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Income Tax: Why We Have It

March 26, 2009
Alan Stang

Tote that barge, lift that bale, and make sure you pay on time. April 15th approaches and my guess is that only a relative handful of Americans knows why we have the income tax. With rare exceptions, they will exclaim that we must have the income tax to “pay the expenses of the government.” Of course the truth is exactly the opposite. The income tax has nothing to do with paying the expenses of the government.

First an obvious fact, something you already know. When was the country created? Pick a date. Many would pick July 4th, 1776, when the Continental Congress adopted the nation’s birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence. Many others would pick the date of ratification of the Constitution. Let’s arbitrarily use 1776.

Now, when did we get the income tax? Except for the temporary income tax during Lincoln’s Communist War to Destroy the Union, there was no income tax in this country until 1913, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld its validity in Brushaber, 240 U.S. 1. Indeed, even then it did not affect more than a handful of our people.

The story continues …..

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