How to Help the Economy, Improve the Environment, and Get the Tax Man off Our Backs. This book describes the tangled maze that is our tax system, explains how we got it, and offers a novel way to fix it.
Northwest Environment Watch, one of the most creative think tanks around, has a new publication by Alan Durning and Yoram Bauman, called Tax Shift. Their ideas would improve the environment and the quality of your life. And it seems so obvious: Tax the things we want to discourage instead of the things we want to encourage. Tax things that degrade the environment, such as pollution, and reduce taxes on things like our income…People in the simplicity movement are working to change their own lives, but we must go the next step and work to change policies as well. The first step is to be an informed citizen, so read Durning and Bauman’s book. — Cecile Andrews, The Seattle Times, April 22, 1998
Revolution comes in small packages. This well thought-out little book analyzes existing taxes in the U. S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest and takes issue with most of them as poorly conceived, difficult to administer, regressive, and tough on the environment. Besides being cumbersome to pay, the proportion of taxes paid by the typical Pacific Northwestern family on both sides of the border is very large relative to gross family income. One statistic indicates that about 43 per cent of the price of a can of Budweiser-the most popular beer in the US-is made up of taxes. Down, say the authors, with the existing Pacific Northwestern, and implied North American, tax structure. In its place, they propose a system of taxes on things society needs less of: carbon (in fuels); pollution from industry and from farms (in the opinion of the authors, the number one tax evader); from cars and parking, traffic, and large houses; and from energy and timber. The book ignores a couple of factors, the first being that consumers ultimately pay all taxes, anyway (Tax the powerplant, and your utility bill goes straight up); the second being that Americans and Canadians, by and large, like their personal motor vehicles awfully much, and proposals to move the population back to using bicycles, trains, and buses have about the same level of attraction to drivers as proposals to eat more steak do to vegetarians. That said, the book is well worth reading, and should be taken quite seriously. The Northwest region and the Continent as a whole need to examine its tax system and the undesirable societal results it engenders. The ensuing international debate can only be helpful. — From Independent Publisher