« More on Defining Downtown: A House With a Garden in the Suburbs | Main | Straub Brewery: One of Five Best Places in America to Drink American Beer »

Comments

K Painter

Amen! I no longer smoke either, but am I the only one that feels insane these days? We allow the lawmakers to create laws because something is "Stinky", yet have a few hundred beers and (laugh) then take your local public transportation home to smack up your B*&#@ or kids. Can anyone honestly document ONE case of someone injured due to second-hand smoke because they ate a meal thirty feet away from a lit cigarette? It seems to me that smoking should be banned form one's personal abode if others have to LIVE with a smoker. But then again, I shouldn't say that too loudly, right?

PS - The junk food ban is on its way to a school near you! Why just this month, parents at my childrens' school were notified of a new school board policy: you are no longer allowed to bring unhealthy snacks or fast food for birthdays or lunch...That's right, I said lunch. (I have now vowed to pack my children a snack cake, pudding cup, or one piece of bloodsugar-raising junk everyday.) The parents were invited to come in for lunch with their child, but asked not to bring fast food -because the smell of french fries in the hallway is distracting to other students. The PTA is no longer allowed to SELL candy as a fundraiser, resulting in at least a $5,000 deficit for our small school. Instead, we sold over-priced wrapping paper to the public, who will plug their dollar into a local vending machine and get their sugar fix that way. However, the children may purchase Rice Krispy Treats from the cafeteria, and you may still purchase all of the junk you want from the consession stands during sporting events. I am sure that there was a massive outpouring from the community about how fat the kids were getting from the six cupcakes they recieve all year...

John Morris

Sam

Thanks for fighting the fight. http://www.peikoff.com/op/flash.htm I think this is a good book.

John Morris

"We are drifting to the future, not moving purposefully," Peikoff warns. "But we are drifting as Germany moved, in the same direction, for the same kind of reason."

JoeP

The complaints are touching, but in a generation, most will scratch their heads that this"controversy" that was... and wonder what's the big deal with a positive change....

and well, the tragic loss of McNuggets in the school cafeteria is truly saddening, as we are on cruise control to being the fattest nation on Earth, coupled with a diabetic crisis... but hey how dare they stop the Twinkies!

Sam M

Joe,

That's a clever way to say "the end justifies the means," but I still don't buy it.

You are assuming that the only way to get people to stop smoking is through legislation. Or, more specifically, that the only way to provide smoke-free restaurants is to threaten force against restaurant owners who want to provide a different kind of environment. I can point to 171 counterexamples. That is, 171 restaurants (at least, as that does not include the large chains, I think) in the immediate Pittsburgh area have already banned smoking voluntarily. That is up from a much smaller number just a short while ago.

So you want to accelerate the process? Well, at what cost? Twenty five years after Prohibition began, were people cheering its efficacy? After all, we all know boozers are losers. Or did everyone take a look at the vast amount of resources being dumped into the system and see some problems?

Moreover, you seem positively gleeful about the idea that government officials are now deciding which changes are "positive." Personally, I find that worrisome. Especially taking a look at the issue driving them to action today. At least the Italian Facists (famously)kept the trains running on time. Which is a good thing. Our far friendlier dictators are plowing resources into making sure our clothes don't smell like tobacco and every teenage derrier fits neatly into a perfect size six.

Well, to hell with that. I can take care of my own clothes. And I can take care of my own teenager. If you want to hire a personal trainer to make sure you don't get fat, fine by me. You hire him. But don't elect him and expect everyone to live by his edicts.

And you are mysteriously dismissive about the "McNuggets in the school cafeteria." Check the story to which I linked. It has nothing to do with school cafeterias. It has everything to do with privately owned restaurants serving adult patrons.

So how will the city enforce this rule? I suppose it is going to have to review menus and run stings to make sure chefs are complying. And by complying, I mean that they are not secretly serving patrons what patrons say they want.

Do you feel like you can't order off a menu responsibly? If so, I suggest you eat at home. And leave me free to order what I want.

Or maybe I don;t want you to do that. Seriously. Who's to say you can shop at the grocery store responsibly? Well, if yo can't, maybe we outght to ban fatty foods there, too. And 20 years from now we can all talk about how the change was positive. After all, who wants to be fat?

