The Sixteenth Amendment

Today is Tax Day in the United States.. that day when all tax forms must be postmarked before midnight and mailed to the Internal revenue Service. It is good to remember that there has not always been a federal or national tax in this country. Here is a brief history of federal taxation from Wikipedia:
  • The first income tax suggested in the United States was during the War of 1812 but is was never imposed.
  • The first Federal income tax was adopted as part of the Revenue Act of 1861. The tax lapsed after the American Civil War. Subsequently enacted income taxes were held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because they were not given to the states.
  • In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, permitting the Federal government to levy an income tax without giving all of it to the states. It states:
    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
  • Federal taxes were expanded greatly during World War I, after the Wall Street crash of 29 and throughout the rest of the twentieth century.
  • Federal income tax rates have been modified frequently. Tax rates were changed in 34 of the 97 years between 1913 and 2010. 
Interesting to note that the tax rates in the first three years (1913-1915) ranged from 1-7%. Rates hit an all time high of roughly 20-90% in the fifties and early sixties. During the Reagan years rates were about 12-50%. The four years after Reagan rates dropped for upper earners to 15-28% and 15-31%. Currently rates are 10-35%.

Seems that there have always been severe reactions to taxes in this country. Many today do not want to see taxes raised on the wealthiest Americans. Some want to see the tax code greatly modified. Many want corporate taxes greatly lowered. Some advocate a tax on things purchased rather than a tax on income. It will be interesting to see if anything is done to our system of taxation.

What changes would you like to see in the way we are taxed?


  1. It is no mistake that the increase in the power to tax has resulted in an increase in the power of government. The more money they bring in, the more power they have. The power money they bring in, the fewer liberties we have. What drove us to become the greatest nation in the world was stifled with this tax and the politics of tax, through deductions and rates. Income tax is a source of manipulation. If the federal gov must have revenue from taxes, let it be from sales tax, with no loopholes. I would say a new amendment would be to repeal the 16th amendment and replace it with a sales tax amendment.

  2. KB, my ideas would never fly! I think congress and the senate should be volunteers and should meet every two years. I think the Federal government should be rolled back, shut down, and reduced to small departments for treaty making and some truly limited federdal duties. Each state should maintain its own militia for protection of an invading army, and all other parts of the government privatize such as the post office, education, health, etc, etc, etc, We would need very little taxes if government officials served from the heart, from loyalty to the American people and from love rather than for power,money, prestige, and good ole boy deals in the smoke filled back room.

    The government is broke and can't be fixed. We are to pray for it and not resist it, but I am afraid only the King of Kings and Lord of Lords can get us out of this "fine mess we gotten ourselves into."

  3. As I understand it there is a negative tax rate. IE The IRS also pays instead of only taxing.


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