Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler

By Edward J. McCaffery | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
Time for a Change

“Taxes,” said rich dad. “You're taxed when you earn. You're
taxed when you spend. You're taxed when you save. You're
taxed when you die.”

“Why do people let the government do that to them?”

“The rich don't,” said rich dad with a smile. “The poor and
the middle class do. I'll bet you that I earn more than your dad,
yet he pays more in taxes.”

“How can that be?” I asked. As a 9-year-old boy, that made
no sense to me.

— Robert T. Kiyosaki (with Sharon L. Lechter), Rich Dad, Poor
Dad

I BEGIN WITH TWO FACTS ABOUT AMERICA TODAY. ONE, our tax system is a disgrace, and has been so for decades. The way we tax is complicated, inefficient, and unfair. Yet whenever elected officials in Washington actually try to do something about tax, they tinker at best. At worst, they make the system even more annoying. We need fundamental, comprehensive tax reform, not ad hoc tinkering.

Two, there is a widening gap between the rich and the not-rich in this country.

It may surprise many readers to learn that there is a deep connection between these two facts. Tax as it is today is a cause of the wealth gap. Tax as it could be tomorrow would narrow it. That's what this book is about: a proposal to make the tax system better

-1-

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Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction - Time for a Change 1
  • One - Tax Basics 9
  • Two - The Trouble with the Income Tax 27
  • Three - The Case for a Spending Tax 45
  • Four - Death to Death Taxes 62
  • Five - Progressivity Can Live 78
  • Six - The Fair Not Flat Tax 97
  • Conclusion - Toward Glass Teamwork, Not Glass Conflict 112
  • Questions and Comments on the Fair Not Flat Tax 117
  • Glossary of Key Terms 161
  • Further Reading 167
  • Index 171
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