This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee. Preface



Download 4.42 Mb.
Page87/137
Date31.05.2016
Size4.42 Mb.
1   ...   83   84   85   86   87   88   89   90   ...   137

Tax Evasion


Another significant problem in the American economy is tax evasion. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) periodically estimates the amount of tax evasion and derives a figure it calls the tax gap: the difference between what Americans owe in federal taxes and what they actually pay. Much of the annual tax gap results from the failure of professionals such as physicians and attorneys to report self-employment income and from the claiming of false deductions by wealthy individuals and families (Braithwaite, 2009). [45]

In January 2012, the IRS released its estimate of the tax gap for 2006. The initial tax gap was $450 billion. After payment of late taxes and certain enforcement efforts, this gap was reduced to $385 billion, still an astronomical figure; tax evasion by corporations amounted for about $70 billion of this amount. The total tax gap is about twenty times greater than the annual economic loss from property crimes such as burglary and motor vehicle theft. In 2006, the federal budget deficit was $248 billion. If everyone had paid the taxes they owed, there would have been no deficit at all, and the federal government in fact would have had a surplus of $137 billion (Pizzigati, 2012). [46]

Despite the huge problem of tax evasion, budget cuts in 2011 weakened the ability of the IRS to enforce the tax code. In 2012, the IRS had 3,000 fewer employees working in enforcement than it had in 2010 (Pizzigati, 2012). [47]

Crime in the Workplace


An unfortunate fact about work in the United States is crime in the workplace, which is the last problem in work and the economy that we will examine. Two major types of such crime exist: employee theft and workplace violence.

Employee Theft


Employee theft takes two forms: pilferage and embezzlement. Pilferage involves the stealing of goods, while embezzlement involves the stealing of money in its various dimensions (cash, electronic transactions, etc.). Whichever form it takes, employee theft is so common that is has been called a “widespread, pervasive, and costly form of crime” (Langton, Piquero, & Hollinger, 2006, p. 539). [48] It is estimated that about 75 percent of employees steal at least once from their employers and that the annual amount of employee theft is $19.5 billion (National Retail Federation, 2007). [49]

Employee theft occurs for many reasons, but a common reason is worker dissatisfaction with various aspects of their job. They may think their wages or salaries are too low, they may feel they have been treated unfairly by their employer, and so forth. As the estimates of the amount of employee theft suggest, this form of theft is not condemned by many people, and, indeed, many workplaces have informal norms that approve of certain forms of theft—for example, it is OK to steal inexpensive objects such as (depending on the workplace) utensils, food, pencils and pens, or toilet paper. Not surprisingly, embezzlement is often more costly to an employer than pilferage; although it can involve just a few dollars from a cash register, it can also involve hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars acquired through more sophisticated means.

When we think of employee theft, we probably usually think of theft by blue-collar or lower white-collar employees. However, physicians, attorneys, and other professionals also steal from their patients/clients or from the government, even if their form of theft is often much more complex and sophisticated than what the term “employee theft” may usually imply. Attorneys may bill their clients for work that was never done, and physicians may bill Medicare or private insurance for patients they never saw or for procedures that were never performed. We call this form of “employee” theft professional fraud. Fraud by physicians and other health-care professionals (including nursing homes and medical testing laboratories) is thought to amount to $100 billion every year (Rosoff et al., 2010), [50] a figure that far exceeds the $19.5 billion in “conventional” employee theft and the similar figure lost to property crime (robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft).

Workplace Violence


In January 2012, a lumber company employee in North Carolina entered the company’s warehouse armed with a twelve-gauge shotgun. He shot and killed three coworkers and critically wounded another coworker. He then returned home, shot himself in the head, and later died at a hospital. A news report described the gunman as a “disgruntled” employee (Muskal, 2012). [51]

Many people die or are injured by acts of violence at their workplaces every year in the United States. In 2008, 517 people were slain at their workplaces, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As disturbing as this number was, it represented a sharp drop from the numbers that prevailed a decade earlier, when 1,080 workplace homicides occurred in 1994. From 2003 through 2008, an average of 497 workplace homicides occurred every year (Needleman, 2010). [52]

In terms of who is involved and the reasons for their involvement, three kinds of workplace homicides are the most common. The first and by far the most common type is homicide as the result of robbery. This category includes the many store clerks, gas station attendants, taxi drivers, and other employees who are slain during a robbery, as well as police who are killed as they try to stop a robbery or apprehend the offender. The second category is homicide committed as an act of domestic violence; in this type, the offender, almost always a man, seeks out his wife or girlfriend (or ex-wife or ex-girlfriend) at her workplace and kills her. The third category involves disgruntled workers, such as the North Carolina lumber employee just discussed, who kill one or more people at their workplace whom they blame for problems the killers have been having. Although this type of homicide is the type that the phrase “workplace violence” or “workplace killings” usually brings to mind, it is actually the least common of the three types listed here (Fox, 2010). [53]


KEY TAKEAWAYS


  • The move to a postindustrial economy has resulted in a loss of jobs and wages in the United States, thanks in part to capital flight and outsourcing.

  • Unemployment soared after the Great Recession that began in late 2007. Joblessness has significant consequences for the financial and psychological well-being of the millions of people who are unemployed.

  • Economic inequality has greatly increased since the 1970s, thanks in large part to changes in the tax code that favored the wealthy.

  • Corporations often engage in white-collar crime that costs hundreds of billions of dollars annually and results in tens of thousands of deaths.



FOR YOUR REVIEW


  1. Write a brief essay in which you discuss the benefits and disadvantages of corporations in modern society.

  2. Write a brief essay in which you summarize the problems associated with increasing economic inequality.

  3. Fewer workers belong to labor unions now than just a few decades ago. Do you think this is a good development or a bad development? Explain your answer.

  4. Think of a job you now have or your most recent job if you are currently not employed. On a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied), how satisfied are you (were you) with your job? Explain why you have (had) this level of satisfaction.

[1] Hall, D. (2011, November 3). As the manufacturing sector goes, so goes America? Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://www.epi.org/blog/manufacturing-sector-american-economy.

[2] Levine, L. (2012). Offshoring (or offshore outsourcing) and job loss among US workers(CRS Report RL32292). Retrieved January 17, 2012, fromhttp://forbes.house.gov/UploadedFiles/CRS_-_Offshoring_and_Job_Loss_Among_U_S__Workers.pdf.

[3] Economic Policy Institute. (2012). The state of working America. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://stateofworkingamerica.org.

[4] Mishel, L., Bernstein, J., & Shierholz, H. (2009). The state of working America 2008/2009. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

[5] Economic Policy Institute. (2012). The state of working America. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://stateofworkingamerica.org.

[6] Dubofsky, M., & Dulles, F. R. (2010). Labor in America: A history (8th ed.). Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson.

[7] Hirsch, B., & Macpherson, D. (2011). Union membership and coverage database from the CPS. Retrieved from http://unionstats.com.

[8] Mishel, L., Bernstein, J., & Shierholz, H. (2009). The state of working America 2008/2009. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

[9] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). 2012 employment and earnings online. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/opub/ee/home.htm.

[10] Shierholz, H. (2012, January 6). A solid step in the right direction for the labor market. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://www.epi.org/publication/december-2011-jobs-picture.

[11] Herbert, B. (2010, August 10). The horror show. New York Times, p. A25.

[12] Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. London, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

[13] Pager, D. (2003). The mark of a criminal record. American Journal of Sociology, 108, 937–975.

[14] Pager, D., Bonikowski, B., & Western, B. (2009). Discrimination in a low-wage labor market: A field experiment. American Sociological Review, 74(5), 777–799.

[15] Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan, S. (2003). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination (Working Paper No. 9873). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved fromhttp://papers.nber.org/papers/w9873.pdf.

[16] McDonald, S., Nan, L., & Ao, D. (2009). Networks of opportunity: Gender, race, and job leads. Social Problems, 56(3), 385–402.

[17] Morin, R., & Kochhar, R. (2010). Lost income, lost friends—and loss of self-respect: The impact of long-term unemployment. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

[18] Lovell, P., & Isaacs, J. B. (2010). Families of the recession: Unemployed parents & their children. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution; Luo, M. (2009, November 12). Job woes exacting a toll on family life. New York Times, p. A1.

[19] Hillstrom, K., & Hillstrom, L. C. (Eds.). (2005). The industrial revolution in America. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

[20] Fortune. (2011). Fortune 500. Retrieved January 14, 2012, fromhttp://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2011/full_list.

[21] Parenti, M. (2011). Democracy for the few (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

[22] Wettstein, F. (2009). Multinational corporations and global justice: Human rights obligations of a quasi-governmental institution. Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books.

[23] US Census Bureau. (2012). Statistical abstract of the United States: 2012. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. Retrieved fromhttp://www.census.gov/compendia/statab.

[24] Rosoff, S. M., Pontell, H. N., & Tillman, R. (2010). Profit without honor: White collar crime and the looting of America (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

[25] Simon, D. R. (2008). Elite deviance (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

[26] American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. (2011). Death on the job: The toll of neglect. Washington, DC: Author.

