Thursday, November 01, 2012

Birth of the Estate Tax

Gotta love the Internet. Media Decoder at The New York Times asked which deceased magazines people missed, which led an old timer to mention The Saturday Evening Post, which led to another comment asserting that the Post was still alive, sort of. 

Sure enough, besides  a smattering of current articles, the Post web site offers selections from the magazine's archives. And not just the Norman-Rockwell-era archives. Remember, the publication was founded by Ben Franklin. From 1906 comes Swollen Fortunes, an appreciation of Teddy Roosevelt's eagerness to tax the One Percent. The article's author, David Graham Phillips, sums up Teddy's crusade:
What is our problem of concentrated wealth? Mr. Roosevelt has compacted the whole of it . . .

First – Enormous, swollen fortunes.

Second – The use of those fortunes to narrow independent opportunity, to monopolize industry, to raise prices and lower income, to manufacture a few thousand millions out of millions of men and a few billionaires out of the millionaires.
Third – The use of those fortunes to control political machinery and, so, both the making and the administration of the law. . . .
Any resemblance between the early 20th and early 21st centuries is, of course, purely coincidental.

No comments: