Magazine News Blogger

Spring 2009

Pulitzer Prize winner says that U.S. tax system is in need of repair

David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author, spoke at the In Business Intermountain Accounting Seminar in October 2008 about some of the problems that, he said, have evolved with the U.S. tax system.

Johnston was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting, “for his penetrating and enterprising reporting that exposed loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code, which was instrumental in bringing about reforms.”

“I have spent more than 40 years as an investigative reporter and that means I’m in the business of looking at things that are not the way they appear to be,” he said.

Johnston, who wrote the books “Free Lunch” and “Perfectly Legal,” said the United States tax system is not what it appears to be. He showed a series of charts demonstrating that the share of national income that is going to the wealthiest Americans has increased dramatically.

Many people think that, “we have a tax system that levies people at the top to benefit people at the bottom,” he said. “What I discovered is, that’s not so.”

After he spoke, Johnston summed up his message.

“Our current economic policies do violence to the most conservative, time-tested principles of markets, taxes and spending policies,” he said. “And if we don’t get out of the sound bites and the myths they have created, it will eventually destroy our country.”