[27] US Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2010, April 15). 2010 annual report to the president and the Congress. Washington, DC: Author; Young, S. (2010, April 15). E. coli cases down in 2009, CDC says. CNN Health. Retrieved from http://articles.cnn.com/2010-04-15/health/foodborne.illness.cdc_1_foodnet-cases-of-e-coli-hemolytic-uremic-syndrome?_s= PM:HEALTH.

[28] Barkan, S. E. (2012). Criminology: A sociological understanding (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

[29] Pew Research Center. (2011, December 15). Frustration with congress could hurt republican incumbents. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/12-15-11%20Congress%20and%20Economy%20release.pdf; vanden Heuvel, K. (2012, January 26) The occupy effect. The Nation. Retrieved fromhttp://www.thenation.com/blog/165883/occupy-effect?rel=emailNation.

[30] Hacker, J. S., & Pierson, P. (2011). Winner-take-all politics: How Washington made the rich richer—and turned its back on the middle class. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

[31] Hungerford, T. L. (2011). Changes in the distribution of income among tax filers between 1996 and 2006: The role of labor income, capital income, and tax policy. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

[32] Krugman, P. (2012, January 20). Taxes at the top. New York Times, p. A27.

[33] Leonhardt, D. (2012, January 20). Why taxes aren’t as high as they seem. New York Times, p. A15.

[34] Krugman, P. (2012, January 20). Taxes at the top. New York Times, p. A27.

[35] Confessore, N., Kocieniewski, D., & Parker, A. (2011, January 18). Romney shares some tax data; critics pounce. New York Times, p. A1.

[36] Krugman, P. (2012, January 20). Taxes at the top. New York Times, p. A27.

[37] Congressional Budget Office. (2011). Trends in the distribution of household income between 1979 and 2007. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/124xx/doc12485/WebSummary.pdf.

[38] Krueger, A. B. (2012). The rise and consequences of inequality in the United States. Retrieved January 19, 2012, fromhttp://www.americanprogress.org/events/2012/01/pdf/krueger.pdf.

[39] Krueger, A. B. (2012). The rise and consequences of inequality in the United States. Retrieved January 19, 2012, fromhttp://www.americanprogress.org/events/2012/01/pdf/krueger.pdf.

[40] DeParle, J. (2012, January 5). Harder for Americans to rise from lower rungs. New York Times, p. A1.

[41] Krueger, A. B. (2012). The rise and consequences of inequality in the United States. Retrieved January 19, 2012, fromhttp://www.americanprogress.org/events/2012/01/pdf/krueger.pdf.

[42] Krueger, A. B. (2012). The rise and consequences of inequality in the United States. Retrieved January 19, 2012, fromhttp://www.americanprogress.org/events/2012/01/pdf/krueger.pdf.

[43] Wilkinson, R. G. (1996). Unhealthy societies: The afflictions of inequality. New York, NY: Routledge.

[44] Barash, D. (2012, January 13). The wanton wages of income inequality. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/the-wages-of-inequality/43020?sid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en; Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2011). The spirit level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press.

[45] Braithwaite, V. (2009). Tax evasion. In M. Tonry (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of crime and public policy (pp. 381–405). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

[46] Pizzigati, S. (2012). Law and order 24/7, except at tax time. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from http://toomuchonline.org/tax-gap-law-and-order.

[47] Pizzigati, S. (2012). Law and order 24/7, except at tax time. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from http://toomuchonline.org/tax-gap-law-and-order.

[48] Langton, L., Piquero, N. L., & Hollinger, R. C. (2006). An empirical test of the relationship between employee theft and low self-control. Deviant Behavior, 27, 537–565.

[49] National Retail Federation. (2007, June 11). Retail losses hit $41.6 billion last year, according to national retail security survey [Press release]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=318.

[50] Rosoff, S. M., Pontell, H. N., & Tillman, R. (2010). Profit without honor: White collar crime and the looting of America (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

[51] Muskal, M. (2012). Man Shoots 4 Co-Workers, Killing 3, Authorities Say. Los Angeles times, January 12, A12.

[52] Needleman, S. E. (2010, August 10). When violence strikes the workplace. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved fromhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164904575421560153438240.html?mod=googlenews_wsj.

[53] Fox, J. A. (2010). Workplace homicide: What is the risk? Retrieved fromhttp://boston.com/community/blogs/crime_punishment/2010/08/workplace_homicide_the_risks.html.



Directory: site -> textbooks
textbooks -> This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 0 License
textbooks -> Preface for Teachers
textbooks -> This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee. Preface
textbooks -> Chapter 1 Introduction to Law and Legal Systems
textbooks -> This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 0 License
textbooks -> This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a
textbooks -> This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee. Organization


Share with your friends:
1   ...   83   84   85   86   87   88   89   90   ...   137




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page