In 1893, the Supreme Court found income taxes unconstitutional. But, left liberals began a “soak the rich” campaign, which set the economic classes against each other. Left liberal Democrats introduced bills to tax the incomes of the wealthy, but Senate Republican conservatives stopped them, enabling Democrats to brand Republicans as “the party of the rich.” In 1909, Sen. Joseph Bailey, a conservative Democrat opposed to an income tax, introduced an income tax bill, which he intended not for passage, just to further embarass republicans.
As the bill gained popularity among the envious, Senate Republicans found a strategy they thought would destroy it: They introduced Sen. Bailey’s bill as a constitutional amendment, thinking it would be impossible for any faction to get it ratified. But, on June 16, 1909, President Taft, to prevent the perception that he supported only wealthy interests, gave a speech recommending adoption. The “soak the rich” campaign propelled the bill to legislative passage and subsequent ratification. It became the law of the land on Feb. 12, 1913. This bill was dishonestly bulldozed through only for political gain.
At first, the tax was only 1 percent of the first $20,000 of taxable income and graduated to 7 percent of income above $500,000. Most people didn’t fall into any taxable income bracket and, as recently as 1939, only about 5 percent of the population were required to file returns. The rich found a loophole in the measure and created charitable foundations to hide their money. This evasion eventually exposed only the middle class and, indirectly, the poor to the ultimate burden of becoming the primary source of government tax revenue — where it remains today.
Restore Article VI of the Bill of Rights instead of just paying lip service to it with our fingers and toes crossed. Repeal all personal taxes. Use excise taxes and tariffs the way they were intended. Jim Dixon Southwest Harbor