Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston

I’ve finally finished reading David Cay Johnston‘s Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and Cheat Everybody Else!

I have also read Free Lunch (click here to read my entries on that book) and I felt like while I preferred Free Lunch, I really think the preference was mostly due to the order in which I read these books.

Had I read Perfectly Legal first, I think I would have liked Perfectly Legal more than I liked Free Lunch. (Sorta how I felt about Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code versus Angels & Demons having read The Da Vinci Code first.)

Funny how that works huh?

Still I like how David Cay Johnston concludes both books with calls for action and discussion of some potential solutions — he actually ends both books with “Reform begins with you.”

I particularly like this story from the conclusion of Perfectly Legal:

There is a fable of a village in wine country where each fall, after the grapes have been crushed and the vintage bottled, a bacchanal is held. Each vinter climbs a ladder in the town square and pours into a common cask a jug of his wine. One year the last vinter making the climb had fallen on hard times. The weather had not been kind to his grapes and he felt pinched. He decided that no one would notice if he thinned the wine with a jug of water. When he came down from the ladder, everyone applauded and the mayor swung a mallet to knock the cork from the base of the cask, out of which flowed clear water.

The moral is that when one person cheats, no one but the cheat notices. But when everyone cheats, there is no party for anyone.

Now on to cheerier books, I hope.


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