The Benefit and the Burden

The Benefit and the Burden

American Tax Reform--why We Need It and What It Will Take

Book - 2012
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A spirited and insightful examination of the need for American tax reform--arguably the most overdue political debate facing the nation--from one of the most legendary political thinkers, advisers, and writers of our time.

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.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2012.
ISBN: 9781451646191
Branch Call Number: 336.205 Bartlett 02/2012
Characteristics: xiii, 271 p. ;,25 cm.


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Mar 17, 2016

Scrapping "Obama care" is not the answer. scrapping any thing that comes out of the executive branch is not the answer. scrapping anything that come out of the federal government is not the answer. for the time being the problem that is immanent, present and that needs to be addressed is the private sector pure and simple. it is the private sector that has declared silent war on the average American while having " government" as well in its crosshairs. while "average Americans" sit and watch while loving "fictional tv" and over exuberant sports. the private sector has inflated everything we see around us. and has trashed everything America was suppose to stand for. the private sector has said no to more government oversight so they can keep bleeding the federal reserve the federal trade commission and the internal revenue serve dry and what really backs it. its the American people and there hard earned commodities as well as tax dollars. they have declared open season on the American person by saying be more marketable and don't worry ware cooperate dollars go due to the fact its not suppose to be your money, its our money since we own things. the thing is the American dream was meant to be for the person the individual the worker not the cooperation's which are stock hording green back wealth virtually while they say you are not worth the 15 dollars minimum wage, while they make billions and poor them into other cooperation's stocks they are suppose to be in competition with. this is fraud and they government is going along with it because it gives our elected officials and their counter part underlings something to "bitch" about at face value on the "news" and cspan. the reality is they like to hustle the market while the hole market is robbing the world while making everything look horrible on paper and screen while everyone ignores the true problem and such uses a scape goat and chases smaller problems that no one really wants to reform. the fed is broke china wants gold and our military is strong arming them while they release one coal plant for emission relief lies about emissions and just let the workers go to work for "the Americans" or be street thugs without a healthy alternative, because not even a communist governing country wants a healthy private sector that does not screw the consumer.(not including Russia do to illuminati possibility control measure) go back to work America if you really don't care

Feb 13, 2013

The more I learn about taxes, how they function, how they evolved, the more I come to respect their good intentions and despise their inelegance.

I visualize the tax code much like an elaborate computer program—one that was first written long ago. And in this case, since it's not politically easy to dump the old program and release a new one, the alternative is a succession of targeted patches and endless updates to accommodate an ever-changing world. This in turn creates a cascade of potentially more problems down the line requiring even more fixes. The result: Our annual, modern-day tax-filing headache.

Bruce Bartlett's The Benefit and The Burden is a much-needed, if quite dry, assessment of taxes in present-day America. The best section is the middle one, titled "Some Problems," because there he reviews the substantial barriers to tax reform that go beyond symptom issues like, "They're too confusing." His statement about Americans "tending to view tax collection as theft" especially gave me pause because this lies at the root of why the system is so fouled up. Changing this cultural mindset, which dates back to our nation's founding, will be the most difficult of all. The author closes by making a convincing case in favor of the Value-Added Tax (VAT), which I believe is in our near future if America hopes to get on healthy financial footing again.

Mar 09, 2012

An outstanding, even-handed overview of federal taxation in America. The author has his own preferences, but always clearly notes those, and goes out of his way to discuss all the various proposals fairly. He also does a good job of avoiding jargon and esoterica, so the information is easily accessible to a layperson. I highly recommend this book.


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