A brief history of the income tax in America

Feb. 3 was hardly a day for celebration, but it’s a date we should be familiar with nonetheless.

All of my school-age children will be reading this, and then we will discuss it.  The discussion part is for my sake, not theirs.  It’s the only way I’ll remember a bit of it, and it’s important stuff.


  1. I find it interesting, taxes, that is. My husband is in the military. (oh we are in the 24% bracket and do pay taxes) But the idea that we pay taxes to pay ourselves…that is a funny one…

    Anyway, taxes I don’t 100% agree with and think that our gov, has out grown itself. However, it is what the “masses” want. I do get confussed with the idea that I pay taxes and homeschool…so my kids are not in a classroom but they can not take part of school sports that I too pay for.

    I do get upset when I hear that others do not “pay” (meaning that they don’t even file) taxes. I understand a family who does not have to pay because of income or size of the family. But when I hear someone say that they don’t like the government so they are not going to file. That upsets me.

  2. I’m curious – do you pay income tax?
    What percentage of your income goes to taxes?

    I ask because most people with a family as large as yours pay little to no taxes because of the child tax credit.

    In return I’ll answer the same question: 25% to 30%

    • Violet,
      You asked 2 separate questions.
      On the first, you’re right. We pay little to no income tax.
      Your second question was regarding how much of our income goes to taxes. I couldn’t begin to tell you. We buy a lot of gasoline and pay taxes on every gallon. We pay property taxes for public schools we will never use. We pay tax on our cellphone bill. We pay sales tax on all of our non-food purchases. The prices we pay for retail purchases are also inflated by the increased costs of manufacturers who pay corporate taxes and the tax on the gas required to get the goods to market. The list goes on. I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface.

      In spite of the fact that we pay little or no income tax, we still think the income tax is a symptom of an overgrown government. Income tax oppresses the economy, harming all of us.

      It’s no coincidence that a graduated income tax is one of the foundational tenets of the Communist Manifesto, written in part by Karl Marx himself. A graduated income tax punishes the rich – those who tend to create the most jobs in our economy. This results in lost jobs for those near the bottom, the ones who seem to benefit most when they pay little to no income tax.

      Yes, I believe that even a flat tax – which would increase our own out-of-pocket tax expenses – would be better for everyone, including us. But no income tax at all would be best. Our nation thrived long before the first tiny income tax was enacted as an emergency fundraising measure during war. Now it’s crumbling under the crippling weight of an overfed government.

  3. Oh dear… don’t get me started on the income tax…

    It’s a terrible, unconstitutional abuse of power. And not as much by the government as the IRS… it’s just that the government is allowing this robbery to go on because well I guess money talks?

    Those who are in the least concerned that getting rid of the income tax (which technically doesn’t even exist anyway if you consider there is NO LAW requiring it of inidividual citizens for their labor) would destroy our capability to run a government no worries my friend. All of your hard-earned money is going to pay off the interest on the defecit. Not one penny goes to really anything else (oh… right… except of course the IRS).

    Funding the government comes from constitutionally appropriate sources such as sales taxes and legitimate income taxes for companys who are making a PROFIT. Not employees who are simply trading their labor for money.

  4. Small but pertinent point someone brought to my attention a few years back: April 15 is about as far across the calendar as you can get from election day in November. Coincidence? I think not.
    Wonder if or how things would change if we moved tax day to Oct.1 or Nov. 1… Hmm…

  5. Hi, Perry,

    Thanks so much for your note. I really love your blog and in no way intend to be disrespectful in any way, shape, or form. I enjoy the dialogue, actually. Please see my thoughts below…

    1. The blog post you are referring to starts when the federal givernment constutionally requires filling the coffers. My point is that prior to the contitution requiring federal taxation, states taxed copiously instead of the federal government. So I am not sure if the importance of the blog post in your mind was to disagree with federal taxation and revert back to state taxation only, or to disagree with all taxation (or maybe neither, or maybe both?).

    2. I was in no way saying that is the government does not supply services we will descend into third world status. However, all third world countries have effectively no method of collecting and dissiminating funds to fulfil the role of government (whatever that is, really, it is up to each citizen in my mind to determine what the government should do)… this is a common attribute of developing nations, the lack of means to collect and deploy capital effectively. My comment was trying to point out that there is a reason that developed nations are developed… and it has to do in many ways with the way these governments have developed processes to tax individuals and corporations (and everyone in between) and then deploy the money collected for the comomon good (whatever that means to each individual.

    3. Notwithstanding the foregoing, I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that the government needs less money to do its job (whatever that is). I am just not sure with what this statement has to do with the constitutional mandate for taxation.

    5. I have read “Democracy in Amerca” as well, and it was written at a time when women could not vote and slavery was rampant. Heretics were killed and only rich white men could puchase property. However, at least there was a judicial system to handle the property transactions! De Tocueville also believed that the US should remain a colony, but you must take into considering that he was basically sent by the French to scope our the burgeoning English colonies (he in theory sent to review our penel system), and given France’s experience with slavery and colonization in Haiti (eg the first mass revolt of slaves in the Western hemisphere to drive the colonizers out of the colonized region) he had political reasons to encourage colonization.

    4. The “services” I am referring to are quite basic, I my mind… public saftey (domestic & international), a judicial system, public education, and maybe a few more items like protection of our inalienable rights, but these would be my top picks.

    Many thanks and have a great weekend!!!! I look forward to your response.

    Very kind regards,



  6. Hi, so is the issue that you would rather leave the issue of raising funds sufficient to support the government to the states (which is what happened prior to the proposed amendment discussed in the linked blog post), or you would prefer that the government raises no funds (and in return provides no services, similar to what I would call third world countries)? I’m not sure what your position is on this. Great blog, I read it every day!

    • @Denice

      We would rather the government keeps to its Constitutional boundaries therefore needing less money to do its job. It’s a pretty far stretch to say that if the Government doesn’t supply services we will descend into third world conditions…read De Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” and you hardly come away with the idea that America was a third world country before all the “services” were offered.

      In fact I’m curious, will you tell us what services you are referring to?

  7. I would love to hear what your kids come up with after reading that.

  8. Hadn’t heard that before. Very interesting. I like the plan that backfired twist [smile].


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