100 Years Ago


If you ask folks “are things better now than they were 100 years ago?” most people would probably say that things are much better in 2013 than they were in 1913. Well, as the song goes, it ain’t necessarily so. It was in the year of 1913 that something happened to the citizens of the United States that would change their lives for all time. The 16th Amendment was passed and with it the U.S. government passed its first, permanent income tax law in October 1913.

The U.S. first considered establishing an income tax during the War of 1812 but the war ended before the tax was officially created. It was during the Civil War that the first U.S. income tax was created, but this one was meant only as a temporary measure to help pay for the war and was repealed in 1872. But there was no permanent federal income tax prior to 1913.

Passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution would forever change life in America, and not for the better. Before the enactment of the income tax, most citizens were able to pursue their private economic affairs without the direct knowledge of the government. Individuals earned their wages, businesses earned their profits, and wealth was accumulated and dispensed with little or no interaction with government entities. And then came 1913 … wham! Now 100 years later we’re up to our elbows in federal income taxes, regulations, penalties, and tax codes that require a CPA to decipher.

So what did the 16th Amendment state exactly? That the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration. The amendment was written so broadly that it gave the feds practically complete control over every single person’s earnings in the entire country.

Why 36 states would agree to such an open-ended federal power grab to strip citizens of their rightful earnings via taxation without representation and with literally no boundaries or limits to how far the federal government could go is anybody’s guess. There’s no question that this power enabled the feds to buy the votes of some with the assets of others.

Leftists loved this law since it gave big government total control over money earned by individuals and where that money would ultimately go. Redistribution of wealth began in 1913 and ever since then the federal tax code has been used as a tool of leftist social engineering. Citizens are forced to fund a government in redistributing their hard-earned money into programs and special interests whether they approve of those programs or not.

By the way, if you think your income is taxed only one time, oh boy, are you wrong! Thanks to investment taxes and capital gains taxes the government can tax you on the same money two, three, four times, or MORE! Oh, wait, that doesn’t even count inheritance taxes which can eat up another 45% of that money. And every single thing you buy is taxed, too. Taxes on taxes on taxes. It reminds me of the song, “Deep in the Heart of Taxes.” Remember “no taxation without representation?” Just another old-fashioned slogan that doesn’t apply anymore.

Don’t be shocked to read that farmers will have to sell their land and small businesses will have to put their firms on the auction block if nothing is done to prevent the inheritance tax from rising this year. Last year (2012) President Obama proposed raising the inheritance tax this year from 35 percent to 55 percent. As Sen. Orin Hatch said, “Remember, Americans work all their life paying income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes — only to have the government raid their farms, ranches, and small businesses when they pass away.”

I keep thinking of my father. He was born in 1912, when there still was no such thing as an income tax. Not only did the tax come into being by the time my father turned one year old, but he saw FDR’s leftist social agenda expand the government reign over the individual throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s. When Dad died in 1973 Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” liberal welfare programs were well under way. My father was born into one country and passed away in a very, very different country. Both of them called The United States of America.

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Crosby’s Corner

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