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A Brief History of The U. S. Tax Code

I do not have a college degree, but I have been a student of history, and politics for many years.


The Income Tax Started With Passage of The 16th Amendment

For over 100 years now, our Federal Government has been using the U. S. Tax code to try and establish a Socialist Utopia here in the United States. I firmly believe that both Political Parties here in the U.S. have gone way past Socialism, getting closer to Fascism, and the winner will institute Communism to preserve their power. There are only two things in their way, WE THE PEOPLE, and the Constitution, which protects our Rights as Individuals.

We need to vote for politicians who put permanent limits on how much of our money they can take from us in the form of an Income Tax. Letting those in Washington know, in no uncertain terms, that is is our money, not theirs. I hope to explain in this article, using facts from our history, why? Because I believe to many people today have no understanding of our Constitution, and the freedoms that it gives us.

History of the Income Tax: 1862-1895

The Income Tax was first started in 1862 to help the Union fund the Union Army during the Civil War, subsequent reconstruction of the South afterwards. At the end of Reconstruction, this tax was ended in 1873. (Imagine that, the Federal Government actually getting rid of a TAX.)

In 1893, the Federal Government tried to reinstate the Income Tax. This lasted for one year. Claiming that this was a direct tax on the Citizens, therefore Unconstitutional; citing Article 1 Section 9, Clause 4 of the U. S. Constitution. And in its Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co decision of 1895, the Supreme Court agreed.

Income taxes were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1895. This decision stood until the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913. (

Although California was admitted to the Union in 1849, there was not a big push to settle the area between the East and West coast until the 1870's

During the period between 1873 and 1893, with very little interference or regulation from Washington, the Nation expanded West. Stage Coaches were used to connect all the smaller communities to larger towns that had railroad service. Eventually the Railroad ran across the entire country. The stage lines and railroads were financed, in part, by the Federal Government under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 of the Constitution (To establish Post Offices and post Roads.)

Both were used to ship U.S. Mail to the West Coast, and all stops in between. They also cut travel time down to days, instead of weeks by Stage Coach, or months by wagons.

Tax Rates 1913-1918

Both political parties worked together over the next 18 years to get the 16th Amendment ratified on February 3, 1913.

It took President Woodrow Wilson and Congress less than a year than a year to implement new legislation governing the now Constitutional Income Tax.

After the 16th amendment was ratified in 1913, the federal tax code was changed 4 times using WWI as cause. It went from 1% on Incomes of less than than $20.000 to 7% on incomes over $500,000.

By the end of WWI, the tax on those individuals in the lowest income bracket had gone from 1% on less than $20,000 to 7% on incomes less than $2,000. And a maximum of 77% on incomes over $1,000,000.

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The Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression

Starting with the Revenue Act of 1921,

the income tax on top wage earners dropped to 58% on those making over $200,000. This left wealthier individuals with more money to invest in the new post war economy. Then in 1925, when the Revenue Act of 1924 took effect the maximum tax rate was only 25% on incomes greater than $100.000, this left the wealthy with more money in their pockets to invest in private sector businesses, creating almost 8 years of economic growth known as the 'Roaring Twenties'. This growth was financed by wealthy individuals who, because of the Tax cuts enacted in 1921 had more money to invest in private sector businesses. Automobile Manufacturing, skyrocketed with the assembly line. And as more Industries went to the assembly line model, even more jobs were created.


Photo's From The Great Depression

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother

Great Depression: soup kitchen

Great Depression: soup kitchen

The Great Depression and The Rise of Socialism

(Wikipedia) The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Great Crash, was a major American stock market crash that occurred in the autumn of 1929. It started in September and ended late in October, when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed.

The collapsed of the London Stock Exchange in September of 1929 triggered a major sell-off on the New York Stock Exchange, which finally collapsed on October 29, 1929.

To combat the effects of this collapse, the Federal did what it has always done in times of crisis, It raised TAXES.

  • It Started with the Revenue Act of 1932- Raised the tax to 63% on incomes over $1,000,000, which further restricted Capital for private sector investment. It also raised the tax rate in the lowest bracket from 1.5% to 4%.
  • With the Revenue Act of 1934, they placed restrictions on private sector investment and job creation by raising the Tax on people making between $1,000,000-$2,000,000 to 77%, and 79% on people making more than $5,000,000.

The attempts to spur the economy included, but were not limited to direct payments, sent out by check to lower income individuals who had lost their jobs during the crash. Tax free checks from the Government and an almost tripling of taxes on wages earned, led many individuals to chose the lifestyle depicted in the song

I'll Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms

Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms

Attempts to spur the economy included, but were not limited to direct payments, sent out by check to lower income individuals who had lost their jobs during the crash. Tax free checks from the Government and an almost tripling of taxes on wages earned, led many individuals to chose the lifestyle depicted in this song.

Which was first recorded by Buster Carter and Preston Young

. (June 26, 1931)

Either the song inspired the Lifestyle, or the Lifestyle inspired the song, hard to say.

Welcome to the Welfare State!

World War II to the mid 1960's

(According to Wikipedia)

WWII started in 1939 with the Invasion of Poland by both German and Russian Forces. It began on September 1, 1939 with Germany invaded of Poland from the east. The Soviet Union invaded from the west on September 17. By October 6, the invasion was over and Germany and Russia had divided Poland between them. Being faced with the possibility of another war in Europe, what did our Government do? Once again they raised taxes. Again, and again.

  • The Revenue Act of 1940- Raised the Tax in the highest bracket to 81%. On anyone making more than $5,000,000.
  • The Revenue Act of 1941- Raised the highest tax bracket to 88%, while lowering the threshold for this bracket to only $200,000. It also raised the tax rate of those making less than $2,000 a year to 19%
  • By 1944 the tax rate had hit 94% for those making over $200,000, and 23% for those in the lowest tax bracket <$2,000.

Congress left this top bracket above 90% until the mid 1960.s. Imagine making $200,000 in one year and when the tax man got thru taking the Governments fair share, you had less around $12,000 for you and your family to live on. Not a whole lot left over for investment, is their.

The End Result of Socialism is Communism, Being Ruled Like Slaves by Tyrants.

Socialism and Communism both sound good in Theory, until you realize that everything, including its CITIZENS, belong to the State. Do you realize that if the IRS thinks you have lied on your taxes, they can go to a Federal Tax Judge and get a warrant to freeze your bank account, seize your property, and throw you in prison. No 5th Amendment protections. No trail. Just a seizure of your assets.

Now you are forced to hire a Tax Lawyer to help you get your property back. If your seized assets large enough, a lawyer will do it for a percentage of the moneys recovered. Unfortunately, the average working class individual does not have the assets to make it worth a lawyers time, so they end up sleeping under an overpass in a tent, if they can afford the tent.

Back to my proposition, I think it is time for We The People to tell our elected officials NO MORE, and start electing Representatives who will fight to limit taxes.

© 2022 Joseph Barrow

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