After the 16th Amendment was ratified, an income tax was imposed starting in 1913 with rates ranging from 1 percent to 7 percent with the top rate applying only to incomes in excess of $500,000. By 1916 that top rate had risen to 15 percent, on income in excess of $2,000,000. The top rate exceeded 90 percent at its peak in the early 1950s. The first 1040 form -- instructions and all -- took up only four pages. Today there are some 4,000 pages of tax forms and instructions. American workers and business are forced to spend more than 5.4 billion man-hours every year figuring out their taxes. Since those hours could be put to a more productive use, and almost surely would be in the absence of today’s incomprehensible tax code, the result is a large dead-weight output loss of some $200 billion each year. ... The IRS now has more enforcement personnel than the EPA, BATF, OSHA, FDA, and DEA combined. With its 115,000-man workforce, it has the power to search the property and financial documents of American citizens without a search warrant and to seize property from American citizens without a trial. It routinely does both. Economist James L. Payne has written a most revealing analysis of the IRS, a 1993 book entitled Costly Returns. He arrives at a stunning conclusion, the total cost to collect our federal taxes, including the effects on the economy as a whole adds up to an amazing 65 percent of all the tax dollars received annually. The U.S. tax system, says Payne, has produced hundreds of thousands of victims of erroneous IRS penalties, liens, levies, and tax advice. In answering taxpayer questions, for example, the IRS telephone information service has in previous years given about one-third of all callers -- as many as 8.5 million Americans -- the wrong answers to their questions. A 1987 General Accounting Office study found that 47 percent of a random sample of IRS correspondence -- including demands for payments -- contained errors. Incredibly a GAO audit of the IRS in 1993 found widespread evidence of financial malfeasance and gross negligence at the agency. The IRS could not account for 64 percent of its congressional appropriation!
Dr. Lawrence W. Reed
(1953-) President of the Foundation for Economic Education
Taxes and Tyranny, THE UNREPORTED NEWS, August 27, 1995.
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
Taxation is NOT about maintaining infrastructure. It is about maintaining power and control over citizens lest they actually believe they are sovereign free willed beings. The ability to tax is the ability to control the serfs and steal from them. The IRS is the active police arm of the Federal Reserve. They are armed and ready to take from you...just like any other home invaders.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 4
    The 16th ammendent has given Big Brother in Washington all power with little or no due process of law.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
  • 3
    Not quite sure how to rate this; its a great collection of facts but, if I said a tree trunk was brown and the leaves were green, what is there to rate. I guess it has to be 5 stars as a comment on the accuracy of the above quote and comments.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
     -- Mary, Michigan      
    The IRS was founded at the same time as the Federal Reserve to guarantee the interest payments due to the Fed in exchange for the new Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) that were to replace gold certificates. While gold certificates represented real gold stored in the Treasury, FRNs represent interest-bearing IOUs to the Fed. Through this sleight-of-hand, the private Federal Reserve eventually acquired all the gold certificates in circulation, thus acquiring ownership of all the money in America, while the nation acquired a permanent debt to the Fed with never-ending interest payments that have now ballooned to nearly everything the IRS collects. This system is not about raising revenue for government services, it is about enslaving an entire nation (and ultimately the world) to the banking cartel. Taxes are laid to keep the people down. Theoretically, the government could print up its own money interest-free to pay for every government service that taxes supposedly pay for, and inflation would be the only tax -- and those with the most money would automatically 'pay' the most tax. No forms, no audits (except for the government), no property seizures, no social security payments. The New Deal was a raw deal, a con, and a mistake for which we have been paying for too long. Nothing short of closing down the Fed and seizing their (our) assets will bring this monster down. I call it the Ultimate Citizens' Stimulus -- give us our money back! If you work for the IRS: SHAME ON YOU! YOU ARE TRAITORS TO YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 5
    Archer, thank you, well said
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    NO comment, just one, they are thieves
     -- Kimo, Lahaina     
  • 2
    I wish we could figure out how to persuade people of the truth about our tax system. If enough of us pressured congress and the president to replace it with a flat consumption (sales) tax, we could displace the IRS. Maybe I am too naive to think we could get such legislation passed.
     -- John Pettitt, Fredericksburg, va     
  • 2
    I never finished high school. Will someone please tell me how the IRS will get any money from us when all that we have in banks is numbers anr why government would need any money when all of us are risking our lives for more numbers?
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis     
    E Archer, good comment.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
  • 1
    Regulations are getting worse and more abusive. The entire tax system has to be changed. A 1993 cost of 65% to administer the IRS was not acceptable then but most certainly continues to this day. Let's hope the elected's in DC have the guts to do something about it. If not get rid of them now.
     -- Ken, Spokane     
  • 2
    ENOUGH already! 100 years and we're still taking this crap?
    END the FED, end the IRS, end the gov't altogether.
     -- Shaun, Oklahoma City     
  • 1
    Ah, The Government At Work !
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
    Constructive Fraud committed by Congress and the IRS. Save a Patriot Society, most have never heard of it. Time to pass out the Paper work again. Lots of copies will be needed this go around. ! Rather than just a few in key areas over the years. It would be a bit much to post in this blog. Let the fires of Liberty burn hot ! Knowledge is Power.
     -- Ronw13, USA     
  • 2
    Not surprising considering the IRS and the Federal Reserve were born the same year...
    The fiat economy is a total scam which is about to explode. The fed and Wall Street have run out of precautionary measures and now the writing is on the wall. I'm not even sure taking your money out of the banks is a solution as money may become obsolete! The US economy has existed on the power as a world economy; that is now being taken down by bloc currencies and a move from the central banking criminal system. So, what happens when the crash happens and they shut down the banks- well you better have a plan - if it's a good plan please share....
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
    The corrupt banking puppeteers of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land ensure their helots, serfs and slaves' fealty through criminal enforcements of such activities as the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto. By its very nature, socialism (communism to fascism, progressive to populist, etc.) corrupts noble man's heart and mind while its evolution expands in chaos and injustice. The above quote is a mere snap shot through a tiny peep hole of the criminal waste and heinous corruption the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto brings to bear.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
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