Essay On The 16th Amendment

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The 16th amendment instituted Congress's right to inflict a Federal income tax. During the Civil War, to help pay war expenses, Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861, the first U.S. Federal income tax. This act included a tax on personal incomes. After ten years, the act was repealed, leading Congress to eventually enact a Flat Rate Federal Income Tax in 1894. This new tax stated that anyone who made more than $800 would be charged with a 3% tax and then finally a 3-5% on income that exceeds $600. The following year, this tax was deemed unconstitutional due to the fact that the tax was direct, not at all connected to the population of each state. The 16th amendment was the result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to declare the flat rate Federal income tax unconstitutional. Between 1909 and 1913, government earnings came from tariffs, which were placed on imported products. “The burden of these taxes fell heavily on working Americans, who spent a much higher percentage of their income on goods than rich people did” (“The Income Tax Amendment: Most Thought It Was a Great Idea in 1913” 1). The term “regressive” describes the reality of a tax taking more of a poor person’s income than that of a wealthy person. Before 1913, economists…show more content…
Aldrich was the originator of the amendment, in 1909, Democratic Congressman and supporter of the income tax, Cordell Hull, constructed a deal with Republican President William Howard Taft to authorize Congress to pass a federal income tax. By implementing this new tax the Federal government was allowed to “[excise] the income of individuals without regard to the population of each State” (Terrell, “History of the US Income Tax). In full, the 16th amendment explains, “The Congress shall have power to [levy] and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration” (US Const., Art. 1, Sec.
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