Nothing is Certain But Death
As Johnston knows, the real scandal of our federal tax system isn't so much what the rich didn't pay. It's what the rest of us now have to -- particularly the middle and upper middle classes, with incomes from $50,000 to $500,000. This is the group Bush is squeezing, to benefit what Johnston aptly calls the ''political donor class.'' This truly shocking story emerges later on in ''Perfectly Legal.''
posted by Cyndy
...The I.R.S. is a police agency under extreme pressure to treat big perpetrators with kid gloves. This material is, all in all, perhaps the most shocking stuff, particularly when one notes names like Harken Energy and Halliburton among the defectors.
...What should be done?
...Sensibly, he leans toward a leaner, meaner income tax, with higher top rates, few deferrals, a broad definition of income and reform of the alternative minimum tax. Add a stiff estate and gift tax to recover from the largest fortunes at death, treat capital gains and dividends as ordinary income, then cut or offset the payroll tax and you would have the elements of a fairer system.
Interestingly, the progressive tax bill of 2003, introduced by Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich, Barbara Lee and Bernard Sanders, comes close to these goals. It would claw back $107 billion from Bush's cuts and provide $88 billion in relief to working Americans, mainly through an attractive simplified family credit. Happily a few leaders remain, in these venal days, who are prepared to think boldly about our tax problem. [ read the book review ]
[ read the first chapter ]