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Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls, and history has remembered the decade in which he served as an extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president, showing that the mid-1920s was in fact a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: The nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus. Coolidge is an eye-opening biography of the little-known president behind that era of remarkable growth and national optimism. Coolidge's trademark discipline and composure, Shlaes reveals, represented not weakness but strength, and he proved unafraid to take on the divisive issues of this crucial period: reining in public sector unions, unrelentingly curtailing spending, and rejecting funding for new interest groups. He reduced the federal budget even as the economy grew, wages rose, taxes fell, and unemployment dropped. In this magisterial biography, Amity Shlaes captures the remarkable story of Calvin Coolidge and the decade of extraordinary prosperity that grew from his leadership.
Amity Shlaes, one of the nation's most-respected economic commentators, offers a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression. She traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers and the moving stories of individual citizens who through their brave perseverance helped establish the steadfast character we recognize as American today.
The Greedy Hand is an illuminating examination of the culture of tax and a persuasive call for reform, written by one of the nation's leading policy makers, Amity Shlaes of The Wall Street Journal. The father of the modern American state was an obscure Macy's department store executive named Beardsley Ruml. During World War II, he devised the plan for withholding taxes from your paycheck, thereby laying in place a system that allows the hand of government to reach into your wallet and take what it wants. Today, taxes make up more than a third of our economy, the highest level in history outside war. We live in the nation revolutionary father Thomas Paine foresaw when he wrote of "the Greedy Hand of government thrusting itself into every corner of industry." This book is a cultural examination of the way taxes influence our behavior, how they force us into an arbitrary system that punishes families and individual enterprise. Amity Shlaes unveils the hidden perversities of our lifelong tax experience: how family tax breaks do little to help the family, and can even hurt it. She demonstrates how married women pay a special women's tax rate, higher than anybody else's. She shows how problems that engage and enrage us--Social Security problems, or the things we don't like about schools--are, at heart, tax problems. And she explains why the solutions Washington offers merely accelerate a vicious cycle. Finally, Amity Shlaes shows us a way out of this madness, endorsing a number of common-sense reforms that will give all Americans a fairer and simpler tax system. Written with eloquent compassion for working Americans and their families, The Greedy Hand makes the best case yet for rethinking our tax code. It is a book no tax-paying citizen can afford to ignore.
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