A lucid, thorough reflection on the income tax that manages to be both rigorous and accessible.



A bold assessment of the toll that the income tax has exacted on the American economy, coupled with a plan to replace it.

A father and son, in their debut, proffer a brief but densely packed analysis of the income tax. Unlike many treatments of income tax opposition, they don’t dwell on its constitutionality—an argument whose ship has sailed. Instead, they marshal empirical evidence against the tax, arguing that its replacement by a national sales tax would benefit all American citizens. Helpfully, the book begins with a synoptic account of the history of the income tax, which didn’t exist prior to the Civil War and was passed following World War II. It was initially designed to remain a modest measure, the authors write; however, it ballooned into the primary source of the government’s revenue, and the authors assert that it gradually strangled the prospects of fair competition in an increasingly global economic theater. Now, according to the authors, it ranks as an “economic natural disaster.” They devote much of their discussion to dispelling what they consider to be commonly held misconceptions about the income tax. For example, they argue that the tax is actually regressive, not progressive, and that the brunt of it is ultimately paid by consumers who absorb the cost through inflated prices and deflated salaries. Also, they say, the tax is effectively a self-imposed tariff that disadvantages American businesses competing with foreign rivals: “The income tax raises the cost of domestically produced goods sold in the U.S., but it does not apply an equal tax to foreign-produced goods sold in the U.S.” Although they narrowly confine the scope of their investigation to the income tax, their analysis always involves the U.S. economy as a whole, as they contend that the tax is “the major impediment to America’s economic prosperity.” They also judiciously consider the tax’s political context and realistically acknowledge the many obstacles facing the tax’s elimination.

A lucid, thorough reflection on the income tax that manages to be both rigorous and accessible. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9860436-04

Page Count: 78

Publisher: Mountain Home Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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