Read My Lips is een boek van Vanessa S. Williamson uitgegeven bij Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691174556
Conventional wisdom holds that Americans hate taxes. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Bringing together national survey data with in-depth interviews, Read My Lips presents a surprising picture of tax attitudes in the United States. Vanessa Williamson demonstrates that Americans view taxpaying as a civic responsibility and moral obligation. But they worry that others are shirking their duties, in part because the experience of taxpaying misleads Americans about who pays taxes and how much. Perceived loopholes convince many income tax filers that a flat tax might actually raise taxes on the rich, and the relative invisibility of the sales and payroll taxes encourages many to underestimate the sizable tax contributions made by poor and working people. Americans see being a taxpayer as a role worthy of pride and respect, a sign that one is a contributing member of the community and nation. For this reason, the belief that many Americans are not paying their share is deeply corrosive to the social fabric. The widespread misperception that immigrants, the poor, and working-class families pay little or no taxes substantially reduces public support for progressive spending programs and undercuts the political standing of low-income people. At the same time, the belief that the wealthy pay less than their share diminishes confidence that the political process represents most people. Upending the idea of Americans as knee-jerk opponents of taxes, Read My Lips examines American taxpaying as an act of political faith. Ironically, the depth of the American civic commitment to taxpaying makes the failures of the tax system, perceived and real, especially potent frustrations.
Excellent... Williamson's most important contribution is her insistence that taxes are crucial in defining notions of what it means to be a real, deserving, and politically engaged American citizen. --Joseph Thorndike, Tax Notes A Tea Party expert draws on fascinating interviews with 49 Americans--white, black, Asian and Hispanic, urban and rural, Republican and Democrat--on their views on taxation, from form-filling to government waste to loopholes, and neatly upends the view of US citizens as reluctant taxpayers. --Karen Shook, Times Higher Education Read My Lips is a useful corrective to the dire view of Americans as irrational and ill-informed antitax zealots. It also offers Democrats a useful insight: Maybe Republicans' perceived edge on taxation owes less to the popularity of their views than to Democrats' own failure to marshal a civic commitment to taxes for liberal ends. Having identified the problem, Williamson may be pointing the way to a solution to the ugly politics of taxation. --Josh Mound, Chronicle of Higher Education