A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System

Sold by Penguin
4
Free sample

New York Times bestelling author T. R. Reid travels around the world to solve the urgent problem of America's failing tax code, unravelling a complex topic in plain English - and telling a rollicking story along the way. 

The U.S. tax code is a total write-off. Crammed with loopholes and special interest provisions, it works for no one except tax lawyers, accountants, and huge corporations. Not for the first time, we have reached a breaking point. That happened in 1922, and again in 1954, and again in 1986. In other words, every thirty-two years. Which means that the next complete overhaul is due in 2018. But what should be in this new tax code? Can we make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient? Yes, yes, and yes. Can we cut tax rates and still bring in more revenue? Yes.
 
Other rich countries, from Estonia to New Zealand to the UK—advanced, high-tech, free-market democracies—have all devised tax regimes that are equitable, effective, and easy on the taxpayer.  But the United States has languished. So byzantine are the current statutes that, by our government’s own estimates, Americans spend six billion hours and $10 billion every year preparing and filing their taxes. In the Netherlands that task takes a mere fifteen minutes! Successful American companies like Apple, Caterpillar, and Google effectively pay no tax at all in some instances because of loopholes that allow them to move profits offshore. Indeed, the dysfunctional tax system has become a major cause of economic inequality.
 
In A Fine Mess, T. R. Reid crisscrosses the globe in search of the exact solutions to these urgent problems. With an uncanny knack for making a complex subject not just accessible but gripping, he investigates what makes good taxation (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and brings that knowledge home where it is needed most. Never talking down or reflexively siding with either wing of politics, T. R. Reid presses the case for sensible root-and-branch reforms with a companionable ebullience. This affects everyone. Doing our taxes will never be America's favorite pastime, but it can and should be so much easier and fairer.
Read more

About the author

T. R. Reid is a longtime correspondent for The Washington Post and former chief of its Tokyo and London bureaus. He is a commentator for National Public Radio and has been a correspondent for several PBS documentaries. His bestselling books include The Healing of America, The United States of Europe, The Chip, and Confucius Lives Next Door.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read more
5.0
4 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
Read more
Published on
Apr 4, 2017
Read more
Pages
288
Read more
ISBN
9780735223967
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Business & Economics / Taxation / General
Political Science / American Government / Legislative Branch
Political Science / Comparative Politics
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid takes a candid look at Washington personalities and politics, revealing the motives and strategies, the cooperation and rivalry, the honesty and the deceit behind a seemingly minor piece of legislation. He traces the course of S.790--the Inland Waterways Bill--from its inception to its eventual passage, a process with as many twists and subplots as a novel, and with characters just as vivid.

In Congressional Odyssey: The Saga of a Senate Bill you will discover:

- a cast of main characters including Jimmy Carter, Edward Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Hamilton Jordan, Howard Baker, Tip O'Neill, Russel Long, and other key political figures

- a covert alliance between the railroad lobby and environmentalists, masked by a money-laundering scheme

- the White House in-fighting triggered by the bill, leading to the ouster of Brock Adams during President Carter's cabinet shakeup

- Carter's problems with the Congressional leadership, exacerbated by his support of the Inland Waterways Bill authored by Republican Senator Pete Domenici

- "know-who" lawyers, who get things done through their connections rather than their legal abilities

- the Alton, Illinois, Lock and Dam 26 project that earned Senator Proxmire's first "Golden Fleece Award" for wasting tax dollars

- the thoughts and feelings of the dozens of central personalities who talked with surprising frankness to T.R. Reid

Congressional Odyssey: The Saga of a Senate Bill makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the people and the power struggles in the public eye, and behind closed doors, on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

From one of the world's preeminent political historians, a magisterial study of political leadership around the world from the advent of parliamentary democracy to the age of Obama.
All too frequently, leadership is reduced to a simple dichotomy: the strong versus the weak. Yet, there are myriad ways to exercise effective political leadership--as well as different ways to fail. We blame our leaders for economic downfalls and praise them for vital social reforms, but rarely do we question what makes some leaders successful while others falter. In this magisterial and wide-ranging survey of political leadership over the past hundred years, renowned Oxford politics professor Archie Brown challenges the widespread belief that strong leaders--meaning those who dominate their colleagues and the policy-making process--are the most successful and admirable.

In reality, only a minority of political leaders will truly make a lasting difference. Though we tend to dismiss more collegial styles of leadership as weak, it is often the most cooperative leaders who have the greatest impact. Drawing on extensive research and decades of political analysis and experience, Brown illuminates the achievements, failures and foibles of a broad array of twentieth century politicians. Whether speaking of redefining leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Margaret Thatcher, who expanded the limits of what was politically possible during their time in power, or the even rarer transformational leaders who played a decisive role in bringing about systemic change--Charles de Gaulle, Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela, among them--Brown challenges our commonly held beliefs about political efficacy and strength.

Overturning many of our assumptions about the twentieth century's most important figures, Brown's conclusions are both original and enlightening. The Myth of the Strong Leader compels us to reassess the leaders who have shaped our world - and to reconsider how we should choose and evaluate those who will lead us into the future.
A New York Times bestseller/Washington Post Notable Book of 2017/NPR Best Books of 2017/Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2017 

"This book will serve as the definitive guide to the past and future of health care in America.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene  

At a moment of drastic political upheaval, An American Sickness is a shocking investigation into our dysfunctional healthcare system - and offers practical solutions to its myriad problems.

In these troubled times, perhaps no institution has unraveled more quickly and more completely than American medicine. In only a few decades, the medical system has been overrun by organizations seeking to exploit for profit the trust that vulnerable and sick Americans place in their healthcare. Our politicians have proven themselves either unwilling or incapable of reining in the increasingly outrageous costs faced by patients, and market-based solutions only seem to funnel larger and larger sums of our money into the hands of corporations. Impossibly high insurance premiums and inexplicably large bills have become facts of life; fatalism has set in. Very quickly Americans have been made to accept paying more for less. How did things get so bad so fast?

Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries—the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers—that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine as never before. How did healthcare, the caring endeavor, become healthcare, the highly profitable industry? Hospital systems, which are managed by business executives, behave like predatory lenders, hounding patients and seizing their homes. Research charities are in bed with big pharmaceutical companies, which surreptitiously profit from the donations made by working people. Patients receive bills in code, from entrepreneurial doctors they never even saw. 

The system is in tatters, but we can fight back. Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal doesn't just explain the symptoms, she diagnoses and treats the disease itself. In clear and practical terms, she spells out exactly how to decode medical doublespeak, avoid the pitfalls of the pharmaceuticals racket, and get the care you and your family deserve. She takes you inside the doctor-patient relationship and to hospital C-suites, explaining step-by-step the workings of a system badly lacking transparency. This is about what we can do, as individual patients, both to navigate the maze that is American healthcare and also to demand far-reaching reform. An American Sickness is the frontline defense against a healthcare system that no longer has our well-being at heart.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.