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The major presidential candidates’ positions on taxation illustrates
just how lost our country is.

One candidate throws gasoline on the flames of class warfare by
urging more confiscatory policies, while the other makes all-too-modest
suggestions of rebates for those paying the most.

Neither takes issue with the whole concept of the so-called
“progressive income tax,” which, in reality, does not represent progress
by any stretch of the imagination.

There’s no effort to undo this evil. There’s no alternative for those
who recognize the unfairness of it — the un-American nature of it.

For more than half of our nation’s history, the Constitution strictly
forbade the federal government from imposing a direct tax on American
citizens. Only during the last half of the 19th century did a movement
begin to pass a constitutional amendment for a federal income tax. There
is ample evidence to suggest the game was rigged from the beginning and
that the amendment was never actually ratified. Nevertheless, it has
been enforced by government ever since.

Even so, the income tax was sold as a minor tax on the “wealthy” –
and, indeed, it was for many years.

In 1913, a person was considered wealthy with an annual income of
$20,000. That is the equivalent of $200,000 in 1998, says

Alan R.
Davis,
a private citizen from Ohio who has committed his time and money to reminding Americans of the liberties they are losing. Those earning more than $20,000 and less than $50,000 paid 1 percent on the amount they earned over $20,000. It went up to 2 percent over $50,000; 3 percent over $75,000; 4 percent over $100,000; 5 percent over $250,000 and a top rate of 6 percent over $500,000.

That was it. The 1040 form was so simple that it fit on one page — including the easy-to-understand instructions.


1913 income tax form; click for full view.

Today, Vice President Al Gore, the candidate who buys votes for himself by saying he wants to “soak the rich” even more, defends a system in which a someone earning $21,175 in today’s dollars is taxed at a rate of 15 percent. Someone earning $51,150 pays 28 percent to Washington. A really rich guy making $77,975 pays 31 percent. A super-rich person earning $139,226 pays 39.6 percent. That doesn’t include, of course, Social Security, Medicare and state and local taxes.

That’s why I call it the “regressive income tax.” Where will this madness end? The government doesn’t just have its hand deep inside your pocket, it generally collects its fair share before you even see it — which is why most Americans are oblivious to what they actually pay in taxes.

If you apply a 2.5 percent per year inflation factor for the 85 years between 1913 and 1998, you find that 1998 earnings would need to be more than 10 times higher that they were in 1913 to be equivalent.

Here are some other startling facts collected by Davis:

  • The top 25 percent of taxpayers (based on earnings) paid 80 percent of all federal individual income taxes. And who were those people? They qualified if they had an adjusted gross income of only $44,200.

  • In 1997, the per-capita federal tax burden was 44 percent higher than in 1992. It was 65 percent higher than in 1988.

  • Washington doesn’t tax your dollars once, it taxes them over and over and over again. Parents can’t help children with down payments on a house without the government taking a cut. Children can’t repay their parents’ generosity with tax implications. Businesses often must be sold upon the death of a founder because of the tax system. All this attention on dollars that have already been taxed previously.

The federal income tax was introduced in 1913 as a minor tax on the wealthy. At that time we thought someone was wealthy if they had a taxable income of $20,000 per year and took 1 percent of their income over and above that amount. Now we apparently think someone is wealthy if they have a taxable income of $21,175 per year, because we take 15 percent of their income in taxes.

Who among you, Davis and I would like to know, truly consider this progress?

How did we get ourselves into this predicament? Through the same kind of demagoguery and hucksterism we see in the 2000 presidential race. Slowly but surely the American people have accepted the assumption that the government has a right to take their money, in ever-increasing amounts, by force.

It’s time to wake up, America. It’s time to just say no more.

See earlier column:

“The ‘progressive’ income tax”

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