100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax

100 Years Old And Still Killing UsDid you know that the greatest period of economic growth in American history was during a time when there was absolutely no federal income tax?  Between the end of the Civil War and 1913, there was an explosion of economic activity in the United States unlike anything ever seen before or since.  Unfortunately, a federal income tax was instituted in 1913, and this year it turned 100 years old.  But there was no fanfare, was there?  There was no celebration because the federal income tax is universally hated.  Sadly, most Americans just assume that there is no other option to an income tax.  Most Americans just assume that it has always been with us and that it will always be with us.  This year, the American people will shell out approximately $4.22 trillion in state and federal income taxes.  That amount is equivalent to approximately 29.4 percent of all income that Americans will bring in this year, and that does not even take into account the dozens of other taxes that Americans pay each year.  At this point, the U.S. tax code is about 13 miles long, and those that are honest and pay their taxes every year are being absolutely shredded by this system.  But wouldn’t the federal government go broke if we didn’t have a federal income tax?  No, actually the truth is that the federal government did just fine before there was an income tax.  In fact, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve were created by Congress back in 1913.  As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve system was actually designed to trap the United States in a debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape, and the federal income tax was needed to greatly expand the size of the federal government and to soak the American people of the funds necessary to service that debt.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  America was once much better off before the income tax and the Federal Reserve were created, and we could easily go to such a system again.

What we desperately need to do is to teach the American people a little history lesson.  The truth is that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was between the Civil War and 1913 when there was no federal income tax at all.  The following is from Wikipedia

The Gilded Age saw the greatest period of economic growth in American history. After the short-lived panic of 1873, the economy recovered with the advent of hard money policies and industrialization. From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for real GDP and 4.5% for real GDP per capita, despite the panic of 1873.  The economy repeated this period of growth in the 1880s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, while the GDP was also doubled.

Sadly, most Americans cannot even conceive of an economy like that.  Most Americans cannot even imagine having a nation without a massively bloated federal government and without an unelected central bank centrally planning our financial system.

But you know what?

It worked.  In fact, it worked fantastically well.

The period between the Civil War and 1913 propelled the United States to greatness.  Just check out all of the good things that Wikipedia says happened for the U.S. economy during those years…

The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy. By 1890, the USA leaped ahead of Britain for first place in manufacturing output.

An explosion of new discoveries and inventions took place, a process called the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Railroads greatly expanded the mileage and built stronger tracks and bridges that handled heavier cars and locomotives, carrying far more goods and people at lower rates. Refrigeration railroad cars came into use. The telephone, phonograph, typewriter and electric light were invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, cars had begun to replace horse-drawn carriages.

Parallel to these achievements was the development of the nation’s industrial infrastructure. Coal was found in abundance in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania south to Kentucky. Oil was discovered in western Pennsylvania; it was mainly used for lubricants and for kerosene for lamps. Large iron ore mines opened in the Lake Superior region of the upper Midwest. Steel mills thrived in places where these coal and iron ore could be brought together to produce steel. Large copper and silver mines opened, followed by lead mines and cement factories.

In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, a step in the process that became known as mass-production.

But if we didn’t have an income tax, how did we fund the government?  Well, we mostly did it with tariffs and excise taxes.  The following is from a recent article by Thomas R. Eddlem

Prior to ratification of the 16th (income tax) Amendment in February 1913, the federal government managed its few constitutional responsibilities without an income tax, except during the Civil War period. During peacetime, it did so largely — or even entirely — on import taxes called “tariffs.” Congress could afford to run the federal government on tariffs alone because federal responsibilities did not include welfare programs, agricultural subsidies, or social insurance programs like Social Security or Medicare. After the Civil War, tariff revenues sometimes suffered under a protectionist policy ushered in by the Republican Party that supplemented federal income via excises on alcohol, tobacco, and inheritances. But before the war, the need for tariff revenue to finance the federal government generally kept the tariff at reasonable levels. During wartime throughout early American history, the Founding Fathers were able to raise additional revenue employing a different method of direct taxation authorized by the U.S. Constitution prior to the 16th Amendment. These alternative taxing methods gave the young American nation embarrassing peacetime budget surpluses that several times came close to paying off the national debt.

So why didn’t we stick with that system?

Well, early in the 20th century the “progressives” and the social planners started to take control in Washington.

