Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged

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University of California Press, Feb 27, 2011 - Social Science - 264 pages
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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. O’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 California’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 revenue—taxes that at first glance appear fair—actually punish the poor and exacerbate the very conditions that drove them into poverty in the first place.
 

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Contents

1 The Evolution of Southern Tax Structures
1
Inertia Supermajorities and Constitutional Amendments
31
3 The Geography of Poverty
57
4 Tax Traps and Regional Poverty Regimes
86
5 The Bottom Line
125
Are We Our Brothers Keepers?
149
Appendix I How Many Lags of x?
163
Appendix II Tables
175
Notes
183
Index
207
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

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. O’Brien is a graduate student in sociology and social policy at Princeton University and a non-resident fellow of the New America Foundation.

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