Monday, April 8, 2013

America's Story (part 12) - Death and Taxes

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
Benjamin Franklin

No kidding!

And that anecdote is never so obvious as in April, and especially ....

* April 15th *

And that date - April 15th - is a dark day in American history in many ways.  

A triple dark day!  

And those dark days all started the night before -  April 14th.

Let's start with ...

* Death *

The 19th century:

The dark days of the Civil War seemed over, as General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1965.  [reference: Surrender at Appomattox, 1865]

April 14, 1965 was to be a good day.  In fact it was Good Friday.  And President Lincoln was enjoying a night out at the theater when this happened:

Then came death, as President Lincoln passed away the following morning on April 15, 1865 - a victim of one of the most infamous assassinations in American  history.  [reference: President Lincoln dies — This Day in History — 4/15/1865]

The 20th century:

The Titanic embarked on her maiden voyage -  a luxurious trip from Southhampton, England across the Atlantic to New York City.  Among the famous first class passengers - American multi-millionaire John Jacob Astor IV and the "unsinkable" Mrs. Margaret "Molly" Brown.

Before midnight on April 14, 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg, and the wee hours of April 15, 1912,  this happened.

So the unsinkable Titanic sank into the North Atlantic.  Then came death as only 700 for the 1500 survived.  [reference:  RMS Titanic hits iceberg — This Day in History — 4/14/1912]  

Now for another dark side - the following year, 1913 came ...

* Taxes *

The 16th amendment passed, establishing the precedent of the government collecting taxes on income.  Ostensibly this was only to "tax the rich" - one percent of the population of one percent of their income.  [reference:  Our Documents - 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Federal Income Tax (1913)]

We know how that turned out.  Currently, taxable federal income is from 10 to almost 40 percent - hitting the middle class.  [reference:  Tax Brackets (Federal Income Tax Rates) 2000 through 2013]

As April 15th is the individual filing deadline [reference: File Your Taxes |], many burn the midnight oil on April 14 to get their taxes done.  April 14 and 15 are not good days.

The Beatles commented on some the inconsistency and unfairness of the tax system in the lyrics of their song - the Tax Man.

Taxes!  Benjamin Franklin was right as its certainty.  And even more so this year, Tax Freedom Day will come late -  April 18, 2013.  [reference: Tax Freedom Day® 2013 is April 18, Five Days Later Than Last Year | Tax Foundation]  (Missed April 15 by a few days.)

Death and Taxes as well as Benjamin Franklin are part of America's Story

And next post, I promise, will not be such as a downer.  But death and taxes are not exactly cheery topics - but we get through it and carry on.


Other posts in this series:

America's Story (part 1) - The Speech that redefined us, November 19, 1863 (2011)

America's Story (part 2) - Savages! (2011)

America's Story (part 3) - Over There - 1917, 1941 (2011)

America's Story (part 4) - Christmas 1944, when we said NUTS to the enemy (2011)

America's Story (part 5) - Amazing Grace (2012)

America's Story (part 6) - GI Joe Tuskegee Airmen (2012)

America's Story (part 7) - When Reagan was shot (2012)

America's Story (part 8) - Memorial Day, Gettysburg, and Amos Humiston (2012)


Photo from: - Death and Taxes

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