101st Anniversary of Death Tax today

Posted on September, 08 2017, 11:32


Today is the 101st anniversary of the Death Tax.  President Woodrow Wilson using the dark clouds of World War as the excuse to push it through Congress.  More money was needed for war.

It is as if some 19th century Rahm Emanuel, current Mayor of Chicago and former Bill Clinton aide, had counselled Wilson by saying "You never let a serious crisis go to waste." 

But it wasn't just war financing that Congress passed the 1916 Revenue Act.  It was an integral part of the Progressive's agenda -- to make big government into the key economic institution of society.  The '16 Revenue Act  not only instituted the Death Tax, it simultaneously raised the highest income tax rate to 16% and imposed something called an "excess profits" tax. 

Insufficient attention is paid today to the Progressive Era which included leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. Central to their political agenda was the theory that all problems of society could be solved by good and powerful managers in government.  The theory included the view that the private sector and free markets were simply incapable solving society's problems. 

Redistribution of wealth was a major goal of the Progressive movement, and thus the institution of income taxes, estate taxes and the Orwellian-named "excess profits" tax. 

One of its signature achievements was the passage of the 17th amendment to the Constitution imposing Prohibition and taking effect in 1920;  creating not only massive organized crime, but a textbook example of government folly. 

Today's leftist leaders today seem proud to claim the title of Progressive:  in the 2016 Presidential race, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton claimed the mantle of the "only Progressive" in the race.

One of the ways the early Progressives were going to improve society was the support by major progressives leaders of eugenics, the theory that social policy should eliminate the "bad genes" from society.  Yes, they advocated racism in its most virulent sense.  The targets by one eugenicist of the time were those who were "spreading disease, immorality, and crime to all parts of this country."   Today's Progressives are ashamed of this intellectual heritage, though it is consistent with their belief in the competence and omnipotence of government.  Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was studied by theorists of the Third Reich had stated, "the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit' [is] admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization." 

After the Holocaust, Progressives downplayed eugenics, but not the other aspects of their agenda:  redistribution of wealth, aggrandizement of power in government and the audacious doctrine that government actually can solve all problems. 

On this the 101st anniversary of one of Progressivism's major milestones -- the institution of the Death Tax, we should reflect not only on the injustice, economic disruption and unfairness of this tax, but also on the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of those that gave it to us.