Synopses & Reviews
This book looks at the way we tax the poor in the United States, particularly in the American South, where poor families are often subject to income taxes, and where regressive sales taxes apply even to food for home consumption. Katherine S. Newman and Rourke L. Oand#8217;Brien argue that these policies contribute in unrecognized ways to poverty-related problems like obesity, early mortality, the high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, and crime. They show how, decades before Californiaand#8217;s passage of Proposition 13, many southern states implemented legislation that makes it almost impossible to raise property or corporate taxes, a pattern now growing in the western states. Taxing the Poor demonstrates how sales taxes intended to replace the missing revenueand#151;taxes that at first glance appear fairand#151;actually punish the poor and exacerbate the very conditions that drove them into poverty in the first place.
"Impressive . . . straightforward, compelling, and well-documented. . . . This is an important book--for lots of reasons."--American Jrnl of Sociology
“Impressive . . . straightforward, compelling, and well-documented. . . . This is an important book—for lots of reasons.” Daniel T. Lichter, Cornell University
“Recommended.” American Jrnl Of Sociology
and#8220;Impressive . . . straightforward, compelling, and well-documented. . . . This is an important bookand#8212;for lots of reasons.and#8221;
"New South? Not really. A compelling demonstration that the South's regressive taxation wreaks so much havoc that the federal government has no choice but to swoop in at great cost and attempt to band-aid all the poverty and dysfunction. The best argument yet for a new federalism that says enough is enough."and#151;David B. Grusky, Stanford University
and#147;Taxing the Poor makes extremely important points that are not nowand#151;but must beand#151;part of the American discussion of poverty and social policy. The authors make these points with fascinating details on the history of how we got to this place. Bravo to Newman and Oand#8217;Brien for thoroughly laying out a politcal economy of taxation.and#8221;and#151;Robin Einhorn, author of American Taxation, American Slavery
About the Author
Katherine S. Newman is James B. Knapp Dean of the Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Among her many books are Falling From Grace, No Shame in My Game, Rampage and The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America. Rourke L. Oand#8217;Brien is a graduate student in sociology and social policy at Princeton University and a non-resident fellow of the New America Foundation.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. The Evolution of Southern Tax Structures
2. Barriers to Change: Inertia, Supermajorities, and Constitutional Amendments
3. The Geography of Poverty
4. Tax Traps and Regional Poverty Regimes
5. The Bottom Line
Conclusion: Are We Our Brothers' Keepers?
Appendix I. How Many Lags of X? by Scott M. Lynch
Appendix II. Tables