The well-known saying, “There is nothing certain but death and taxes” often attributed to Benjamin Franklin was likely uttered long before by Daniel Defoe in “The Political History of the Devil”, 1726 when he wrote, “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.” The variations of that are with us today. Although the push by many politicians is that taxes extend beyond death and you are taxed in death too. That is not something our founding fathers would have embraced nor should we.
In fact, our founding fathers were opposed to taxing income and although they understood that the federal government had to have sources of revenue to function they did not want it to become the monster it is today. They believed that, in taxes, there should be both uniformity and equal protection afforded not a Progressive Income Tax system as we have today. I can only imagine the response of those men who hammered out the Constitution and Bill of Rights to today’s American Tax Code. The Boston Tea Party would probably pale in comparison to what they would suggest.
In an excellent article regarding The Progressive Income Tax in U.S. History by Burton Folsom we are reminded of the words of James Madison regarding this monstrosity when Mr. Madison declared that the ‘spirit of party and faction’ would prevail in Congress if they were allowed to tax one group of citizens and confer the benefits to another. They were adamantly opposed to allowing politicians target groups of citizens and ‘redistribute the wealth’ via taxation or any other means. Personal property was considered sacred and one’s income or wealth was considered personal property.
We know from history that during the Civil War a progressive income tax was advanced and while the maximum rate was 10% it was still a progressive tax and foreign to the constitution and desires of the founders. It was repealed in 1872 when Representative Justin Morrill of Vermont decried it saying, “In this country we neither create nor tolerate any distinction of rank, race, or color, and should not tolerate anything else than entire equality in our taxes.” That lasted until 1894 when Congress launched another attempt to target the rich but that law was declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL by the Supreme Court. Completely unlike today’s Justices. But alas, the quest for revenue never seems to die among politicians for in 1913 Congress proposed a Constitutional Amendment permitting a Progressive Income Tax and it was RATIFIED. Shame on them and shame on the American people for buying the spin thus altering our Constitution from the spirit and letter.
The tax rates initially were capped at a very low rate but under Presidents like Hoover and Roosevelt the tax rate became permanently fixed and escalated to ridiculous percentages when in 1941 it grew to 94% under Roosevelt. I know there was a War being waged but his proposal was a 99.5% marginal rate on all income over $100,000 and allowed income to be taxed at the marginal rate of 90%. That is governmental theft and should have infuriated every American but didn’t. No the War effort was touted and the class warfare was launched and we still have that warfare today, to our hurt.
The Progressive Tax System has become nothing more than a tool for the left and some on the Republican side to use for ‘vote buying’, ‘redistributing the wealth’ and creating a ‘permanent dependent class’ of citizens. Everyone does not have skin in the game and therefore the class warfare and envy must be kept alive to insure that the public will allow politicians to continue their theft by government.
The Tax Code does not need to be reformed or modified it needs to be TOSSED OUT completely and replaced with a Fair and Equitable Code. That can only be accomplished by a Fair or Flat Tax and then with careful examination of loopholes, deductions and exemptions afforded. We need to reach a place where government is not allowed to ‘redistribute the wealth’, ‘tax death’ or utilize taxation as a political tool to buy votes and ensure that entire segments of society are locked into dependence on a political party.
May God bless you and may God bless America!