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Civilization Will Not Disappear When The Income Tax Does

In 1911, two years before the passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, Edwin Seligman published an exhaustive history of the income tax ostensibly as a way to sell the idea to the American public. Apparently, it must have helped, because the Amendment was subsequently adopted.

Having come to oppose this form of taxation within the last several years based on the principle that, no matter how you slice it, it is a tax on our fundamental human right to work in order to sustain our lives, I thought it would be a good idea to read a comprehensive work such as Seligman’s that was written at the time our ancestors were debating the very subject. I admit that in the back of my mind, I thought, “But what if this 700-page tome ends up converting me back to a position in support of the tax? What would I say to all my friends to whom I’ve been preaching against it? So many words to eat!” These thoughts (along with the book’s length) really did cause me some hesitation, but I figured it wasn’t about who is right, but about what is right. I’m not afraid to be wrong – it’s happened before. (The book, for those itching to jump in, is entitled: The Income Tax: A Study of the History, Theory, and Practice of Income Taxation at Home and Abroad, by Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman.)

So, I spent many weeks reading the book and annotating as I went along. If I had to sum up over 700 pages of a well-documented, thorough treatment of the subject, it would be as follows: even though neither the nation nor its individual states need the income tax for revenue purposes, we should adopt it as a means of bringing equality and fairness to taxation, so that the wealthy are made to pay their fair share. That’s it! And I had to laugh when I finished the last page and closed the book. My position on the tax is not only unchanged, but stronger than it was before.

read the entire post here.


A friend of mine posted this on his blog, thought it was worth sharing.