On The 100th Anniversary of the Income Tax

Woodrow Wilson signed the Income Tax into law one hundred years ago today. As direct taxation of Americans was prohibited by the Constitution, a constitutional amendment was necessary before what would become the Revenue Act of 1913 could be legally imposed. The income tax, and the enabling amendment, were sold to the voters as necessary for a tax on rich people that would mean lower taxes and cheaper goods (due to lowered tariffs) for everyone else. Only one percent of the population was subject to the tax then, and the tax rate was one percent.  The voters need not worry, they were told, because regular people would never ever pay the income tax.

A Brief Income Tax Reader:

Frank Chodorov :: Income Tax: Root of All Evil

The Origin of the Income Tax - Adam Young – Mises Daily

Real Tax Reform – Laurence M. Vance – Mises Daily

The Consumption Tax: A Critique – Murray N. Rothbard – Mises Daily

“The Tax Was Most Popular Before It Was Laid” :: The Circle Bastiat

1040 Plunder – Lee S. Wishing – Mises Daily



  1. With the power of hindsight and an understanding of how government works, it should neither be unexpected or surprising that government promises are rarely, if ever, kept. Individuals and consenting groups of individuals can be expected to keep promises in limited circumstances for limited periods of time. Diffuse, enormous organizations consisting of warring factions with the power to make up their own rules should never be expected to keep their promises or obligations.

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