Blogs > Liberty and Power > Exploiting the Workers

Apr 14, 2006 3:44 pm

Exploiting the Workers

I discuss tax day here, mainly focusing on taxes as an assault on the workers to benefit the corporate state, and why liberals should come to recognize that once again.

I briefly mention in passing one little bit of history that a lot of Americans, including educated libertarians, seem not to know, despite its not being that obscure or esoteric: that the Income Tax Amendment was the dirty work of Republican William Howard Taft. I've often been challenged on this by libertarians who say it was Democrat Woodrow Wilson, but Taft backed the Amendment from 1909 to 1913 until it was finally ratifed by the states, years after the House and Senate approved it with overwhelming bipartisan support, a month before Taft left office. Why is it that people seem to think the Income Tax was Wilson's doing? Could it be because it was under Wilson that the tax really began to take a bite, and especially, at tyrannical rates, during World War I? Or is it just because Wilson was a Progressive Democrat and there seems to be a bizarre misconception, on both the left and right, that the trustbuster Taft was some sort of laissez faire politician, a throwback to the horse-and-buggy days?

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Anthony Gregory - 4/17/2006

Well of course your book covered it!

By the way, to anyone who's reading this and hasn't read Sheldon's great book on the income tax, I must highly recommend it. It cuts right to the core of income tax's evil, pulls no punches, and emphasizes liberty, rather than economic efficiency, as the most important value at stake.

Sheldon Richman - 4/14/2006

"Taft urged Republifcans party leaders in New York to support the [income tax] amendment, putting to rest the theory that he regarded the amendment process as the burial ground of the income tax." Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax, p. 78.