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The Great American Tax Dodge

StorySeptember 13, 2000
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In spite of daily reports of an America teeming with prosperity, the question of tax cuts is predictably one of the major issues in the upcoming presidential election. George W. Bush is proposing a tax restructuring plan that will cost $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years, the structure of which has yet to be heard. Al Gore has promised $500 billion in tax cuts over the next decade. The back-and-forth sniping over billions and trillions of dollars in budget and surplus numbers promises for a confusing, contentious economic debate in the weeks ahead, leaving voters to wonder who is paying income tax in this country.

Over the last three decades elected US officials have turned a reasonably fair tax code into one crafted for the benefit of those who give the largest campaign contributions, enjoy the most access, hire the most influential lobbyists, or otherwise exercise power beyond that of average citizens.

Congress and the White House have auctioned off the tax code to the highest bidders at the expense of ordinary individuals and families.

As a result, tax cheating has become so widespread throughout all levels of society that the United States couldn’t build enough prisons to hold everyone who’s doing it.

But the federal government applies a double standard when it comes to enforcing the nation’s tax laws–one for the rich and well connected, and one for everyone else.

I’m here with Donald Bartlett and James B. Steele, authors ??The Great American Tax Dodge–How Spiraling Fraud and Avoidance are Killing Fairness, Destroying the Income Tax and Costing You. The American Income tax system, the authors say, is on its last legs.

Who are the people who aren’t paying taxes? And what does this mean to the rest of us?

Guests:

  • Donald L Bartlett, co-author of ??The Great American Tax Dodge–How Spiraling Fraud and Avoidance are Killing Fairness, Destroying the Income Tax and Costing You.
  • James B Steele, co-author of ??The Great American Tax Dodge–How Spiraling Fraud and Avoidance are Killing Fairness, Destroying the Income Tax and Costing You.

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