Who knew that it would be so tough to keep up with a little reading? But a book here and a book there and before I knew it, there were about six or seven books that I hadn’t written a thing about. It doesn’t really seem fair. I mean, I read so much more quickly than these people write. How can they possibly keep up with me? How can I possibly keep up with me…?
Anyway, here’s me trying to get back in the swing of things: this fellow’s argument, the basics are that the United States’ tax code has been becoming less and less fair and progressive as time goes on, with the tax burden shifting away from those MOST able to afford to pay them (the old, the married, the white, etc.) to those LEAST able to afford them (the young, the single, the non-white, etc.) by shifting from taxation on WEALTH (stuff like inheritances, property, bonds and a lot of things that I didn’t even really understand what they were) to taxation on INCOME. Even an econ dullard like me was able to piece together what THAT means: that top 1% has been gathering even more of that WEALTH pie, which is significant, even though the share of INCOME is more evenly distributed.
It seems to me that the focus on taxation on INCOME is sort of like the way a pretidigitator glances upward to turn your gaze away right when he grabs that rabbit from his coat and shoves it into this hat. Calling the inheritance tax a DEATH tax (it would be funny if it weren’t so successful) is another example of this.
The good Professor De Long has a much more useful way of putting it… that might actually make sense.
You know, I even gamely read all of the endnotes too, but those were like trying to parse an electronics manual. (I know, if you’re good at that, it’s a bad simile.) I would recommend this book, because it SEEMS correct, though I don’t have the wit to tell or not. If it’s correct, I think that Wolff is writing a very important book here.