Happy Birthday Federal Income Tax

Yes, it was indeed 100 years ago yesterday that the House passed a resolution to send the 16th Amendment to the states for ratification, thereby establishing the federal income tax.

Since then, teenage socialists everywhere quickly realized the sins of their ways the day they received their first paycheck….or, the percentage they were allowed to take home at least.  (Oh, I’m sorry, did you think you were getting the full amount?)

The tax system in the United States is terribly complicated, and when all of the rules, regulations and instructions are written out, it fills more than 70,000 pages. The darn thing is so confusing that Americans spend about $300 billion per year to hire professionals to pay their taxes for them.

But it wasn’t always this way. On the wall of the Tax Foundation in downtown Washington DC is a copy of the first tax return form printed in 1913. It’s a whopping four pages…and that includes the instructions. Anyone who has paid taxes in the past 90 years know all too well that those good old days are long gone.

Not to be outdone (nor shortchanged) the federal government also enacted the corporate tax in 1909, which has grown steadily over the decades. Today, the United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the entire industrialized world. Even Canada has a higher rating when it comes to economic freedom. (Some companies are even closing up shop and moving across the border!)

Taxes, in one form or another, are necessary. The government does have a role to play, and it takes funds to fulfill their obligations. But we have come a long way from the low-tax, simplified code of yesteryear.

From the looks of things ahead, it doesn’t look like we’ll be headed in that direction any time soon. So enjoy your 100 candles, income tax. It looks like you have a long life ahead.

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