05 August 2008

Live on Location

This week, Smitty's World will be coming to you on location from Anderson, South Carolina. If I remember to post, that is. I'm getting some work done on the new house to make it move-in ready, so we can get up here soon and I can get a job. Yaay, job.

Speaking of jobs, today is a grim anniversary indeed for Americans. On this date in 1861, the United States government, in an effort to pay for the Civil War, first instituted an income tax. Boo! Hiss! The tax was to total 3% of all income over $600. My how inflation has changed us, huh; in 1861 $600 would buy you a quarter section in the Midwest, a house from the Sears catalog to put on it, and enough seed to plant your first crop of corn.

The tax was rescinded in 1872, although Congress passed and rescinded various income taxes several times before the Supreme Court, God bless them, determined that an income tax was unconstitutional in an 1895 case. This led to the wretched and unspeakable 16th Amendment, passed in 1913, authorizing Congress to levy a tax on incomes "from whatever source derived."

I've always wondered whether money launderers and other criminals who, of course, never report the proceeds of their crimes to the government, might not be prosecuted and punished for tax evasion in addition to whatever property crime they may have committed.

1 comment:

Joe Litton said...

Yup, crooks DO get prosecuted for tax evasion. That is, in fact, what put Al Capone in prison: