By: Columnist Bob Grafe
Attention all senior citizens!
Did you check out today’s date? It’s April 15th! No it is not a holiday. And, it certainly is not a holy day!
Please take note that it’s “that” day. The true April Fools’ Day. The day when the IRS masters whip their hard-working, income-earning slaves into “fork-over-the-cash” compliance through any and all means necessary.
Today is officially “Tax Day” across the land — the land of the free where everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And, it’s the land where everyone, even senior citizens, have the privilege of paying taxes to support all of those “necessary” expenditures of “our” federal government.
I guess it must be legal to unleash the IRS thugs on everyone — at least “everyone” without the power to divert the collection agent’s attention.
The government’s addiction to taking assets from law-abiding citizens began with the introduction of the Revenue Act of 1861 to help fund the Civil War. Imagine that. What a novel idea. Let’s tax the people so we can have a war — even a war of brother against brother.
That makes good sense!
So, let’s see. What day should we require the payment of those taxes? Perhaps the thirtieth day of June would work since we’d catch all those “rich” folks before they take off for their summer vacations.
Oops. Maybe we goofed with this “tax the people” business. The case of Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. questioned the constitutionality of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894. That tax was at the rate of two-percent on any incomes over $4,000.
Gee. The U.S. Supreme court in 1895 ruled that the Act’s unapportioned income taxes on interest, dividends, and rents were effectively direct taxes (as many had claimed), were in fact unconstitutional. As many law-abiding citizens had claimed, the Act (approved by Congress) violated the Constitution’s rule that direct taxes had to be apportioned.
Well, that’s no problem. Let’s just change the Constitution with one of those “amendment” things.
So, in 1913, with unbridled political impunity, similar to what one sees currently brewing in the political caldron affectionately known as “D.C.,” the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified providing Congress with the legal authority to tax all incomes without regard to the apportionment requirement found within the Constitution.
In that same year, March 1st was dictated as the deadline for paying taxes, changed again in 1918 to March 15th and finally changed to April 15th in 1955.
Gosh. There must have been some “good” things that have taken place in history that happened to fall on our now April 15th tax day.
Of course there have been.
On April 15th in 1992 billionaire Leona Helmsly was sent to prison for … uh … tax evasion.
Then again, on the same day in 1969 North Korea’s military shoots at a U.S. airplane above the Japanese Sea. Maybe they just thought there was a tax evader on board?
Fidel Castro began his goodwill tour in the U.S. on April 15, 1959. He doesn’t bother to even tax his citizens. He just takes from them what the government needs.
Well, I guess that is sort of what is going on today with our federal government too.
On a happier note, the first B-52 Stratofortress made its maiden flight, using federal tax dollars to fuel the adventure, on tax day in 1952.
During that same year of 1952, and on April 15th, the Franklin National Bank issued the first bank credit card. I think I still owe a small balance on that one. But, I’m getting closer to paying it off!
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was buried on the grounds of his Hyde Park home on April 15, 1945. And, Babe Ruth hit his first of 60 home runs of the season on “that” day in 1927.
The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on April 15, 1912 while the General Electric Company was formed and incorporated in New York on April 15, 1892.
Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 after being shot hours earlier the previous day by actor John Wilkes Booth.
But, thank goodness for all of the madness brought about on “that” April 15th day. Perhaps the inventor of the bottle opener (invented on April 15, 1738) foresaw the future troubles of “that” day.
See you at the post office close to midnight!