, but Fox makes the case that conservatives and liberals could agree on a more equitable tax code if it included more income and then taxed it at lower, moderately progressive rates. Fox explores the values reflected in tax law, examines the effectiveness of tax incentives, analyzes specific exclusions (home mortgage interest, pension plans, and capital gains), and compares income tax with a "flat tax," closing with conclusions and reform recommendations. Mary Carroll
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John O Fox
Published by Basic Books (2004)
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Fox, John O
Published by Basic Books (2004)
ISBN 10: 0813342384 ISBN 13: 9780813342382
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