And one of the things that “progressives” and social planners love is an income tax.  In fact, the second plank of the Communist Manifesto is a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax”.

Of course they promised us that income tax rates would always remain low.  And at first they were quite low.  The following is from an article by Adam Young

The presidential election of 1912 was contested between three advocates of an income tax. The winner, Woodrow Wilson, after the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, called a special session of Congress in April 1913, which proceeded to pass an income tax of 1% on incomes above $3,000 and applied surcharges between 2% and 7% on income from $20,000 to $500,000.

But once the “progressives” and the social planners get their feet in the door, they always want more.

And we have seen how things have worked out.  Today, the American people are being taxed into oblivion.

In a previous article entitled “Show This To Anyone That Believes That Taxes Are Too Low“, I listed dozens of other taxes that the American people pay each year in addition to federal and state income taxes…

#1 Building Permit Taxes

#2 Capital Gains Taxes

#3 Cigarette Taxes

#4 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#5 Dog License Taxes

#6 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

#7 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#8 Fishing License Taxes

#9 Food License Taxes

#10 Gasoline Taxes

#11 Gift Taxes

#12 Hunting License Taxes

#13 Inheritance Taxes

#14 Inventory Taxes

#15 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#16 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#17 Liquor Taxes

#18 Luxury Taxes

#19 Marriage License Taxes

#20 Medicare Taxes

#21 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare

#22 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)

#23 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income that goes into effect next year)

#24 Property Taxes

#25 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#26 Toll Booth Taxes

#27 Sales Taxes

#28 Self-Employment Taxes

#29 School Taxes

#30 Septic Permit Taxes

#31 Service Charge Taxes

#32 Social Security Taxes

#33 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#34 Tanning Tax (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)

#35 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes

#36 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes

#37 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes

#38 Telephone State And Local Taxes

#39 Tire Taxes

#40 Tolls (another form of taxation)

#41 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#42 Utility Taxes

#43 Vehicle Registration Taxes

#44 Workers Compensation Taxes

Yet even with all of these taxes, our local governments, our state governments and our federal government are all absolutely drowning in debt.

In another previous article entitled “24 Outrageous Facts About Taxes In The United States That Will Blow Your Mind“, I listed a number of reasons why our federal income tax system has become a complete and utter abomination that can never be fixed…

1 – The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

2 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 7.6 billion hours complying with federal tax requirements.  Imagine what our society would look like if all that time was spent on more economically profitable activities.

3 – 75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long.  Today, they are 189 pages long.

4 – There have been 4,428 changes to the tax code over the last decade.  It is incredibly costly to change tax software, tax manuals and tax instruction booklets for all of those changes.

5 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, the IRS currently has 1,999 different publications, forms, and instruction sheets that you can download from the IRS website.

6 – Our tax system has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to file your taxes correctly.  For example, back in 1998 Money Magazine had 46 different tax professionals complete a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All 46 of them came up with a different result.

7 – In 2009, PC World had five of the most popular tax preparation software websites prepare a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All five of them came up with a different result.

8 – The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes.

9 – According to The Tax Foundation, the average American has to work until April 17th just to pay federal, state, and local taxes.  Back in 1900, “Tax Freedom Day” came on January 22nd.

10 – When the U.S. government first implemented a personal income tax back in 1913, the vast majority of the population paid a rate of just 1 percent, and the highest marginal tax rate was just 7 percent.

11 – Residents of New Jersey pay $1.64 in taxes for every $1.00 of federal spending that they get back.

12 – The United States is the only nation on the planet that tries to tax citizens on what they earn in foreign countries.

13 – According to Forbes, the 400 highest earning Americans pay an average federal income tax rate of just 18 percent.

14 – Warren Buffett had an effective tax rate of just 17.4 percent for 2010.

15 – The top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.

16 – Sadly, as Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.

17 – The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world (35 percent).  In Ireland, the corporate tax rate is only 12.5 percent.  This is causing thousands of corporations to move operations out of the United States and into other countries.

18 – Some tax havens are doing a booming business in setting up sham headquarters for U.S. corporations.  For example, the city of Zug, Switzerland only has a population of 26,000 people but it is the headquarters for 30,000 companies.

19 – In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.  In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

The wealthy have become absolute masters at avoiding taxes, and the poor are not able to pay much.

So who always gets squeezed?

The middle class does.

