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In A Broken Covenant: The Rape Of The American Middle Class, Stephen Rodnesky reveals how the average member of the American Middle Class has been systematically ripped off to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars over the past two decades. Rodnesky explains the reason behind the dramatic decline of the income and wealth share of the middle class; the failing of current proposals to transform the tax code in the true best interest of the middle class; the long-term consequences from the currently pending efforts to eliminate the estate tax; and simple changes to the tax code that could rebalance the tax system while avoiding any necessity (and governmental temptation) to micromanage the American economy. A Broken Covenant is "must" reading for tax reform activists, governmental tax policy makers, and students of economics and political science.

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A Broken Covenant - the Rape of the American Middle Class by Stephen Rodnesky (2000), BMES Press, Pembrook Pines, FL (www.bmes.net), 150 pp., 23 cm./9 in., paperback, 0-9700890-0-7, $12.95 "This book reminds a person familiar with recent American history of a statement by Franklin Delano Roosevelt that (we must look after the poor, the indigent) ... "because the rich can take care of themselves". And, they do. Rodnesky provides the statistical data which confirms the moderate (centrist) belief that the tax proposals of the (new) conservatives serve, mainly, the rich and injure the middle class. The poor, of course, get what they has always got: less. The timing of this book is fortuitous since tax cuts are on the agenda of the presidential candidates. Among the concepts lost in the debate is the fact, not accepted by conservatives, that the welfare and social programs of the 1930's under FDR essentially saved the free enterprise system. Great unfairness in economic, political, and social terms leads, eventually, to revolution. This has been proven everywhere: France, Russia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran ... does one need to go further?

'The concentration of income into the hands of the privileged few and shrinking income of our middle class erodes one of the practical foundations of our democracy.' (p. 50) This is the underlying philosophy behind this book which, is well organized, clearly (though vociferously) written, and thoroughly documented. An interesting touch, which ought to be copied, is the recapitulation of the statistical tables (Chapter 19, A Quick Look Back) and a brief explanation of what the data indicates. As a working statistician and teacher of statistics, the reviewer appreciates that not all persons can glance at a table or graph and draw meaningful conclusions. Reading statistics can be tough; Prof. Rodnesky makes it less so. His conclusions suggest rearranging the income tax code to make for a tolerable and more just taxation. His proposal on estate taxes is more in line with the Democrats' approach ... raise the limit to a few million dollars. That happens to be in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers of our Republic as they recognized that the continued concentration of great wealth by inheritance was bad social and public policy. Rodnesky also recommends active and aggressive reduction of the national debt ... also good economic and public policy. [No space here to explain.]

All things considered, a rather good work and very timely. 4.0#" - hcl                    

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