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- Slemrod, Joel
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- 386 g
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Taxes in America
What Everyone Needs to Know189
Taxes in America offers a clear, concise explanation of how our tax system works, how it affects people and businesses, and how it might be improved, in an accessible and occasionally humorous manner. The book explores what makes a tax system fair, simple, and efficient, why our system falls short, and whether the new tax law promises much, if any, improvement.
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Henry Aaron, Leonard E Burman
Few people realize that one of the nation's largest health programs runs through the tax system. Reformers of all stripes propose to modify current tax rules as part of larger programs to increase coverage and control costs. Is the current system ...
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Forbes A valuable new primer on the nation's wild and crazy revenue system. Taxes in America is a clear, concise, and easy-to-read tour of the U.S. revenue system. It is written in a simple question-and-answer format, and does a nice job of breaking down complex tax theory into bite-sized understandable chunks. If you find yourself baffled by the politicians' arguments over tax rates and "loopholes" or about the various forms of tax reforms that are floating around, Taxes
in America will help you understand what it is that lawmakers are about to do to you.
Library Journal This is an excellent, understandable book on a topic important to a wide rangeof library patrons.
to distinguish the marriage bonus from bonus depreciation and transfer pricing from transfer payments. The authors' comprehensive yet comprehensible tour of the US tax system will promote readers' understanding of the taxes we pay and the policy choices we confront. Burman and Slemrod bring their wealth of experience and scholarship to the task of helping the American taxpayer and voter understand the language of taxation
BOOKLIST This is an excellent, understandable book on a topic important to a wide range of library patrons.
Austan Goolsbee, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Former Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors As America gears up to debate fundamental tax reform again, two of the giants of the field have laid out everything you need to know in order to understand what reform means and why it matters-how the tax system works, who pays and how inefficient it is. If every policy maker in America read this book, the tax code would probably look a lot different.
Harvey S. Rosen, John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy, Princeton University This volume provides an excellent overview of tax policy. Using non-technical language, it lucidly discusses institutional, political, and economic issues associated with the tax system. All those who want to find their way through the thicket of tax reform will want to have a copy of this book on their shelves.
James M. Poterba, Mitsui Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, President, National Bureau of Economic Research This volume makes complex issues of tax design and economic analysis not only accessible, but often entertaining. It explains with extraordinary clarity the current tax system, as well as leading reform proposals. It is must reading for anyone who hopes to understand and to participate in the approaching national debate on tax reform.
Veronique de Rugy, National Review Recently I've been reading economists Leonard Burman and Joel Slemrods Taxes in America. Like pretty much everything else these two write, this book is well worth reading. In particular, it hits all the important questions about taxes in a clear and neutral manner. I highly recommend it whether you want to learn more about our tax syste...
Leonard E. Burman is Daniel Patrick Moynihan Professor of Public Affairs at Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Joel Slemrod is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and the Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, at the University of Michigan.
Table of Contents (1st Edition; 2nd edition TK) I. How are we taxed? 1. The view from 35,000 feet a. Why is everyone always so worked up about taxation? b. What is a tax? c. What are the major kinds of taxes? d. How are taxes like ducks? e. Are there "hidden" taxes? f. Are there ways to raise revenue other than taxes? g. How can regulations be like taxes? h. How have taxes changed over time? i. How do they vary across states? j. How do tax burdens vary around the world? k. How does the composition of tax change between fed, state, and local? l. Federal taxes in the US have been at about 18 percent of GDP for 50 years. Does that mean that this is the natural rate of taxation? m. Why is the long-term fiscal outlook so dire? 2. PERSONAL INCOME TAXES a. What's the difference between a personal tax and a business tax? i. Why do economists say that it doesn't matter who actually pays a tax? ii. Aren't there cases in practice where it does matter who writes the check? b. What is the personal income tax? i. What's the difference between a credit, deduction, and exemption? ii. What's a refundable tax credit? 1. What are the biggest refundable credits? iii. Is it true that most people don't pay income taxes? 1. Who are they? Why does it happen? 2. Is that bad for democracy? c. Do we tax capital income as much as labor income? i. What's the effect of tax breaks for pensions and retirement accounts? ii. How do we tax capital gains and dividends? Why do we do it that way? iii. Would a Scandinavian style dual income tax make more sense? iv. Are there other better options to lessen the tax burden on capital? d. What is "economic income" Why don't we tax that? i. You want to tax my imputed rent????? e. What is the AMT? i. Where the heck did it come from and why is it so hard to get rid of? f. Does Uncle Sam really want you to live in sin? g. How does inflation affect the income tax? h. What are payroll taxes, and how are they different from income taxes? 3. BUSINESS INCOME TAXES a. How do we tax corporations' income? b. Why tax corporations? c. Corporations earn trillions of dollars every year. Why do they pay so little tax? i. Who pays the corporate income tax? ii. Why is it hard to tell who ultimately bears the burden of the corporate income tax? d. Why do economist say that we "double tax" corporation income? i. What are the impacts of double-taxing corporate income? ii. What would happen if we just eliminated the corporate income tax? e. How can some companies get away with paying no income tax despite billions in profits? i. Why is it troublesome that some companies view their tax departments as profit centers? f. What is depreciation? i. Why not let businesses write off their investments right away? ii. What is "bonus depreciation?" iii. What are investment tax credits? g. Are there implicit spending programs run through the corporate income tax too? i. Why do we have ethanol tax subsidies, oil and gas special tax breaks, etc.? h. What are tax havens? i. What is a foreign tax credit? Why are they allowed? i. Why do we try to tax corporations on their worldwide income? Why not follow the practice in most of Europe and simply exempt foreign income from tax? ii. What is transfer pricing? Why is it important to multinationals (and taxpayers)? iii. What is formulary apportionment? Would that be a better option? j. What are the others ways business income is taxed? i. What is an S-corporation, LLC, etc? ii. How are partnerships and sole proprietorships taxed? 4. TAXING SPENDING a. What is a consumption tax? b. What is a retail sales tax? c. What is a luxury tax? d. What is an excise tax? i. What is a sin tax? e. What is a VAT? i. Why doesn't the US have one? ii. Would it be more complex in the US because of state sales taxes? iii. Does a VAT promote exports? iv. Is it self-enforcing? f. What is the flat tax? i. Wouldn't a flat tax be super simple and fair? ii. Is the flat tax advocates call for in