No matter what our politicians promise us, the hammer is always brought down on the middle class.

And now, according to The Huffington Post, the IRS says that it can even read our old emails without a warrant to make sure that we are paying all of the taxes that we should be…

The IRS apparently interprets that authority very broadly, the documents show: as long as you’ve stored your email in a cloud service like Google Mail, and as long as those emails haven’t been deleted after a few months, the agency thinks it doesn’t need a warrant to read them.

The idea of IRS agents poking through your email account might sound at the very least creepy, and maybe unconstitutional. But the IRS does have a legal leg to stand on: the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 allows government agencies to in many cases obtain emails older than 180 days without a warrant.

That’s why an internal 2009 IRS document claimed that “the government may obtain the contents of electronic communication that has been in storage for more than 180 days” without a warrant.

It should be noted that the IRS is claiming that it does not use emails “to target” specific taxpayers, but notice that they are not promising not to use old emails against taxpayers once they are officially being audited or investigated…

“Contrary to some suggestions, the IRS does not use emails to target taxpayers. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”

In any event, the truth is that we have one of the most complicated and one of the most intrusive tax systems in the history of the world.

Don’t the American people deserve better?

What do you think?

Should America go back to a system where there is no income tax and no Federal Reserve?

Please feel free to share what you think by leaving a comment below…

America Is Broke

Are You Better Off? 40 Statistics That Will Absolutely Shock You

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  This is a question that comes up nearly every election.  This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it: #AreYouBetterOff.  The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not.  So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago?  Of course not.  One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago.  But the same thing was true four years ago as well.  Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time.  The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this.  A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: “Decline of middle class not Obama’s fault“, and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November.  But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy.  So who should we blame?

Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is “above politics” and that their “independence” must never be questioned.

Unfortunately, most Americans have gone along with that.

But the truth is that the debt-based financial system that the Federal Reserve is at the core of is absolutely central to our economic problems.  If you do not understand this, please see this article: “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve“.

The Federal Reserve has done more to mess up our economy than anyone else has.

So shouldn’t they be held accountable?

That is a very good question.

Have you ever wondered why financial markets move so dramatically whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech?

The same thing does not happen when Barack Obama gives a speech.

That is because the financial markets know who holds the real power in our financial system.

But during this election season the American people are told to put all of their attention on the “red team” and the “blue team”.  We are told that the two major political parties are philosophical opposites and that they want to take the United States is two completely different directions.

The “true believers” on the blue team are completely and totally convinced that Barack Obama will be able to rescue the economy and save America.

The “true believers” on the red team are completely and totally convinced that Mitt Romney will be able to rescue the economy and save America.

Once upon a time I was one of those political activists.  I was fully convinced that America could be turned around if we could just get enough Republicans into office.

But then I noticed that nothing really seemed to change no matter who was in power.  I became disillusioned as I realized that Republicans were doing things pretty much the exact same way that Democrats were doing them when they got into power.

Yes, there are some minor differences between the two parties on taxes and regulations.

If we elect one guy over the other our economy might decline at a slightly different pace.

But in the end both political parties are taking us to the exact same place.

Down the toilet.

I wish that wasn’t true.

But we need to be honest with ourselves….

-Both parties fully support the Federal Reserve.

-Both parties supported the nomination of Ben Bernanke to a second term as the head of the Federal Reserve.

-Both parties endlessly push the job-killing “free trade” agenda of the global elite.

-Both parties see nothing wrong with running absolutely enormous trade deficits with the rest of the world.

-Both parties supported TARP.

-Both parties supported the “economic stimulus” packages.

-Both parties supported the auto industry bailouts.

-Both parties have run up massive amounts of federal debt when in power.

-Both parties have greatly expanded the size of the federal government when in power.

-Both parties are full of control freaks and both parties have added more layers of ridiculous regulations to our already overburdened society when in power.

-Neither party supports getting rid of the income tax or the IRS.

-Neither party has any intention of doing anything to prevent the coming derivatives crisis that could bring down the entire global financial system.

-Both parties are absolutely showered with cash from the big Wall Street banks.

-Both parties think that the TSA is doing a great job.

-Both parties supported the NDAA and the renewal of the Patriot Act.

-Both parties have greatly expanded the unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens by government agencies.

-Both parties are extremely soft on illegal immigration.

-Both parties have treated military veterans horribly.

