Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Paul writes: It began in 1913 as a 1 percent tax to fund WWI. This was the beginning of the income tax, which was supposed to be temporary. Right! What it is is legalized mugging. We pay over 100 different taxes. We own nothing. I am amazed that the government doesn’t force us to wear breath meters so they can tax the air we breathe. Then levy a carbon tax on the CO2 that we exhale. Aesop wrote, 2700 years ago, we hang petty thieves, the grand ones we appoint to public office. Faces change, the game is the same.
My reply: Indeed. But it is important to remember that the income tax was sold to the masses on a “soak the rich” basis. Envy was used to legalize theft. Of course, the envious who desired to “soak the rich” got soaked themselves. The old saying – you can’t cheat an honest man – comes to mind.
The only way out of this mess is a general recovery of the moral sense; of revulsion for thievery and a renewed regard for the right of others to keep what is properly theirs. We suffer under so many taxes because so many people believe it’s ok to steal – via the ballot box. To force others to hand over money to fund the things they desire – not grasping that same principle can be and will be applied to them, too.
It’s not enough to vote for politicians who promise to steal less – or only from “the rich.”
It is necessary to stop stealing from anyone. And I think the first step toward that goal is to be direct – and honest – about what is meant by such words and sayings as “taxes” and “contributions” and “fair shares.”
The mugger is honest. If what he does is criminal then it ought to be considered the same when it is done under the euphemistic cover of games with words.
. . .
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Actually the first US income tax came from Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Lincoln is so white washed and is likely one of the most misrepresented figures in American history. Most of his peers would be horrified that he is considered a saint basically today.
August 5, 1861, Lincoln signs the “Revenue Act”, imposing a 3 percent tax on incomes over $800 a year (about $16,000 in today’s funny money, so it hit far more than just the “rich”). The US government was spending a enormous fortune on fighting the civil war. But it had lost a large part of its revenue, which was “import duties”, as it was not able to collect them from southern ports anymore. So it had to come from somewhere.
It taxed just about all kinds of income too, both blue and white collar wages, income from investments like rental properties, basically any source. And like today’s income tax, income you may have earned outside the US.
The income tax lasted a decade before congress finally shut it down.