For one reason, the super rich are some of the biggest political contributors, and so, it pays Congress to ensure their continued support and fiscal maintenance. He also uses economic theories and trends to illustrate his point and make the text more credible and believable.
Throughout the book, the author shows not only that he deeply understands his material, but he has the ability to explain it so most readers understand it as well. With all the economic information this book contains, it could be dry and uninteresting, but instead, the author presents facts and figures in a way that shows he understands the material, but also has the ability to explain it to others, which is extremely important in this type of book. It is also essential if the author hopes to have Americans read his book, and act on it, which is clearly one of the author's purposes in writing this book. Has it changed the American tax system? Sadly, no it has not. However, as more people become aware of the flaws in the system and who it benefits, perhaps in the future there will be a more equitable and fair tax system for all Americans, not just those with the most money and power.
The author is uniquely qualified to write this book for a number of reasons. First, he has been a reporter for nearly 40 years and an investigative reporter for much of that time, so he knows how to unearth facts, figures, and information on his topic. His notes indicate that he has used primary and secondary sources from a variety of informants, from his own research to IRS records, legal records, and other investigative reporters, among others. He has interviewed accountants, lawyers, and IRS personnel, and he has delved into court cases and other IRS legal dealings. He is an excellent investigative reporter, and this book indicates that he understands the many convoluted laws and principles behind the IRS laws, and understands how easy they are for the super rich to manipulate in their own behalf, too. The author's understanding adds credence to this book, and makes it more readable for the layperson, as well.
This reader would recommend this book to anyone in America. The tax system is a convoluted and frightening mass of data, laws, and enforcement that frightens and intimidates most Americans. The only people who seem not to be intimidated are the super rich and corporations, who essentially manipulate the tax codes for their own purposes. In addition, the book contains a wealth of information on other tax breaks the rich receive, on everything from corporate jets to the estate tax and beyond. The author also contemplates reform and whether it can really occur or not. As he notes, "But we have to demand that reform and we have to focus on the principles that would make a tax system fair, efficient, and effective" (Johnston 304). So far, it does not seem as if most Americans are willing to take that step.
In conclusion, this book is a startling and illuminating look not only into America's tax system, but how it can be manipulated by those with the most money and power. The extent of that manipulation is overwhelming and infuriating at the same time. It is also maddening to know that Congress condones, or at least does not understand enough about this manipulation to control or conquer it. Americans are getting rooked every day, and there seems like little we can do to stop it. Even though this book came out in 2003, and millions of Americans have read it, little has changed, so it is no wonder many Americans may feel powerless in their own democracy. Congress is not doing anything about the outrageous CEO salaries, the even more ridiculous tax dodges, the foreign accounts, the offshore benefits of doing business, and many other items that add the tax burden to most Americans. Americans are no longer represented by their representatives in the area that matters most to them - money, and so, it is not surprising that so many are disillusioned and disgusted with the American tax system and the Congress that blindly supports it.
Johnston, David Cay. Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich -…