David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is the author of The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind.

He is president of the journalism organization Investigative Reporters & Editors Inc. and teaches at Syracuse University College of Law. His other bestsellers are Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch.

Articles by this author

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011
A Cosmic Visitor's Take on Taxes
It is a human tendency to assume the world we are born into is as it should be -- a Panglossian assumption that colors our understanding of the abstract, like tax policy.
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Saturday, May 14, 2011
Ryan's $34 Trillion Tax Folly
If repairing your car cost 18 percent of your income, would you buy a new car? Of course you would. Now imagine that your mechanic tried to persuade you to keep the jalopy with a clever tax argument: The costs of your annual car tax and registration would decline over time, saving you money. Keep the car long enough and you would save a third of a year's income just in taxes. That sounds appealing, unless you stop to think about how much more you would pay for repairs as your vehicle ages and breaks down ever more often.
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Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Who 'Contributes' to Public Workers' Pensions?
When it comes to improving public understanding of tax policy, nothing has been more troubling than the deeply flawed coverage of the Wisconsin state employees’ fight over collective bargaining. Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.
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Sunday, January 11, 2009
Fiscal Therapy
For years now, whenever I've been invited to lecture students on how our tax system works, I have asked a simple question: What is the purpose of the United States of America? The most common answer, be it at prestigious universities, elite prep schools, rural community colleges, or crowded urban high schools, is this: To make people rich.
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Thursday, March 29, 2007
US Income Gap Is Widening Significantly, Data Shows
Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans - those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 - receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.
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Sunday, June 05, 2005
Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind
When F. Scott Fitzgerald pronounced that the very rich "are different from you and me," Ernest Hemingway's famously dismissive response was: "Yes, they have more money." Today he might well add: much, much, much more money. The people at the top of America's money pyramid have so prospered in recent years that they have pulled far ahead of the rest of the population, an analysis of tax records and other government data by The New York Times shows. They have even left behind people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
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