The Taxpayer's Guide to Effective Tax Revolt, by Sheldon D. Engelmayer and Robert J. Wagman, New York: Dale Books, 1978, 269 pp., $1.95 paper.
Up until now it's been a sad fact that the tax revolt hasn't had a comprehensive "how to" manual for the rebelling masses. After all, farmers have their Almanac and hippies their Whole Earth Catalog. Why not something for the taxpayers?
Well, now we've got it. And it is a beautiful little book that should be on the shelves of every individual who has ever even thought of getting involved in the tax revolt. The Taxpayer's Guide to Effective Tax Revolt is an explosive handbook—in a conservative way—that tells anyone who wants to know just exactly how to start, carry through, and win an anti-tax movement. It is beautiful in its simplicity and powerful in its concept. And it aims straight at the heart of the tax movement—the middle class.
Besides the clear and succinct introduction on the tax movement, a section on "Ten Steps to Effective Tax Revolt," and the "Case Histories" section which tells about current and past tax battles, Engelmayer and Wagman include a socko general-info section. It contains chapters explaining the Laffer Curve, balance-the-budget proposals, the federal tax revolt and why we have it, inflation, the ill-fated Kemp-Roth bill, the concept of Sunset, and much else.
Then, as if that were not enough usable information, they launch into another section, "Things You Must Know," which covers different ways of attacking the problem, determining government efficiency through reports and the like, what's happening in every state with an active tax rebellion, and the workings of initiatives, referendums, and lobbying. Want to know more? How about how to get in touch with "groups that can help you," what their main thrust is in the tax rebellion, where they come from, what they do and who their leaders are?
Still more? God yes: they put in 21 appendices that include everything from a model press release, a model press kit, and a model press conference announcement, to samples of taxpayer propaganda in favor of tax cutting and Milton Friedman's major statement on tax limitation reprinted from Policy Review. Oh, surely that's not enough information: other appendices include the texts of tax-limiting amendments and spending limitations from California, Colorado, Illinois, South Dakota, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Florida. And you'll find tax-limitation and bureaucracy-controlling amendments and statutes suggested by the American Legislative Council. Also here: sunset-act wording.
All of this and more is packed into a little paperback 269 pages long. Not bad. Criticisms? Yes: they have some typesetting and proofreading mistakes. In some places they're a little bit too conservative about tax slashing. And that's about it.
This book should be in the home of every family who's ever thought about taxes and getting involved. And everyone else. It is highly readable, immensely informative, and super-helpful in myriad ways. Engelmayer and Wagman have done a huge service to the tax rebellion. Buy their book: read it and use it. Make them rich. They deserve it.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "The Taxpayer’s Guide to Effective Tax Revolt".