Timely background on the types of taxes Americans pay and -- without repeating more than one or two of those horror stories about wealthy tax evaders -- a plea for a fairer distribution of the tax burden. Liston favors a streamlined income tax as the simplest and soundest tool of reform, but he doesn't go into detail on any currently advanced proposals for a negative income tax. He does inspect the major advantages and disadvantages of other forms of taxation, including social security which he rightly characterizes as a highly successful tax (in terms of its acceptance by the public) rather than a kind of insurance. The discussion of corporate taxes takes into account such factors as the Club of Rome/MIT study ""Limits of Growth"" and suggests that in the future it may be desirable to use such levies to inhibit undesirable expansion. An appraisal of the value added the tax lists enough pros and cons to equip readers to join in that debate, and -- while Liston delivers no hard opinions on the merits of President Nixon's revenue sharing plan -- he does cover recent court decisions on the constitutionality of unequal education financed by local property taxes. A broad and basic review for the novice economist which, considering the many political controversies inherent in the subject, states its case with restraint.