Doing personal tax returns myself is a matter of principle to me. Even using a software program it takes an absurd amount of time and paper (if filing a printed return). The tax laws are a very important way for the people and their government to communicate about what is important and what is fair in our society. Unfortunately this communication tool is structured now to minimize communication, to obscure the irrationality of actions of elected officials. The "evil half" of the 1% seem to be running the country now and the "evil half' of the Supreme Court is helping them do it.
Energy incentives to promote clean, carbon-free energy development are still overwelmed by incentives to produce more oil and gas than Saudi Arabia and Russia - even at the cost of global warming and endangered water supplies. Moreover, the tax code "textbook" displays no history. In 1932, under Republican Herbert Hoover, the top marginal tax rate was boosted to 63% on annual income over $15.8 million (in 2010 dollars). In 1939, Democrat Franklin Roosevelt got the top marginal tax rate up to 79% but only on annual income over $77.8 million (2010 dollars). Once we were really in WW II the rate had to go up and was applied to incomes over $2.6 million (2010 dollars). In 1965, under "Great Society" Democrat Lyndon Johnson, the top marginal tax rate was brought down from 91% to 70% applying to income over $1.3 million (2010 dollars). Reagan was president when the top rate was brought down in 1982 to 50% but it applied to incomes over $185,000 (in 2010 dollars). By 1988 the top marginal income tax rate was brought down to $28% on all income over $54,000 (in 2010 dollars). Who did Reagan work for? George H. W. Bush started correcting that absurdity getting the top marginal rate a bit higher to 31% but only on incomes above $86,500 (2010 dollars). The senior Bush probably also signed the legislation that raised the top marginal tax rate to the 39.6% level that continued throughout the terms of Bill Clinton. This rate was applied to that part of income over about $375,000 (2010 dollars). The marginal tax rate supporting Obamacare and the War in Afghanistan and injured veterans is 35% still applicable to incomes over about $375,000. If the "upper middle class" aspires to be like Warren Buffett, or like the Koch brothers, they have acheived it in terms of the marginal income tax rate. Now, I think I'll explore the history of the capital gains tax - the tax break for the really rich who spend their profits on frivolities (probably imported from Europe, possibly involving conflict diamonds) rather than reinvesting them in job creating businesses here or in the third world.