Well, I do. Or at least I want to be free to be fat. And to smoke a cigarette around people who don;t mind me smoking. And to climb mountains (very dangerous passtime by the way... tsk tsk) and do a whole host of other things people think is too risky.

It saddens me to see that so many people are so flippant about that. That people don't think it's weird and dangerous for the mayor of a city to dictate what people eat.

What people eat. What they put in their MOUTHS. THEIR mouths.

JoeP

If you can say that pollution is a positive, by my guest. Right now you sound like a tobacco lobbyist. As principled as that industry is, I am tired of lame excuses. Furthermore I am tired of widening this debate into irrelevant other issues to justify the smoking argument.

I am "gleeful" as this isn’t a personal matter and it isn’t another issue, it’s its own issue. On My comments on McNuggets are related to the school comment above.

Sam M

In what sense is it not a personal issue? That is, in what sense does it concern you at all? You don't have to go to any bar. There are options.

There are nonsmoking options for workers and patrons who don't smoke and/or are concerned about the impact of secondhand smoke.

There are vegetarian options for those who don't eat meat and/or are concerned about animal welfare.

There are quiet options for people and workers who hate loud music and/or are concerned about hearing loss.

There are Vietnamese options for people who don't like Chinese.

There are gay options for people who aren't straight. Straight options for people who aren't gay. And options for people who don't care one way or another.

There are jazz options for people who don't like rock music. Hip hop options for people who don't like jazz.

Lots of options for you. Lots of options for people who work in bars.

So here's a test for you: If this is REALLY about worker safety, would you support an amendment that would ban all substances found to be as dangerous as secondhand smoke? Or would you support an effort to identify any and all jobs more dangerous than tending bar in a smokey establishment, and measures to nake those jobs 100 percent safe?

Or why not an exemption for bars that only hire smokers? Or even more drastically, why not an exemption for bars and restaurants that force workers to wear protective suits to ward off any and all smoke? You know, huge gas masks? Moon suits like the ones that protect people from anthrax. It wouldn't be the most preposterous get-up a person could wear to work.

Of course, that would allow people to go in there and smoke. And the whole point of the ban is to keep people from smoking.

I just don't think that's the government's job. Just like I don't think it's the governent's job to keep people skinny. In fact, I don't think any of it is any of the government's damn business.

The government has become more and more intrusive in dictating what people eat, what they smoke, what they drink. I find that problematic. You don't. But just because you don't think those issues are related doesn't mean they aren't.

For instance, did you notice that the same city department responsible for the NY smoking ban is going to be responsible for the trans-fat ban? Did you maybe notice that the same exact lawyers responsible for the class-action tobacco lawsuits are responsible for the fast-food lawsuits? Did you notice that the cases involve the same points of law? Did you notice that the same non-profit groups are funding a lot of the studies?

I suppose not.

So I guess the question is, in what sense are they NOT related?

The failure to see any connection strikes me as a pretty glaring lack of imagination. Although I might be able to understand why someone wouldn't WANT to see those connections.

Look, regardles of your implications, I am not a tobacco lobbyist. And I am not a smoker. I prefer places that don't allow smoking.

But neither am I so arrogant as to assume that every single bar in Allegheny County has to serve my every desire.

They are not my bars. I don't own them. If the patrons are in the market for bars that allow smoking and an owner wants to serve that market, what's that to me?

But smokey bars are dangerous for workers! Well, so are race tracks. So are rifle ranges. So are dry cleaners. So are construction sites.

You know what all these things have in common? None of them are any of my business. Nor are they any of yours.

Sam M

Joe,

Still sticking to the idea that tobacco and obesity are completely separate issues? Then I wonder how you explain the Public Health Advocacy Institute. PHIA has been at the forefront of many of the obesity lawsuits. Guess what PHIA did in 2004? From the group's website:

"The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) and the Tobacco Control Resource Center (TCRC) have merged. The new organization, called “The Public Health Advocacy Institute” (PHAI), will carry forward the mission of both organizations to protect the health of the public and to strengthen the commitment of policy makers and legal practitioners to public health. PHAI is committed to the effective use of all legal tools in common cause with the goals of public health. PHAI President Richard Daynard stated, “this merger brings the decades of expertise and experience of TCRC together with the broader mission and innovation of PHAI.” PHAI will continue to work on legal approaches to the obesity epidemic as part of its primary focus. PHAI brings a new vigor and set of innovations to the rapidly changing legal landscape of obesity control and will continue to advocate for effective public health policy in this area. TCRC continues its operations and mission as a division of PHAI. Formed in 1979, TCRC provides law and policy analysis and technical assistance to governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations and tobacco control advocates in the U.S. and abroad, as well as assisting attorneys involved in tobacco-related litigation through its Tobacco Products Liability Project."


Now geez. Why in the world would these two groups have ever thought to merge? It's like apples and oranges! Man, I wonder how they get along at the office, being from such different places on the idealogical spectrum.

Or maybe, just maybe, your notion that these are completely separate is a little off base.

And maybe, just maybe, I am not the one bringing in different arguments to drive a larger agenda.

In fact, maybe it's YOUR side of the debate that's doing that.

Just a thought.

Sam M

Joe,

You might want to check out the staff bio section at the PHAI site. Here's one of my favorites:

"Jess Alderman, M.D., J.D.
Senior Staff Attorney
Dr. Alderman's work at PHAI spans both tobacco and obesity projects and she is interested in the legal intersection of these issues. She has published and presented at conferences on the lessons the tobacco wars can teach public health advocates about combating obesity."

So an experienced professional in the field, a woman with a law degree and a medical degree, is working on "the legal intersection of these issues."

Perhaps you might like to explain to her that there is no intersection, because these are separate issues?

Interesting, no? She seems to think that the obesity warriors can learn lessons from the tobacco warriors. Do you suppose that's because these issues are incredibly dissimilar? Or because they are related in some way? I mean, I haven't noticed that she has advocated learning lessons from rabbit hunters, cake bakers or high iron workers.

Perhaps I was correct to see a connection where you saw none?

Or is it that only your side is allowed to see the connection?

Sam M

One point that Joe and I might agree on is that, more and more, nothing seems like a "personal matter." And that is by design. Here's how PHAI sees things. (Note that ideas like "individual liberty" and "individual rights" are seen as oh so archaic):

"American law and legal practice have been significantly influenced by analyses that stress the primacy of individuals. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of civil rights and the triumph of individual liberty and individual rights. The 1980s and 1990s were a time when law and economics pushed microeconomics and 'freedom of choice' into the forefront of legal analysis. These modes of analysis and their emphasis on the individual in legal analysis have become normative in legal scholarship.

"As we enter the 21st century, practitioners and policymakers are being confronted with problems where individualistic modes of analysis are simply inadequate. Many of these problems pertain to public health."

That is, the rights of individuals are being devalued in favor of something else. That's not me saying that, Joe. That's your side saying that.

So these things used to be personal matters. And no longer are. Because of a united legal strategy straddling various public health issues. Issues like smoking bans and obesity lawsuits. Issues that are, in fact, related.

So it's not like these things have nothing to do with individual rights. They are expressly based on the notion that individual rights regarding public health are part of a disturbing legal dark age. In the era that's now dawning, freedom of choice, individual liberty and individual rights have to be restricted.

You can agree with that if you want. Or you can be a little uncomfortable as you try to come to terms with it. Or you can do anything else you want.

Just don't act like I am making it up. Or that I am unfairly tainting the discussion about smoking bans by bringing up food issues.

They are related. Your side made sure of it. Send your complaints to them.

John Morris

"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up."

So it's not like these things have nothing to do with individual rights. They are expressly based on the notion that individual rights regarding public health are part of a disturbing legal dark age. In the era that's now dawning, freedom of choice, individual liberty and individual rights have to be restricted.

Sam, Perhaps they will have some healthy gruel in our prison cell?



John Morris

" This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community is really the first premise for every truely human culture...The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we call-- to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness- idealism. By this we understand only the individuals capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men."

Adolf Hitler 1933

JoeP

It would be a personal issue to legislate smoking in your house, but that is not the issue now is it?

You can't (legally) fire a gun in most instances in a restaurant either. Oh my God!!!! How dare they take away my gun rights!

This ban is in regard to public instances, not private.

Perhaps you yell "fire!" in a theater too.


Sam M

Interesting idea, Joe.

So a ban on showing the movie Schindler's List in theaters would not be any kind of infringement of your personal rights since you could watch it at home?

