NC Budget and Tax Center

Happy Belated Birthday, Personal Income Tax

Last month marked one-hundred years since the passage of the 16th amendment which established the federal personal income tax. As one columnist remarked on the occasion, this amendment receives far less celebration than other amendments or than from what it is due.

From the air we breathe and the water we drink to the security we feel at night, from the teachers in the classroom to the meat on the table to the airplanes that do not crash, from FEMA and CIA, FBI and BATF and dozens of other acronym agencies and programs, taxes — as Justice Holmes observed — are what we pay for civilized society.

The first century of the personal income tax can also teach us  a lot, especially in this era when the income tax is under attack.  As the American Prospect article highlights, a progressive income tax can help societies do big things and those things include more than just raising revenue.  Check out their piece here.  The belated birthday of the personal income tax should remind us to celebrate what income taxes have made possible not eliminate them.

3 Comments


  1. Alex

    March 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I’ve never seen anyone so happy about income taxes. There’s a box that you can pay in more than what is calculated . Perhaps you should check it out !

  2. Bill

    March 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    When you have 20th century taxation in the 21st century, It is time for a change. Abolish the 16th Amendment and replace with a National Sales Tax, with the influx of illegals sponging off of the welfare that is put in with this “Regressive” tax, it only makes since for EVERYBODY to pay.

  3. Doug

    March 10, 2013 at 8:43 am

    That’s funny Alex!

    You know these progressives are only for “contributing” other people’s money, not their own. It is much easier to spend OPM on things that “feel good” but have no business being funded by the government.

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