It was 100 years ago this month that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution officially became the law of the land. Since this is the one that authorized the federal government to implement a graduated income tax in the United States, you’ll understand why I say that February 3, 1913, was a very bad day for liberty.
One of the many complaints against King George in the Declaration of Independence was that “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”
But the amount of colonists’ “substance” that was taken by British authorities was the equivalent of a gnat’s nibble, compared to what our rulers in Washington seize from us every day. I think it’s safe to say that without a graduated income tax — a key plank in The Communist Manifesto, by the way — there is no way that we would have the gargantuan government we face today.
By the time the income tax was imposed on us, the rules had already been rigged so the super rich could hide their wealth in foundations and family trusts. The income tax would keep most of us from ever hoping to compete with them, while giving government the funds it needed to offer a gullible public all of the bread and circuses it could want.
But it wasn’t just the legalization of the income tax that made 1913 a truly terrible year for freedom. That was the same year that the Senate foisted the Federal Reserve System on us. In the past century, its money-creation policies have caused the U.S. dollar to plummet.
Since the conspiracy to foist the Fed upon us succeeded (if you doubt that statement, read G. Edward Griffin’s monumental study, The Creature from Jekyll Island), the dollar has lost way more than 90 percent of its value. It now takes more than 20 Federal Reserve notes to equal the purchasing power of a single buck 100 years ago.
Yes, the dollar has lost about 95 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve. That’s quite a record. The situation can only get worse, since the Fed continues to pump out $1 trillion a year to help finance Obama’s out-of-control deficits.
Oh, and let me mention one more tragedy inflicted on our country back in 1913. In March of that year, Woodrow Wilson became the 28th President of the United States.
Wilson helped foist a bunch of “progressive” policies during his first term. But nothing did as much damage as his success in getting us into World War I. One of the most duplicitous men to ever hold our Nation’s highest office, Wilson campaigned for re-election in 1916 on the slogan “he kept us out of war.” But all the while, he was scheming to get us into it.
Once we were committed to battle, the new slogan became that we would make the world “safe for democracy.” What a bunch of baloney. At the end of World War I, instead of more “democracy,” the world witnessed a rise in some of the most murderous and destructive dictatorships in history.
Yes, the old order was dead — to be replaced by communism, fascism, socialism, and Nazism.
Wilson’s dream of using the war to create a world government fell apart when the U.S. Senate refused to ratify America’s membership in the League of Nations. But as the leader of the victorious allies, he did succeed in forcing the losers to sign the Treaty of Versailles. That agreement’s incredibly harsh terms paved the way for Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and led to another world war.
Famed free-market economist Milton Friedman argued that Federal Reserve policies brought on the Great Depression. That led directly to the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. There was no President in the past century who did more to promote the growth of government than FDR. Longtime socialist leader Norman Thomas said Roosevelt implemented more of his policies than he ever could himself.
And let’s not forget Roosevelt’s lies and manipulations that got us into World War II, all the things Roosevelt did to give aid and technology to the Soviet Union during the war, or the horrible concessions afterward that condemned millions of people to a lifetime of slavery under communist rule.
Yes, FDR has to be high on every conservative’s list of the worst Presidents ever. But nothing he did changed the country as much or had an impact as long-lasting as the momentous events that took place one century ago.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing then-Congressman Ron Paul for Personal Liberty Digest. During our discussion, he said what this country really needed to do was “repeal 1913.”
While his statement was clearly meant to be rhetorical, I could tell Paul was excited about the concept.
“That way we could get rid of the income tax and the Federal Reserve at the same time,” he said. “If you repeal big government, you stop the hemorrhaging of the dollar. You repeal inflationary conditions. You restore a sound currency, which would go a long way to restoring a sound economy.”
Yes, a lot of good things could happen if we could just repeal 1913. Don’t you wish it were possible?
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears weekly. This article first appeared in PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.