By the way, are most bars private property? I think they are. So let's say I own a bar and I want to let someone smoke in it. Does this law allow that? No. It does not. In fact, it forcibly deputizes me by requiring me to enforce the law. That is, if someone smoke a cigarette in my bar, it's not just the smoker who gets fined. I get fined, too.

Let me see. If someone smacks his wife in my bar, do I get fined? If someone spraypaints grafitti on my front door, do I get fined? If someone sits in the back and hatches a terrorist plot, do I get fined?

The answer in all cases in "no."

The only instance I can think of in which I do get fined is when I serve an underaged person alcohol. But that requires me to DO something. It is illegal for me to serve minors. And if I serve one I am breaking the law.

But the smoking law is different. It requires me to BAN something. To force others to do something or not do something. Or else I get fined.

So let's see. If I were to pass a law against loitering, and part of the law said that JoeP was in charge of enforcing it, and if he didn't I would fine hime $250, would you take that personally?

By the way, still sticking to the idea that smoking and obesity are "separate issues" that have nothing to do with one another?

JoeP

"So a ban on showing the movie Schindler's List in theaters would not be any kind of infringement of your personal rights since you could watch it at home?"

If this were a good analogy perhaps. Again it's not personal rights that are at issue. Again I ask, what's the harm in shooting a gun at Eat n Park? At Heinz Field?

It's your right isn't it?


Why don't you yell fire at a theater? Freedom of speech, right?

Sam M

Joe, I never said you should be able to shoot a gun at Heinz Field or at Eat n'Park.

But does that mean that you should not be allowed to shoot a gun at a private shooting range? You know, a place specifically designed for that activity? The people working there are clearly not in a risk free environment. All that smoke in the air. The risk of an accident. The risk of a mechanical failure. The risks, in fact, are real. But we still allow people to own and operate shooting ranges. Because people are big boys and girls. And people who neither want to work nor shoot there do not need to go.

Actually, Heinz field is a good example of this. I don't know where you work, but where I work, running at top speed and smashing into a co-corker at top speed would be considered illegal. That is, it's banned.

But we allow other people to take that risk in other places. Those people are called football playters At Heinz Field.

At shooting ranges, they are known as range attendants.

And I think that singling those occupations out as illegal would and could be seen as a personal affront for the people who work at and patronize those places.

Why single out bars as the only place that have to be risk free? Why not allow bartenders to assume risks in the same way we allow loggers and steel workers and range attendants and football players to assume risks?

I think it is because you have a personal issue with the action causing the risk in the case of second-hand smoke.

And I think your personal issues shouldn't amount to squat in legislative matters.

Again, if we allow private citizens to operate establishments specifically designed for risky behavior--playing football, driving race cars, shooting guns, listening to incredibly loud music, etc.-- why can't we allow private citizens to operate establishments specifically designed for people who want to smoke a Marlboro while they drink their Budweiser?

And again, are you still convinced that smoking and obesity are completely separate issues? That served as a pretty important foundation of your argument. I think you need to address it.

John Morris

I have never smoked-( ever!!!!) but, I don't exercise enough. These conversations have motivated be to exercise and perhaps to learn how to use a gun. It apears more and more that the second amendment is the last deterent to stop a government from removing all one's liberty.

JoeP

"And again, are you still convinced that smoking and obesity are completely separate issues? That served as a pretty important foundation of your argument. I think you need to address it."

I addressed a different post above when I mentioned obesity. It was in reference to the school post.

You are actually making my point, there are places that are appropriate for things, just because you enjoy something, doesn't mean that it's your right to do it everywhere and not infringe on others' rights.

You also seem to think - that I think - the ban is good in its concern for your (the individula smoker) health - I don't care what you do - I only care in the public setting as it impacts others.

Please smoke 'til you heart's content.

Joe,

First of all, I already do smoke to my heart's content. Which is easy. Because it does not make me content. That is, I don't smoke. So I am not a tobacco lobbyist. And I am not an evil smoker. There go those theories.

Second you say, "just because you enjoy something, doesn't mean that it's your right to do it everywhere and not infringe on others' rights."

When did I ever say that? Keep scrolling. You won;t find it. Moreover, just because you DON'T like something that doesn't mean it's your right to infringe on everyone esles right.

