Taxation and the American Economy: An Economic, Legal, and Administrative Analysis

Taxation and the American Economy: An Economic, Legal, and Administrative Analysis

Taxation and the American Economy: An Economic, Legal, and Administrative Analysis

Taxation and the American Economy: An Economic, Legal, and Administrative Analysis

Excerpt

The sweeping changes in taxation, public finance, and fiscal policy during the last thirty years have been most striking--so striking, in fact, that the field of fiscal policy has become the Number One economic policy at the federal level of government.

In the light of these changes, the traditional general public finance books that attempt to cover this now highly complex and extensive field in one volume have become inadequate for the purposes of a full-fledged, semester course in taxation. Though most of these books are excellent for general public finance purposes, no more than about one-third to one- half of their content is devoted to taxation--not enough for a thorough and well-balanced course in taxation alone.

There has arisen, therefore, a vital need for a book on taxation. Since the burdens of taxation have become so heavy and since they now touch almost everyone directly, the initial interest of most students and citizens is strongest in the "taxation aspects" of government finance. This book is intended in part to give the reader a well-grounded understanding of taxation on the American scene.

It will proceed as a three-way analysis: economic, legal, and administrative. An effort will be made to lay careful economic foundations before advancing into the work of the book as a whole and before discussing each major type of taxation. Careful economic analysis of the area to which a tax is to be applied is a highly necessary condition of a sound and equitable tax policy. The legal and institutional setting of taxation provides the very vehicle by which taxes are levied, collected, and enforced, and tax policy is carried out. Taxation is so highly legal and institutional in character that to discuss it in the abstract is unrealistic and fruitless. Finally, tax administration, a special phase of the institutional setting, can no longer be by-passed with a few paragraphs here and there. Good administration is very essential both to the success and the equity of the tax system. The working analysis of the book as a whole, as we proceed along the three divisions mentioned, will place emphasis upon: (1) principles, (2) problems, (3) policies, (4) practices, and (5) procedures.

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