Apr 242013
 

This Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast: The U.S. tax code is almost universally seen as onerous and overly complicated. There is always talk in Washington about serious reform — Michigan Reps. Dave Camp (R.) and Sander Levin (D.) are currently working on it — but, Washington being Washington, we probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

So in this podcast we decided to take a look at the tax code we’re stuck with for now and see if there are some improvements, however marginal, that are worth thinking about. We start by discussing the “tax gap,” the huge portion of taxes that simply go uncollected for a variety of reasons. We once wrote about a clever man who helped close the gap a bit. In this episode, former White House economist Austan Goolsbee tells us why the government doesn’t try too hard to collect tax on all the cash that sloshes around the economy.

Transcript:

Sarah GARDNER: It’s Freakonomics time. Every couple weeks, we’re talking with Stephen Dubner, co-author of the books and blog about “the hidden side of everything.” Stephen, it’s good to talk to you.

Stephen J. DUBNER: It’s great to talk to you, Sarah. Thanks for having me. It is April, which is every taxpayer’s favorite month, of course. I thought today what we should do is take a look at the tax code we’re stuck with for now and see if there are some improvements, however slight, that we should be thinking about.

GARDNER: OK. So what kind of things are we talking about here?

 

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Source: Freakonomics

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