Seriously, John. In what way would it infringe on your rights if my buddy opened a bar and hired three smokers-oe three people unconcerned about SHS--to work there, and every night 10 smokers went there to smoke and drink?

I am familiar with the constitution. And I am not aware of any sections dealing with your right to play darts at hat establishment free of tobacco fumes.

So again, how does that infringe on your rights?

So right back at you. I think there are some places that are appropriate for things. And some places that are not. I think it is inappropriate to smoke in an ICU. And I think it is inappropriate to smoke in a pizza parlor--but only insofar as the owner has decided that he wants to serve people who don't smoke. In that case, I have no "right" to smoke there.

Alternatively, if he decides he wants to serve pizzas to people who want to smoke and he is willing to take that risk and he hires people to take that risk, why do you have a right to threaten force against anyone who lights up.

His restaurant. Not yours.

This is simple stuff, really. Isn't it? If you think firearms pose a danger, by all meants, don;t go to establishments designed for people who want tofire them. And I promise not to interrupt your breakfast at Eat n Park by firing a rifle.

See, some things are approroate in different places. Some places are inappropriate for small children. Like bars.

Man. What a busybody.

JoeP

Actually, hardly a busybody and don't even usually engage in this discussion. You are missing my point and frankly I really don't care enough to go around and around about it. Addtionally, in a generation, it won't matter.

By the way, why can't you fire your gun everywhere? Yell "fire" in a crowded theater? It's your second and first Amendment rights to do so... correct?

Sam M

Well, yes. Busybody is quite accurate.

It is none of your business if John Doe opens a bar. It is none of your business if John Doe allows people to smoke in that bar. It is none of your business if he asks people to work in that environment and they agree to do so.

His patrons have a greed to take risks in his establishment. As have his workers.

Again, they have all agreed to this. All adults. All of sound mind. All conducting their own personal cost-benefit analysis.

You have been unable to convince these people that their decisions are bad decisions.

So you propose to use the full power of government to force them to do as you say.

That, I think, makes you a busybody.

And your "firing a gun" example just does not support your position. Yes, you can restrict where a person can fire a gun. But you cannot outlaw it altogether.

And besides, not so long ago I remember a certain someone saying that it was wildly inappropriate to compare the smoking issues to other issues, seeing that it was "its own issue."

I guess that no longer applies.

But I would be interested to know if the NRA uses a legal defense similar to the one being mounted by bar owners.

As you might recall, you criticized me for positing a connection between the smoking issue and the obesity issue. Specifically, you said, "Right now you sound like a tobacco lobbyist. As principled as that industry is, I am tired of lame excuses. Furthermore I am tired of widening this debate into irrelevant other issues to justify the smoking argument."

Later, when pressed on that point, you obfuscated by saying, "I addressed a different post above when I mentioned obesity. It was in reference to the school post"

No, you didn't. As you can see from above, you were addressing me directly.

And you were wrong. The obesity and smoking issues are in fact related. The lawyers who are pushing both issues sure seem to think so.

So can you point me to a few lawyers who say that arguments against a smoking ban are in some way similar to arguing that you should be allowed to fire a gun in an Eat N Park?

You seem to think that I just don't understand your argument. But I do.

I understand it completely. You think that secondhand smoke is dangerous and it ought to therefore be outlawed.

But you refuse to explain why equally dangerous things, or things that are even more dangerous, should not also be outlawed.

Which leads me to believe that this the reason is eally quite simple: You don't like smoke. Otherwise, you would be able to explain why we allow other workers to face hazards, but not bartenders. But again, it seems like you just don't like smoke. Well, neither do I. Only difference is, I am willing to go across the street to another bar.

You would rather use the full force of government to eliminate that which you do not like.

Hey, look, your side is winning. Congratulations. Just don't fool yourself into thinking this is about saving bartenders.

John Morris

Wow, this has gotten wierd and i am not sure who is saying what.

As far as I know, I am on Sam's side all the way here. How anyone who is remotely awake can't see that almost all these restrictions on personal rights are not related by now is not understandable.

