Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman are two economists at the University of California, Berkeley. Their book The Triumph of Injustice demonstrates how America’s system of taxation benefits the wealthy more than it has since the 1920s; in fact, the 400 richest Americans now pay less than any other group of Americans.
You may have seen this point being disputed on social media. Corporate-sponsored centrists say Saez and Zucman are wrong because their work doesn’t consider the Earned Income Tax credit that benefits low and middle income families. To that foolishness I say the following:
The idea that we are even debating whether billionaires pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do people who have children and are struggling to make enough to feed them is embarrassing to the United States of America. In anything approaching a fair society, people would intrinsically know that billionaires pay more than people struggling to put food on the table. The idea that centrist Democrats are engaging in this debate demonstrates why the Democratic Party is out of touch with what is happening in America.
Unfortunately The Triumph of Injustice comes with a bit of injustice. Throughout the book the authors advertise its companion website, which has serious accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. Since I’m one of those largely excluded from accessing the website, I can’t learn all I would have liked to have known after reading this book.
Still, The Triumph of Injustice is an important read for anyone interested in learning more about America’s classist tax code. For policy wonks, like me, the book offers several innovative ideas that should be considered by Democratic candidates for president. While reading the book, I found myself thinking that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth warren aren’t going nearly far enough in their calls for tax reform. The idea of a national income tax was of particular interest to me. Suggestions for closing several tax loopholes were also thought-provoking.