One Hundred years ago today, (October 3) President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the modern federal income tax.
So where are the parties?
There are no Centennial celebrations I know of; no laudatory commemorative speeches from our politicians, and even Willard Scott overlooked mention of this centenarian on his Today Show birthday wishes.
Why is no one celebrating?
Perhaps it’s because of the way citizens think about taxes. Some proudly point out that since 1913 federal income taxes have helped our country fight two world wars, put a man on the moon, fight fires, feed hungry children and plenty more.
And then there are others who don’t like that our taxes have been used to run military assault weapons to Mexican drug lords and Al Qaeda jihadists in Libya and Syria, bail out incompetently run corporations, payoff unions and other political cronies, fund the government’s takeover of what — until now — was the world’s health care ideal (just ask the Canadians and Brits who used to flock here for treatment), and generally punish the human spirit’s unquenchable desire to take risk and flourish in the world of commerce.
Seems to me what each side is speaking to is the difference in the limits put on the way federal taxes are applied. That should be easy enough to spot. When government applies its taxing authority under its Constitutionally enumerated powers, good things can (and we expect to) happen. It’s when the national legislature (and the Chief Executive) feel they are beyond the legal and moral moorings of the Constitution, as they do now, that societal rot gets its boost.
It’s like what my grandmother once said to me many years ago as she gently rubbed calamine lotion over the poison ivy on my arm. I asked her innocently if the lotion will make it worse.
“Of course not. It’s all in the application, Bubula.”