-Both parties are absolutely packed with corrupt politicians that are living the high life at your expense.

-Neither party plans to balance the federal budget in 2013 if their candidate wins the election.

-Neither party has a plan that will fix our deeply broken health care system.

-Neither party has any plans to shut down the Federal Reserve.  In fact, both parties see absolutely nothing wrong with our current system.

Of course this list could go on indefinitely, but hopefully you get the point.

But I can understand those that are deeply frustrated with Barack Obama and that desperately want to avoid another four years of his policies.

I also believe that Barack Obama has been the worst president in U.S. history and that he and his entire cabinet should immediately resign in disgrace.

However, the Republican party foolishly chose to nominate the Republican candidate that was most like Barack Obama to run against him.

That was an enormous mistake.

No matter what the talk radio shows are telling you, the truth is that this country will continue on pretty much the same path no matter who wins the election.

I know that statement is going to make a lot of people angry.  But it is the sad reality of what we are facing.

Even if you focus on just the economy, the truth is that Mitt Romney’s “five point plan” is almost exactly the same thing that Barack Obama has been saying.

Many Americans believe that since Mitt Romney made lots of money on Wall Street conducting leveraged buyouts of vulnerable corporations that he understands how to fix our economy.

Sadly, that is not the truth.

I have listened to many Romney speeches about the economy and I keep waiting for some pearls of wisdom, but I have found that he is just as clueless about the economy as our other recent presidents have been.

Look, I know that there are a lot of people out there that have good hearts that want to have someone that they can believe in.

They want to believe that things can get better.

They want to have hope.

And I don’t blame them for that.

I just think that it is time to pull our heads out of the sand and realize that things are not going to be getting any better.

A political savior on a white horse is not going to come riding in to save the day.

So by this point in the article a whole lot of Democrats and a whole lot of Republicans are very upset with me.

But I am not against you.  There is way too much hate in our society today.  Even if we disagree with someone else we can still love them.

I just think that it is very important that we understand that there is not going to be a solution to our problems on the national level and that our economy is headed for collapse no matter who gets elected.

The total amount of debt in the United States has risen from less than 2 trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion dollars over the past 40 years, and there is nothing that Barack Obama or Mitt Romney can do to prevent the “correction” that is coming.

So are Americans better off than they were four years ago?

Of course not.

But things will soon get a whole lot worse no matter how the election turns out.

The following are 40 statistics that will absolutely shock you….

#1 During the time Barack Obama has been in the White House, median household income has fallen by 7.3 percent.

#2 Back in 2007, 19.2 percent of all American families had a net worth of zero or less than zero.  By 2010, that figure had soared to 32.5 percent.

#3 According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of American families dropped “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.

#4 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971.  Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are “middle income”.

#5 Back in 1970, middle income Americans brought home 62 percent of all income in the United States.  In 2010, middle income Americans only brought home 45 percent of all income.

#6 The unemployment rate in the United States has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months.

#7 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 35 months in a row.

#8 In June, the number of Americans added to the food stamp rolls was nearly three times larger than the number of jobs added to the U.S. economy.

#9 Approximately 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

#10 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of long-term unemployed Americans has risen from 2.7 million to 5.2 million.

#11 Today, the average duration of unemployment in the United States is about three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

#12 According to a report that has just been released by the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.

#13 According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs”.

#14 In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.

#15 The average pay for self-employed Americans fell by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.

#16 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.  During 2010 it got even worse.  That year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.

#17 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#18 While Barack Obama has been president the velocity of money has plunged to a post-World War II low.

#19 According to one recent survey, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.

#20 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#21 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#22 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.

#23 Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.

#24 As I wrote about yesterday, back in 1980 less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP was spent on health care but now about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

#25 In a previous article, I noted that 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#26 Family budgets in America are being stretched to the breaking point.  Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#27 While Barack Obama has been president, U.S. home values have fallen by another 11 percent.

#28 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.

#29 The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita.  Today we have slipped to #11.

#30 Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6.4 million.

#31 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in the year 2000 to 31.9 million when Barack Obama entered the White House to 46.7 million today.

#32 Approximately one-fourth of all U.S. children are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.

#33 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#34 It is estimated that child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.

#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#36 As I wrote about the other day, it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#37 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

#38 The number of Americans receiving federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

#39 At this point, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.

#40 Amazingly, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.

So are you better off than you used to be or worse off?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

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