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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2013

Happy 100, Federal Income Tax!

My how you’ve grown! From Dan Mitchell, here are some snapshots of your younger years, starting in 1913:

The top tax rate was only 7 percent, the tax form was only 2 pages, and the entire tax code was only 400 pages. And a big chunk of the revenue actually was used to lower the tax burden on international trade (the basic tariff rate dropped form 40 percent to 25 percent).

But just as tiny acorns become large oak trees, small taxes become big taxes and simple tax codes become complex monstrosities. And that’s exactly what happened in the United States.

We now have a top tax rate of 39.6 percent, and it’s actually much higher than that when you include the impact of other taxes, as well as the pervasive double taxation of saving and investment.

And the relatively simply tax law of 1913 has metastasized into 74,000 pages of Byzantine complexity. [Cato Institute, October 3]

Posted on 10/04/13 10:35 PM by Alex Adrianson

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