MANY people are phobic about letting others see their tax information. Perhaps they shouldn't be. If Americans all knew one another's tax bill, they might be motivated to fill out their taxes correctly. "Disclosure could be an automatic enforcement device," said Laurence J. Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University.
If you attended a U.S. college in the late 1960s, your parents might have worried about protests and other campus goings-on, but at least they were less likely to go broke paying your tuition bills. How big a bite does sending the kids to college take out of a typical family's income today compared to a generation ago?
Excerpted from "All You Can Pay: How Companies Use Our Data to Empty Our Wallets" The world of data has its own economics. If you know one thing about one person, you don't have much. If you know one thing about nearly everyone or nearly everything about one person, you have a little.