Gianaris weaves together a historical framework with comparative studies of the nation-states of NAFTA and the European Union. He discusses structural changes and the main problems and developments in the relationships between NAFTA and the European Union as well as problems of mutual trade, investments, and joint ventures. A useful book for students, scholars, and investors with a broad range of interests in the American and European continents.
The book presents an improved methodology for measuring cyclical variability of revenues and uses this methodology to show that there is no way to restructure state tax systems in order to appreciably reduce the fiscal stress associated with recessions. Fiscal stress can be lessened by setting aside revenues during prosperous years in a rainy day fund, but current rainy day funds are not large enough to eliminate the fiscal stress caused by recessions.
Jankowski's analysis of tax and monetary policies leads to new theories of the state and classes, and he argues that the growth of the state has restructured classes. The state, and not the workplace, has become the locus of income for the majority of individuals in modern capitalist societies. This change requires a fundamental rethinking of the nature of classes and class politics. A controversial analysis that will be vital reading for economists, political scientists, and other scholars and policymakers dealing with tax and monetary issues.
Shughart notes that the record of such punitive selective taxation has been anything but successful, hindering economic progress and failing to deliver the promised social benefits. In addition, the costs of selective taxes fall disproportionately on lower-income people, while more politically powerful interest groups benefit. At the same time, such policies are a poor way to raise funding for public services, and foster political corruption and self-serving bureaucracies accountable to no one. Indeed, policies discriminating against certain products may represent ominous trends easily extended into virtually every facet of people's lives. One can envision policies proscribing foods, sun bathing, obesity, and even books, films, and political and religious beliefs deemed "dangerous."
Part I is devoted to the political economy of selective taxation. Contributors trace the history and politics of selective excise taxes in the United States, discussing the range of products that have been subject to such taxation from the founding period to the present. Part II explains how these taxes emerge in a political marketplace with opposing pressure groups scrambling for wealth transfers in their own favor. Part III looks at taxes on specific products as well as such banning policies as Prohibition and the war on drugs. Constitutional, economic, and civil liberty issues, including civil asset forfeiture and product liability, are discussed in Part IV. With the accelerating national debate over tax reform and the downsizing of government, "Taxing Choice is "a timely and far-reaching contribution to a debate of great interest to economists, policymakers, historians, sociologists, and taxpayers in general.