"When men get in the habit of helping themselves
to the property of others, they cannot be easily cured of it."
1909, commenting on the proposed 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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Reader comments about this quote:
Very sage editorial, wish it had the author's name.
 -- J Allen, Arlington, VA     
    This brings us to the income tax which is nothing more than government sanctioned extortion. It's legalized theft.
     -- jim k, Austin     
    Describes perfectly the "culture of theft" that pervades our serf like lives today.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    where can we read the whole NYT editorial containing this quote?
     -- david stewart, lakeland, la     
    True and that is why legislation is needed to protect against things like child labor, explotation of women, immigrants etcetera. The nation has always been full of people who will take every bit of dignity and humanity from others for their own personal enrichment, from slave holders, indentured servants etc. Not to mention the rape and degradation of the environment for personal gain.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    The only way to stop that habit is to make it very painful to even start.
     -- RBESRQ     
    Waffler, your proposals are the very cause of the wholesale theft of labor and property in this country. You believe you should have the right to tell everyone else how it should be, and thus defend the plundering of the People for your personal crusades. To supposedly save women and children from exploitation, the means are simply to exploit ALL the people. Brilliant, Waffler, truly brilliant (not).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Then, when those men have sufficiently advanced their habit of helping themselves to the property of others (complete with all illegal and irrational arguments and extinguished any moral sensitivity thereto), they then enter government to perfect their habits.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I don't know the history of 1909 when this was first proposed. It would be interesting to find out what the political and social circumstances were that spawned this outright theft of our incomes.
     -- gunnycee, durham, NC     
    Every time that the government wants to take money from any particular section of the economy to benefit another, we should know that we are all taking another step towards serfdom. The person who is looted of the rewards of his labor or even his inherited wealth for the benefit of others is made nothing less than a slave.
     -- Lee Poteet, Stroud     
    Guess the times have changed a bit.
     -- warren, olathe     
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