October 3, 2013
Exactly one hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson signed the first federal income tax into law. Despite the opposition from the nation’s wealthiest, the new “progressive” tax reform was supported from coast to coast by state legislature and was given the final okay by Congress in 1913.
In an op-ed on Reuters, Sam Pizzigati, editor of Too Much and author of The Rich Don’t Always Win, and John Buenker, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and author of The Income Tax and the Progressive Era, explain that these tax reforms created the middle class, supported the economy and industry, and changed the face of America.
“These high-tax years — for the rich — should have been a time of economic calamity. At least according to the critics of progressive income taxation. But real life proved these critics wrong. Commerce did not cease when the tax code levied steeply graduated rates on U.S. incomes. The wealthy did not flee. The entrepreneurial spirit did not evaporate.
Quite the contrary. The United States thrived throughout the mid-20th century heyday of high taxes on the rich. We became the first mass middle-class nation in the history of the world, the first industrial nation ever where the majority did not live in poverty.”
To read the full article and learn more about the federal income tax and what we can change today, read the full article. To learn more about how the middle class can take back the economy, pick up a copy of The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970 from your local bookstore or our online marketplace.