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The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay

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America’s runaway inequality has an engine: our unjust tax system. Even as they became fabulously wealthy, the ultra-rich have seen their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice presents a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation, written by two economists who revoluti America’s runaway inequality has an engine: our unjust tax system. Even as they became fabulously wealthy, the ultra-rich have seen their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice presents a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation, written by two economists who revolutionized the study of inequality. Eschewing anecdotes and case studies, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman offer a comprehensive view of America’s tax system, based on new statistics covering all taxes paid at all levels of government. Their conclusion? For the first time in more than a century, billionaires now pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Blending history and cutting-edge economic analysis, and writing in lively and jargon-free prose, Saez and Zucman dissect the deliberate choices (and sins of indecision) that have brought us to today: the gradual exemption of capital owners; the surge of a new tax avoidance industry; and the spiral of tax competition among nations. With clarity and concision, they explain how America turned away from the most progressive tax system in history to embrace policies that only serve to compound the wealth of a few. But The Triumph of Injustice is much more than a laser-sharp analysis of one of the great political and intellectual failures of our time. Saez and Zucman propose a visionary, democratic, and practical reinvention of taxes, outlining reforms that can allow tax justice to triumph in today’s globalized world and democracy to prevail over concentrated wealth. A pioneering companion website allows anyone to evaluate proposals made by the authors, and to develop their own alternative tax reform at taxjusticenow.org.


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America’s runaway inequality has an engine: our unjust tax system. Even as they became fabulously wealthy, the ultra-rich have seen their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice presents a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation, written by two economists who revoluti America’s runaway inequality has an engine: our unjust tax system. Even as they became fabulously wealthy, the ultra-rich have seen their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice presents a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation, written by two economists who revolutionized the study of inequality. Eschewing anecdotes and case studies, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman offer a comprehensive view of America’s tax system, based on new statistics covering all taxes paid at all levels of government. Their conclusion? For the first time in more than a century, billionaires now pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Blending history and cutting-edge economic analysis, and writing in lively and jargon-free prose, Saez and Zucman dissect the deliberate choices (and sins of indecision) that have brought us to today: the gradual exemption of capital owners; the surge of a new tax avoidance industry; and the spiral of tax competition among nations. With clarity and concision, they explain how America turned away from the most progressive tax system in history to embrace policies that only serve to compound the wealth of a few. But The Triumph of Injustice is much more than a laser-sharp analysis of one of the great political and intellectual failures of our time. Saez and Zucman propose a visionary, democratic, and practical reinvention of taxes, outlining reforms that can allow tax justice to triumph in today’s globalized world and democracy to prevail over concentrated wealth. A pioneering companion website allows anyone to evaluate proposals made by the authors, and to develop their own alternative tax reform at taxjusticenow.org.

30 review for The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    A must-read!! I want to shout this on the Rooftop with a megaphone: our tax system is totally regressive. The wealthy evade taxes. They pay less than their share! This does not have to be the case. We, the middle class and working class, can’t evade taxes and yet we the idiots keep voting for people who let corporations and billionaires escape to tax shelters. The history in this book (though super short) was really fascinating. Hey, guess why our tax system is regressive? It’s the same reason f A must-read!! I want to shout this on the Rooftop with a megaphone: our tax system is totally regressive. The wealthy evade taxes. They pay less than their share! This does not have to be the case. We, the middle class and working class, can’t evade taxes and yet we the idiots keep voting for people who let corporations and billionaires escape to tax shelters. The history in this book (though super short) was really fascinating. Hey, guess why our tax system is regressive? It’s the same reason for all the other flaws in our constitution? Did you guess yet? Yup. It’s slavery.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristoffer Berg

    The book contains many impressive new findings on the distribution of the tax burden and some very good tax reform suggestions. It is written more for the general public than tax experts, but it would still have benefitted from fewer comments on current politics and more discussion on the assumptions they make.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

    Despite the sensationalist title, this is actually a pretty serious book, though Saez and Zucman have strong left-of-center views. The first chapter is the most important, as it presents new data analysis on the share of taxes paid by all income quantiles since 1913. The stark news here is that the very very top, the 0.01 percent, have a lower tax bill than anybody else, largely due to the Trump cuts of the corporate income tax. The rest of the book summarizes earlier research by them and others Despite the sensationalist title, this is actually a pretty serious book, though Saez and Zucman have strong left-of-center views. The first chapter is the most important, as it presents new data analysis on the share of taxes paid by all income quantiles since 1913. The stark news here is that the very very top, the 0.01 percent, have a lower tax bill than anybody else, largely due to the Trump cuts of the corporate income tax. The rest of the book summarizes earlier research by them and others on tax evasion and related issues, and proposes fixes (including a wealth tax). Very well written.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard Smyth

    Well researched & well written explanation of how the rich pay proportionally much less tax than low earners Thought provoking insights as to how the tax burden has shifted over the last 50 years from high net worth high earning individuals to the lower paid. I5 also explains how multinationals have used accounting and legal tricks to move profits to low tax jurisdictions. The real issue is that the wealthy control the power to change this but never will because they have so much to lose.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ernie Lavagetto

    What seems radical is really a call to look back to time when the US middle class was vibrant. The book is a review of the US taxation history and it's effect on US society as well as comparisons to other countries. The time frame is basically from 1950 to the current time. I am a retired CPA . I have seen these changes first hand and ,to my shame, thought they were for the best. However in the last 20 years, I have come to see the terrible damage done to American families as they tried to deal What seems radical is really a call to look back to time when the US middle class was vibrant. The book is a review of the US taxation history and it's effect on US society as well as comparisons to other countries. The time frame is basically from 1950 to the current time. I am a retired CPA . I have seen these changes first hand and ,to my shame, thought they were for the best. However in the last 20 years, I have come to see the terrible damage done to American families as they tried to deal with stagnate incomes, ever accelerating health care costs and children facing huge educational debts. I saw the growth of tax loopholes which favored the rich and their corporate interest. I saw the undermining of enforcement by the IRS which has given rise to outright tax fraud. The book ends with suggestions for reform that will shock the typical conservative. I am sure they will throw the word socialism at the authors. But to my aging eyes I see a straightforward attempt to address the growth of unbelievable inequality in the last 40 years and the crushing social.problems facing the American middle class. To paraphrase Warren Buffett, there is a class wars going on and the billionaires are winning it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Matich

    Not as academic or expansive as Thomas Piketty’s “Capital” - yet it serves as an actionable flashpoint and handbook for progressive candidates such as Warren and Sanders. The writers were even mentioned with disdain in the grotesque Open letter penned by financier Leon Cooperman to Warren; in a recent avalanche of ego bruised billionaire snowflakes. If this book is pissing off the 1%, they are doing something right!

  7. 4 out of 5

    James

    This was a bit fun in that it is laying out the intellectual backbone behind Warren's economic policy, but I can see why it's not quite for everyone. There are sections simple enough to define GDP, and yet some-quite a few even-confusing sections that would be above the heads of those requiring the GDP definition. For me, steeped enough in the background to get something out of it, I enjoyed it quite a bit, so had my rating reflect it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Masayuki Arai

    persuasive lol

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ju187

    An inspiring reading. People need to wake up from the right wing economic brain wash

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason Furman

    (I will be doing a longer review in the future and will link to it here.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  13. 4 out of 5

    John D'attoma

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Noah

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Siegel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kirk

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linn D Havelick

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Coleman

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Gusland

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jose Marino

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robert Pitman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott Kirkpatrick

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brendan McSherry

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marshall Eisenberg

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vadims Reinfelds

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

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