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. By tracing the history of our own tax system and assessing the way other countries have solved similar problems, Bruce Bartlett explores the surprising answers to all these issues, giving a sense of the tax code’s many benefits—and its inevitable burdens. From one of the most respected political and economic thinkers, advisers, and writers of our time, The Benefit and the Burden is a thoughtful and surprising argument for American tax reform.read more
Reviews for Benefit and the Burden : Tax Reform-Why We Need It and Wh...
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.read more
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