April 15 was not meant to be dreaded. What happened?

By Bill Federer


On April 15, 1865, President Lincoln died. He was shot the night before in Ford’s Theater.

On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank. It struck an iceberg the night before. Among the 1,514 lives lost were millionaires John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isa Strauss, vocal opponents of the Federal Reserve Act.

In 1954, April 15 became the deadline for filing income tax returns. Originally, the U.S. Constitution prohibited a federal income tax (Art.1, Sec.9). The federal government’s revenue was derived from excise taxes on specific items like salt, tea, tobacco, etc., and tariff taxes on imports.

Prior to the Civil War, most tariff taxes were collected at Southern ports, like Charleston, South Carolina. Tariffs made foreign goods more expensive, leading people to buy domestically produced goods, made mostly in Northern factories. The South had few factories, as its economy was agricultural crops, mostly cotton and rice, which unfortunately relied heavily on slave labor. Thus, the tariff taxes that helped the North, hurt the South.

During the Civil War, Republican President Abraham Lincoln passed an emergency income tax to help fund the Union. It was repealed in 1873.

The first non-emergency “peacetime” income tax was attempted in 1894, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan.

Justice Stephen J. Field concurred: “The income tax law under consideration … is class legislation. Whenever a distinction is made in the burdens a law imposes or in the benefits it confers on any citizens by reason of their birth, or wealth, or religion, it is class legislation, and leads inevitably to oppression and abuses. …”

Justice Field continued: “It is the same in essential character as that of the English income statute of 1691, which taxed Protestants at a certain rate, Catholics, as a class, at double the rate of Protestants, and Jews at another and separate rate.”

Theodore Roosevelt was faced with industrialists who were creating monopolies, influencing political parties and gaining control of the banking system. Roosevelt attempted to limit them with an inheritance tax.

President William Taft yielded to mounting public pressure to tax the rich by placing a 2 percent tax on corporate profits, as only the wealthiest owned corporate stock.

With World War I threatening, Democrat President Woodrow Wilson thought reducing tariff taxes on imports between countries would ease tensions and bring world peace. Wilson proposed replacing tariff revenue with an income tax on the wealthy, passed in 1913 with the 16th Amendment.

Originally, the income tax was a one percent tax on the top one percent richest people – a “soak the rich” tax intended for industrialists Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Fisk, Flagler, Gould, Harriman, Mellon, J.P. Morgan and Schwab. These industrialists avoided the income tax by transferring assets into tax-exempt charitable and educational foundations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Foundation.

This tax-exempt category had previously been for churches, which provided social welfare through: hospitals, medical clinics, orphanages, schools, soup kitchens, where they cared for orphans, widows, maimed soldiers, prisoners, unwed mothers, widows, shut-ins, homeless, juvenile delinquents and immigrants.

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Churches also helped maintain a virtuous populace which reduced crime, child abuse, broken homes, derelicts and other social ills, which are immense financial burdens on state budgets.

In 1942, with World War II, Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt increased and expanded the federal income tax with “the greatest tax bill in American history,” and instituted paycheck withholding.

John F. Kennedy stated April 20, 1961: “In meeting the demands of war finance, the individual income tax moved from a selective tax imposed on the wealthy to the means by which the great majority of our citizens participate in paying.”

Beardsley Ruml, chairman of Macy’s department store, became director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank where he promoted the idea of withholding taxes from people’s paychecks.

Kennedy explained, April 20, 1961: “Withholding … on wages and salaries (was) … introduced during the war when the income tax was extended to millions of new taxpayers.”

Businesses gradually became subject to:

  • Higher taxes
  • Higher employee wages & benefits
  • More lawsuits
  • More governmental bureaucracy
  • More environmental restrictions
  • Political favoritism toward some companies over others

Many businesses faced the alternative of going out of business or going out of the country. As jobs were outsourced to stay competitive, patriotic attachments diminished, giving rise to financial globalists.

John F. Kennedy noticed, Feb. 6, 1961: “I have asked the secretary of the treasury to report on whether present tax laws may be stimulating in undue amounts the flow of American capital to the industrial countries abroad.”

Kennedy told Congress, April 20, 1961: “In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States.”

To remedy this, Democrat President John F. Kennedy proposed a stimulus plan of lowering taxes across the board, as he stated Sept. 18, 1963: “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education, and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

Kennedy stated Jan. 17, 1963: “Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

Kennedy stated, Nov. 20, 1962: “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

John F. Kennedy stated in his Annual Message, Jan. 21, 1963: “In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues. … It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

JFK mentioned in his message to Congress on tax reduction, Jan. 24, 1963: “Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

Whereas Kennedy wanted to reduce taxes to stimulate the economy, economist John Maynard Keynes had proposed stimulating the economy by going in debt. John Maynard Keynes reasoned that if the government went in debt spending money in the private sector to create jobs, those jobs would pay taxes and pay off the debt.

Unfortunately, politicians were tempted to continually increase debt in order to funnel money to their districts and constituencies to help them get reelected, hoping the next Congress would be responsible and pay it off. The Keynesian debt-stimulated economy has resulted in an unsustainable $18 trillion national debt.

On the other side of the world, taxes were used by Soviet Communist Vladimir Lenin to intentionally eliminate business owners, called “bourgeoisie,” so they could not threaten his centralized government: “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, communist labor and community organizers infiltrated other countries, including the United States, where they formed tax-exempt educational foundations to agitate for political change and a world-wide workers’ revolution.

In 1917, Roger Baldwin founded a tax-exempt organization to defend those who opposed World War I and were accused of being Communist agitators. It was renamed the ACLU. In 1921, Margaret Sanger founded the tax-exempt organization to eliminate “human weeds” and promote racial “purification.” It was renamed Planned Parenthood.

The growth of tax-exempt organizations advocating change resulted in the Congress attempting to limit what tax-exempt organizations could do politically. Commenting on the increased size of government and tax burden, President Ronald Reagan remarked at the National Space Club luncheon, March 29, 1985: “Personally, I like space. The higher you go, the smaller the federal government looks.”

Reagan stated in 1988: “I believe God did give mankind unlimited gifts to invent, produce and create. And for that reason it would be wrong for governments to devise a tax structure that suppresses those gifts.”

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