Perfectly Legal

If you own stock in an American company, you should read this book. If you pay taxes in America, you should read this book. Obviously, I think everyone should read the book.

Here’s my quick review. I’ll call out more detailed examples later:

David Johnston, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, describes what is wrong with our tax system. It taxes the poor and rewards the rich. It allows the rich and their decendents to continue getting richer while leaving middle class and upper middle class salary workers less and less to save.
Johnston covers a multitude of topics from:
– how the richest Americans are getting richer,
– to how the richest Americans pay the least percentage of their income in taxes (not the least because most of their income is not a salary),
– how executives abuse corporations, gaining huge incentives using such things as the corporate jet to defering income which allows them to pay less tax and gives the company less right offs,
– to how corporations aren’t honest with their stockholders on where the money is going,
– to how corporations report one set of profits to their shareholders and another to the IRS,
– to how corporations are paying less and less tax at the cost of the middle and upper middle class,
– to how Bush’s tax cuts won’t really benefit anyone making less than $500,000/yr because of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and he knew that,
– how the repeal of the “death tax” is really a “how to make the really rich richer” but doesn’t affect most of the US, including farmers, not a one of who has lost a farm to the estate tax,
– how Congress continues to pass tax laws and funding that meet the needs of the people that contribute to their campaigns, the rich,
– how the IRS polices the working poor and middle class to meet quotas instead of the really big scams that they know of that would bring in billions of dollars,
– and so on.

In conclusion, he says we all need to be well informed, talk to everyone we know, pay attention to the tax bills being passed, and push for more transparent tax law changes as well as a cleaning up of the tax bill and more funding to pursue the big time tax frauds.