The anniversary of an awful day in American history 4

Yesterday was the anniversary of the start of a very bad thing.

The income tax.

Our creed is: Taxation is theft and income tax is the worst of all taxes.

So we read the following with sad sympathy.

It is from a column at Townhall by  Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute:

On October 3, 1913, one of America’s worst Presidents, Woodrow Wilson, signed into law the Revenue Act of 1913, which imposed the income tax.

The top tax rate was only 7 percent, the tax form was only 2 pages, and the entire tax code was only 400 pages. And a big chunk of the revenue actually was used to lower the tax burden on international trade …

But just as tiny acorns become large oak trees, small taxes become big taxes and simple tax codes become complex monstrosities. And that’s exactly what happened in the United States.

We now have a top tax rate of 39.6 percent, and it’s actually much higher than that when you include the impact of other taxes, as well as the pervasive double taxation of saving and investment. And the relatively simply tax law of 1913 has metastasized into 74,000 pages of Byzantine complexity.

Not to mention that the tax code has become one of the main sources of political corruption in Washington, impoverishing us while enriching the politicians, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and interest groups. Or the oppressive and dishonest IRS.

However, even though I take second place to nobody in my disdain for the income tax, the worst thing about that law is not the tax rates, the double taxation, or the complexity. The worst thing is that the income tax enabled the modern welfare state.

Yes, yes. We heartily agree. Income tax allows redistribution – the robbing of Peter by government to hand out his money to Paul.

The income tax launched socialism on the Western world. A terrible and ultimately fatal disease of the body politic.

Before the income tax, politicians had no way to finance big government. Their only significant pre-1913 sources of revenue were tariffs and excise taxes …

Once the income tax was adopted, though, it became a lot easier to finance subsidies, handouts, and redistribution. … As the decades have passed, the Leviathan state in Washington has grown. And in the absence of genuine entitlement reform, it’s just a matter of time before the United States morphs into a bankrupt European-style welfare state.

And as government becomes bigger and bigger, diverting more and more resources from the productive sector of the economy, we can expect more stagnation and misery.

That’s why October 3 is an awful day in American history.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, government, History, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 4, 2013

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It’s simple to balance the budget … 1

Daniel J. Mitchell of the libertarian Cato Institute talks sense about balancing the federal budget. No need, he says, to raise taxes. He even mentions in passing that income tax could be abolished  without the government being deprived of what it needs to carry out its constitutional duties. That’s the part we like best. But the whole argument is good and needs to be heard.

 

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