10 06 2012

Authored by William Robert Barber

In the beginning, welfare and the concept of entitlement did not exist; aside from charity, if one did not sow one did not reap. But then, there came the progressive politicians of 1913 into being who ratified the sixteenth amendment to the constitution and the initiation of individual taxation was now the law of the land.

But not to worry, the law was merciful; the law was progressive and had built-in discretion: The individual income tax did not apply to all citizens (sound relevant to the present). Congress established a new personal income tax with rates ranging from 1 to 7 percent on income in excess of $3,000 for a single individual. So if one did not make over this minimum of $3,000 one could set aside one’s worry. One would benefit from the distribution of taxation without any regard to participation. In other words, all of you Americans making less than the minimum (hmm, that was the majority), surely you are going to allow your fellow Americans to pay your fare. After all, the citizens of the time must have thought, politicians (or was it pseudo-statesmen) endorse this individual tax policy as only fair and reasonable. Besides effectually, in the finality, what’s 1 to 7 percent of these peoples’ income?

It was not as if the federal government would be taking up to 35+ percentage of an individual’s income or that States would bile on. Or that I am in danger of paying any monies to the government. Surely, it’s not a signal for the formation of a coercively inclined federal agency to enforce (at a cost to taxpayers) a collection intermediary. Certainly the sixteenth amendment did not induce a benignly corrupt executive and congressional branch control of tax distribution wherein the political party in power would favor their cohorts over the minority party. “No, of course not”, the duck quacked.

In the days of old when ships of the line “cleaved the brine with pinions afloat” — a bit of Herman Melville — children were cautioned by the mother of prudence and good sense, “now remember Jack and Jill, consumption must be well proportioned and commensurate to productivity”. In those days the only safety net was family and charity. But even for the poor of yesteryear there was a cultural indifference to being poor. The idea was to move oneself upwardly into the economic main fare and one did what needed to be done to achieve such an effect. If one needed to work two jobs to attain one’s goal, then so be it.

But today, well really ever since the end of WW II, Jack and Jill may listen… but their intent was not to enable comprehension. The sage of reason may whisper in their ear, “nothing in the legitimate world is free.” But the sage could not overcome the unreasonable addiction to consumption that was aided and assisted by the politicians’ promise that taxing the rich rectifies the cost of consumption. For the progressive the answer to any fiscal short-fall is to tax those that have the money. Such remedies are only music to a fool’s ear.




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