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The Court said that a tax on the net income from investment was the same as a tax on the underlying investment and was therefore an unapportioned direct tax. In the year 1910, the budget for the national government was $1,042,000,000. Remember this was before the private Federal Reserve System (which isn't federal and has no reserves) when the dollar was backed by gold, and mortal man had yet to figure out how to inflate a gold-backed currency.Also at this time there had been little success in breaking up the business monopolies that controlled much of American industry, and America was involved in a class struggle between the super rich and those who toiled for a living.Others will remember this time for the struggle between capital and labor.
The purpose of the Income Tax Amendment (the 16th Amendment) was to bring tax relief to wage-earners.
That was the plan, but the income tax has not worked out this way.
This is evidenced by the fact that today large corporations, family trusts and foundations pay little or no tax while the middle class is drowning in taxation. The reality was in 1909 the very rich, with help of Republican Senator Aldrich of Rhode Island, gave in to the pressure to approve an income tax amendment to the Constitution.
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"We condemn the Dingley tariff law as a trust-breeding measure, skillfully devised to give the few favors which they do not deserve and to place upon the many burdens which they should not bear." Democrat Presidential Platform, 1900."We favor an income tax as part of our revenue system, and we urge the submission of a constitutional amendment specifically authorizing Congress to levy and collect a tax upon individual and corporate incomes, to the end that wealth may bear its proportionate share of the burdens of the Federal Government." Democrat Presidential Platform, 1908.
Prior to the income tax system of revenue generation for our national government, most of the monies collected in taxes for the support of government came from tariffs on imported goods.
At the national level, there was no tax on property.