About John O. Fox
From 1964 through 2000, Mr. Fox practiced law in Washington, D.C., specializing in tax and related matters; for a number of those years, he taught tax planning at Catholic University's Law School. After moving to Massachusetts in 1984, he combined a part-time law practice in Washington, D.C. with teaching courses on U.S. tax policy and poverty in the U.S. at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He has written three books, If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax (2001), 10 Tax Questions the Candidates Don't Want You to Ask (2004), plus an update in 2008, as well as numerous op-eds about tax issues for newspapers and other publications throughout the country.
Mr. Fox has updated his 10 Tax Questions book from 2008 for the same reasons that prompted the book then. Politicians from both parties speak about taxes in sound bites that make policies sound better or worse than they are. It is his hope that, with these 10 questions about important tax issues, framed in a manner that readers can understand, Americans will be able to form their own judgments about which policies make most sense. Some readers might even feel empowered to ask presidential or Congressional candidates the questions. With their answers, we would understand a good deal about the basic values of candidates as well as how they think about tax issues.
I wish to thank friends and relatives who have offered useful comments about drafts of these 10 tax questions. I am particularly grateful to Robert Repetto, a leading environmental economist who understands my challenge from his years of teaching at Harvard and Yale, and to my cousin Evelyn Idelson, the best editor I could imagine. I am also grateful to the hundreds of students I’ve taught at Mount Holyoke who have asked great questions that have helped me become a better teacher and writer.
I also have had the good fortune to work with Bronwen Hodgkinson, a talented web and graphic designer. Bronwen drew upon her extensive understanding of online publishing to help place the materials on the internet.
Finally, I will repeat here the usual disclaimer. I take full responsibility for the entire manuscript. Any errors are my own.
This book is dedicated to my sister, Myra Fox, who died far too young just over one year ago. Myra became a pioneer in the United States and countries around the world in improving the quality of life of children while receiving treatment in a hospital. The hospital reforms that she helped bring about will endure forever. I can’t imagine a greater legacy.
- 1978 - 1983, Adjunct Professor of Law, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
- 1985 through 2011: Visiting Associate Professor, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts; teach "Winners and Losers: Taxation, Social Justice, and Economic Growth;" and "Poverty in the United States"
- If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax: Uncovering Our Most Expensive Ignorance (Westview Press, 2001)
- 10 Tax Questions the Candidates Don't Want You to Ask (Amherst: self-published, 2004, updated in 2008)
- "Estate: A Word To Be Used Cautiously, If At All," Harvard Law Review, 1968
- Capital-gains movement is bad for democracy,@ The Boston Globe, August 22, 1989.
- When neutrality isn't: April 15. The so-called marriage tax can mean gain or drain; it's all in your numbers,@ The Boston Sunday Globe, April 5, 1998.
- Speak in Code. Instead of cutting taxes, Congress ought to ax some of the increasingly complex rules,@ The Washington Post, May 27, 2001.
- Reality check must conclude in a demand for higher taxes,@ The Boston Herald, October 19, 2002.
- Tax deduction on mortgages favors the rich over the poor,@ Telegram&Gazette, December 30, 2002.
- Bush tax cut plan's wrong remedy for economy,@ Sunday Republican, February 13, 2003.
- You Call This Relief? I Don't,@ The Washington Post, May 18, 2003.
- The Wrong Prescription. We Should Help Needy Seniors First, But We Can't Even Afford That,@ The Washington Post, October 12, 2003.
- Don't know jack about taxes. Don't laugh. The tax code's complexity and inequity mean the joke's on us,@ The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, April 10, 2004.
- For Singles, April Really Is the Cruelest Month,@ The Washington Post, April 11, 2004.
- Missing graduation,@ TomPaine.commonsense.com, April 12, 2004
- The Tax Break That Corporate Execs Don't Need,@ The Washington Post, July 25, 2004.
- Saving Social Security,@ The Valley Advocate, January 13, 2005.
- "A Tax Policy to Help Homeowners," Daily Hampshire Gazette, December 3-4, 2005
- "Fox in the Washington Post "For Singles, April Really Is the Cruelest Month"," Office of Communications, March 28, 2006
- "Tax Breaks Hurt Low-Income Students," The Hartford Courant, May 3, 2006.
- “Taxes are dues for membership in society,” Republican, October 29, 2006
- "Clues to the Health Care Puzzle," The New York Times, June 9, 2009
- "Stop Subsidizing Health Insurance For The Wealthy" The Baltimore Sun, August 31, 2009
- "Poverty: A Discussion Among the Seven Sisters," Huffington Post, October 29, 2009
- "Looking for spending cuts? Don't forget home mortgage deduction," The Baltimore Sun, January 25, 2011
- "Budget battle: Four points of advice from Ike," The Christian Science Monitor, March 31, 2011
Sunday Dialogue, "Making Taxes Fairer," New York Times, May 8, 2012
Past Practice of Law: from 1964 through 2000, engaged in the private practice of law in Washington, D.C., specializing in tax, business, financial, real estate, and estate planning matters
- 1981- 1992: member, Board of Directors, OEF International, Washington, D.C., a private voluntary organization assisting women in less developed countries
- 1985 - 1992: member, Commission on Institutes of Higher Education, New England Association of Colleges and Universities (accredited post-secondary colleges and universities in New England)
- 1994 - 1997: member, Committee on Recognition of the Commissions on Recognition of Post-secondary Accreditation (accredited post-secondary accrediting organizations nationwide)
- A.B., Harvard College, magna cum laude, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England (graduate study)
- L.L.B., Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley
- L.L.M. in taxation, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.