New York Times bestelling author T. R. Reid travels around the world to solve the urgent problem of America’s failing tax code, unravelling a complex topic in plain English – and telling a rollicking story along the way.
The U.S. tax code is a total write-off. Crammed with loopholes and special interest provisions, it works for no one except tax lawyers, accountants, and huge corporations. Not for the first time, we have reached a breaking point. That happened in 1922, and again in 1954, and again in 1986. In other words, every thirty-two years. Which means that the next complete overhaul is due in 2018. But what should be in this new tax code? Can we make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient? Yes, yes, and yes. Can we cut tax rates and still bring in more revenue? Yes.
Other rich countries, from Estonia to New Zealand to the UK—advanced, high-tech, free-market democracies—have all devised tax regimes that are equitable, effective, and easy on the taxpayer. But the United States has languished. So byzantine are the current statutes that, by our government’s own estimates, Americans spend six billion hours and $10 billion every year preparing and filing their taxes. In the Netherlands that task takes a mere fifteen minutes! Successful American companies like Apple, Caterpillar, and Google effectively pay no tax at all in some instances because of loopholes that allow them to move profits offshore. Indeed, the dysfunctional tax system has become a major cause of economic inequality.
In A Fine Mess, T. R. Reid crisscrosses the globe in search of the exact solutions to these urgent problems. With an uncanny knack for making a complex subject not just accessible but gripping, he investigates what makes good taxation (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and brings that knowledge home where it is needed most. Never talking down or reflexively siding with either wing of politics, T. R. Reid presses the case for sensible root-and-branch reforms with a companionable ebullience. This affects everyone. Doing our taxes will never be America’s favorite pastime, but it can and should be so much easier and fairer.
Recommended by Gary Banks.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: challenges and problems in accomplishing it.
Discussion leader: Charlie Goodyear
EPSON scanner Image
We will be walking the Hudson River Greenway from 181st Street to 165th Street and lunch at Coogan’s Restaurant on Broadway and 164th Street. After lunch is the option to return to Grand Central via the west side subway or walk over the Highbridge to the IRT subway in the Bronx. The trip up and down for the Greenway has some steep inclines so some my be too tired after lunch.
Leader: Taylor Strubinger
HIKING BABCOCK PRESERVE in GREENWICH, CT
FRIDAY MAY 26, 2017
Our last hike of the season will be on Friday May 26, 2017. We will be hiking the Babcock Preserve which is a 300 acre tract of forested land in Greenwich, north of the Merritt. It is the largest park in Greenwich and consists of several hiking trails over a relatively easy terrain. It was acquired by the Town of Greenwich in 1972, partially by gift and partially by purchase from the Babcock Family.
At this time of the year the park is a particularly pretty lush green with its tranquillity interrupted only by the chirping of birds. We plan to hike about 3.5 miles and be done by 12.30pm. Half this trail is relatively flat with the balance consisting of a not too strenuous gentle slope.
As usual wives and significant others are welcome.
After the hike we will have lunch (optional) at the Asiana Bistro, a fusion Asian restaurant located at 844 High Ridge Road in Stamford.
From the south-bound Merritt Parkway take Exit 31 (North St). At the top of the exit ramp make a left turn on to North St-north. About half a mile down the road on the left will be the clearly marked entrance to Babcock Preserve. There is ample parking. Meet there at 10.00am on 5/26/17.
Contact: Sunil Saksena. firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-561-8601
Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper — a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.
In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob’s Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it’s not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.
When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn’t interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won’t be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and coloured residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined.
The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, A Beautiful Place to Die marks the debut of a talented writer who reads like a brilliant combination of Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. It is a tale of murder, passion, corruption, and the corrosive double standard that defined an apartheid nation.
Recommended by Jan Selkowitz
A riveting history of the daring politicians who challenged the disastrous policies of the British government on the eve of World War II
On May 7, 1940, the House of Commons began perhaps the most crucial debate in British parliamentary history. On its outcome hung the future of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s government and also of Britain―indeed, perhaps, the world. Troublesome Young Men is Lynne Olson’s fascinating account of how a small group of rebellious Tory MPs defied the Chamberlain government’s defeatist policies that aimed to appease Europe’s tyrants and eventually forced the prime minister’s resignation.
Some historians dismiss the “phony war” that preceded this turning point―from September 1939, when Britain and France declared war on Germany, to May 1940, when Winston Churchill became prime minister―as a time of waiting and inaction, but Olson makes no such mistake, and describes in dramatic detail the public unrest that spread through Britain then, as people realized how poorly prepared the nation was to confront Hitler, how their basic civil liberties were being jeopardized, and also that there were intrepid politicians willing to risk political suicide to spearhead the opposition to Chamberlain―Harold Macmillan, Robert Boothby, Leo Amery, Ronald Cartland, and Lord Robert Cranborne among them. The political and personal dramas that played out in Parliament and in the nation as Britain faced the threat of fascism virtually on its own are extraordinary―and, in Olson’s hands, downright inspiring.
Recommended by Tom Reifenheiser
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
Recommended by Gary Banks
The boat club plans it’s first outing May 25th, 2017. The event will have a number of boats that will spend a pleasant day on the Sound then meet up for lunch at Zigler’s Cove.
Looking for a challenging game of chess?
The DMA Chess Club welcomes players of all levels.
We meet Mondays, 12:30-3:00 at the Mather Center.
For more information contact Tony Kwedar
Mianus River Park Hike
scheduled for Friday April 28, 2017 at 10am
Merriebrook Lane, Stamford
The 400 acre Mianus River Park straddles the towns of Stamford and Greenwich and is owned jointly by them. Its dramatic landscape includes the Mianus River and its tributary streams, a hilly terrain, hiking trails, rock formations and plentiful widflowers. We have hiked here before but this time we will be trying a new, more interesting trail.This trail starts with climbing a hill followed by the slope easing off into a comfortable hike.
More about the park can be found at:
Mianus River Park
We will hike approximately 3.5 miles and, starting at 10am, be done by about 12.30 pm.
As usual, participation from spouses, significant others and friends is welcome.
The hike will be followed by lunch(optional) at the Mackenzie Bar and Grill located at 970 High Ridge Road, Stamford.
Date & Time : Friday, April 28, 2017 at 10 am
Meeting Point: Parking lot at the Stamford entrance of the Mianus River Park on Merriebrook Lane, off Westover Road
Parking. : lower level, just below the large red cabin on the right side of Merriebrook
Directions: . Search for Merriebrook Lane in Stamford on google maps or follow these
Heading south towards NYC on the Merritt take exit 33 on to Den Road . Then take the first left on to Bangall Road and a left again on to Riverbank Rd. This turns slightly right and becomes Westover Road. After 1.2 miles, make a right on to Merriebrook Lane( careful, it’s easy to miss this turn). The park entrance and parking lot is ¼ mile down the hill on Merriebrook.
Contact. : Sunil Saksena.
Sometimes there is a scrap of lumber laying around that you are sure there MUST be a good use for. Here the Woodworkers took scraps of contrasting wood, joined, glued, planed, sanded and finished them to make attractive cheese boards.
Several pieces of furniture donated to the Boy Scout Tag Sale were in need of repair. The problems included broken legs and a split top. In the condition they were in, they would bring only a low price – or possibly have to be junked.
The DMA Woodworkers were able to repair a doll’s barn, table, secretary and hope chest to usable condition. They should bring a good price for a good cause.