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A third pervasive theme is tax administration and is called simplicity and enforceability. In the previous example, you can see how equity issues interact with administration issues. This theme focuses on the divergence between what might be the best system and what might be the best feasible system. The reader will receive lots of help in identifying which issues are dependent on the reader's values and preferences. An unknown error has occurred.

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Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. By Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija. Murray; William F.

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Fox Praeger, Read preview Overview. Sullivan Columbia University Press, Journal of Accountancy, Vol. Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, Vol. Paperback , Third Edition , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4.

Yates Lectures: Joel Slemrod on Weird Taxes of the Past and Their Lessons for Tax Policy

Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Taxing Ourselves , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. This book is a great primer on how taxes work, why they are arranged as they are and who benefits from varying tax regimes.

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It's fairly informative and attemptedly unbiased. However, this book is incredibly boring.

As someone who loves to talk about taxes for fun and professionally, I thought the details were drab and elementary. If you didn't like the topic or have a firm mind, you might get lost after Ch. Overall, it's not a bad book. Taxes are boring as hell and the book provided the high This book is a great primer on how taxes work, why they are arranged as they are and who benefits from varying tax regimes.

Taxes are boring as hell and the book provided the highest enjoyment of grueling tax information I've received. Mar 15, Bethany rated it liked it.


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I read the fourth edition published in This book was surprisingly easy to digest. These two gentlemen advise us that the best overhaul for the US tax system is to start fresh with a VAT and wage tax or some form of consumption tax rather than an income tax.

It gets complicated with economic models and shit. It was ballsy actually and is putting us on the path toward an improved tax I read the fourth edition published in It was ballsy actually and is putting us on the path toward an improved tax system.

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Bad taste in my mouth. I prefer we get it right rather than continue to put bandaids on a bleeding artery.

View 1 comment. Any text that talks about taxation without emphasizing it social benefits and its egalitarian necessity is not worth the time spent on reading it, and, in general, any economic text that fail to place at its center the impact of its promotions on real people and their interactions outside its formulae is inherently biased against broad based relevance.

The amount of policing expanses required for enforcing such a tax alone would eat up any advantage such taxation might have had. In addition, since the rich have access to means of production that the poor do not, taxation on consumption would actually exacerbate class distinction and tensions.

All in all, despite the length to which the book exposes problems with current taxation scheme in the US, because of its misrepresentation and avoidance of some important related issues, such as the positive aspects of tax collection in a democratic context, this book can be left unread except as a cautionary tale with respect to how NOT to design a tax system, or economic policies in general. View 2 comments. Nov 29, Brenda rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , politics. This book was definitely not for me. I found it incredibly dense and a little bit boring to read, but I slogged my way through.

The authors neglect to acknowledge that these are the same requirements set forth in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations Smith called them his four maxims on taxation. These maxims are widely accepted and basing the criteria on them ensures that the comparison is made on a sound theoretical foundation. Slemrod and Bakija then relate the maxims to practical examples, with a useful discussion of the controversies surrounding tax reform.

Chapters six through eight discuss proposals to replace the current tax system. In these chapters, the authors incorporate historical international experiences with various tax systems. They identify the proposed system and how it stands with reference to the four maxims. Slemrod and Bakija identify two categories of tax reform proposals: "those that accept the current income tax structure; and those that want to abandon the income tax entirely for something quite different" p.

They look closely at the flat tax and identify three distinct dimensions of flat taxes: a single rate, consumption base, and clean tax base. Single rate refers to one tax rate for all taxpayers.

Law Books A Citizens Guide to the Debate over Taxes Taxing Ourselves

Consumption base refers to taxing the value of what people consume. Clean tax base refers to removing exempt items from the tax code. Using these three dimensions, they discuss each reform proposal, to what degree it applies the three flatness dimensions of fundamental reform, and how it would expect to rate with the earlier developed tax criteria.

Slemrod and Bakija raise the issue of transition from one system to another and describe the likely winners and losers. They do a very good job of discussing how VAT is implemented in different nations. Lastly, they examine the income tax for possible improvements and discuss hybrid systems combining both income and consumption taxes. Chapter nine gives a checklist for the concerned taxpayer interested in deciphering how he or she would fare under each system. This book is accessible to the general public and it offers a starting point for those interested in the current debate over income tax reform in the United States.