A little history of the income tax, tells the tale. It was only suposed to hit the "super rich" when it was passed in the early 1900's. As far as I know it was passed at a time when the government ran surpluses and didn't even need the money, what has happened since tells you that one step follows the other and that principles matter. We live in a time when the government can dictate how much employes are paid. In which the government tells people where they are allowed to build, and where and how people can live and comonly seizes peoples property and then hands it to others for private purposes and has destoyed entire nieghborhoods and cities in grand state sponsored projects. The state now, even does such clearly unconstitutional things as telling people how much they can give to support political candidates and causes, which is a blatant attack on free speach.

Most of these things were sold as "just this one time", "but we need to do this " stuff. Anyway, in this context, a person has right to feel a little sceptical of where things are leading to say the least. I am not a lawyer, but I do understand the concept of Stare decisis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stare_decisis

JoeP

"And your "firing a gun" example just does not support your position. Yes, you can restrict where a person can fire a gun. But you cannot outlaw it altogether."

Yes, some restrictions make guns illegal at certain places. Smoking has not been outlawed.

I would guess by the rhetoric here, that true limited government conservativism might live, but then I look at the one party "conservative" Federal government and see that the reality is government will interfere...

The only difference among parties is where it interferes. Though maybe you guys should fight this to the GOP Supreme Court, they'll get your back.

Maybe.

Sam M

Joe says,

"Yes, some restrictions make guns illegal at certain places. Smoking has not been outlawed."

But it has been outlawed on private property owned and operated by people who want to allow it. In places where people want to go to engage in it. And in places where nobody is being ofrced to work.

So unlike your gun in a theater example, nobody here is being endangered without their consent. Everyone present has decided to go to those places.

The only people that it's bothering are people who don't like smoke. People who are reckless enough about the use of government force that they are using it to make sure their clothes don't smell funny.

Boy. We've come a long way.

In the wrong direction, I would submit.

Listen, there is not a single person in Pittsburgh tonight who is going to be forced to inhale second-hand tobacco smoke in a bar.

Not a single one. Not one worker. Not one patron.

And still you support a law forcing those bar owners who choose to allow smoking to run their businesses according to your wished. because the 171 smoke-free bars and restaurants in the immediate area just aren't enough for you. How very selfish. How intolerant. How sad.

That's a shame. A terrible shame. And I think it says a lot about the people who have no problem legislating how another man leads his life.

If saying so makes me a small-government conservative, sign me up.

Amos the Poker Cat

As to John's mention of the income tax. Naturally, Wikipedia has an entry for Income tax in the United States, but it is a little short of info, especially around the time of passage. The Von Mises Institute has a more detailed article about The Origin of the Income Tax, but it still seems a little incomplete to me. The most detailed history of the income tax I found was
Fact Sheet on the History of the U.S. Tax System
.

A summary.

* When the Civil War erupted, the Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861, which restored earlier excises taxes and imposed a tax on personal incomes.
* The need for Federal revenue declined sharply after the war and most taxes were repealed. ... The income tax was abolished in 1872.
* Under the Constitution, Congress could impose direct taxes only if they were levied in proportion to each State's population. Thus, when a flat rate Federal income tax was enacted in 1894, it was quickly challenged and in 1895 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state.
* While the War Revenue Act returned to traditional revenue sources following the Supreme Court's 1895 ruling on the income tax, debate on alternative revenue sources remained lively. ... Proposals to reinstate the income tax were introduced by Congressmen from agricultural areas whose constituents feared a Federal tax on property, especially on land, as a replacement for the excises.
* Eventually, the income tax debate pitted southern and western Members of Congress representing more agricultural and rural areas against the industrial northeast. ...
* By 1913, 36 States had ratified the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. In October, Congress passed a new income tax law with rates beginning at 1 percent and rising to 7 percent for taxpayers with income in excess of $500,000. Less than 1 percent of the population paid income tax at the time. ...
* One of the problems with the new income tax law was how to define "lawful" income. Congress addressed this problem by amending the law in 1916 by deleting the word "lawful" from the definition of income. As a result, all income became subject to tax, even if it was earned by illegal means.
* The entry of the United States into World War I greatly increased the need for revenue and Congress responded by passing the 1916 Revenue Act.
* Driven by the war and largely funded by the new income tax, by 1917 the Federal budget was almost equal to the total budget for all the years between 1791 and 1916.
* Even in 1918, however, only 5 percent of the population paid income taxes and yet the income tax funded one-third of the cost of the war.

The comments to this entry are closed.