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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Review - The Cracked Bell

Something new here - book reviews. At San Jose State, I've been directing the Campus Reading Program since 2005. We select a book of wide interest, such as The Kite Runner, and encourage everyone on campus to read it. Our goal is to help build community and build/strengthen a culture of reading. After all, reading guides the road of lifelong learning. So, why not add reviews of some books I've read that tie to 21st century taxation.

The first book was suggested to me by the publisher - and I appreciate that - thanks. I've got my review posted on the 21st century taxation website - here. At this post, I'll tie the book to 21st century taxation.

The Cracked Bell - America and the Afflictions of Liberty by Dr. Tristam Riley-Smith, points out and explains many paradoxes of American beliefs and practices. For example, we are likely to say that liberty and freedom are key values of ours yet some neighborhoods don't welcome everyone and we sometimes turn our heads to inequities.

I think another area where we have paradoxes or even support some is via inequitable tax rules. One example I've written about is the strong fight against broadening the California sales tax base to bring in today's types of consumption - much of which is by high income individuals (services and digital goods), yet raising the rate on this regressive tax. How is that fair? Another example of a paradox is perhaps our longstanding discussion and study of weaknesses in our tax system, without addressing them. Why can't we use all of the studies and take action? Dr. Riley-Smith's analysis of the American political system helps explain part of this question.

If you've read the book - please post some comments. If you've got book recommendations relevant to the topic of 21st century taxation - please post them as well. Thanks.

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