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Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America

av Charles Adams

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For everyone who hates paying taxes, here is a fact-filled provocative look at the history of tax revolts in America and the surprising role they have played in shaping our nation.

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My reactions to reading this book in 1999.

Besides further bolstering his claim that Northern tariffs were the root cause, not slavery, of the American Civil War (he quotes from a debate at the time between Charles Dickens, who takes Adams’ side, and John Stuart Mill who gives the traditional slavery argument), Adams does a good job showing how ruthless tax collection has long existed in a land known for liberty. The very beginning of the Constitutional Republic was marked by Federal suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion with Alexander Hamilton leading the effort in 1794 and the Fries Rebellion in 1798 Pennsylvania, a revolt against taxes on doors and windows. Justice Samuel Chase tried to railroad leader John Fries to the gallows and was almost impeached.

The Internal Revenue Service was proceeded by the ruthless, and frequently lethal, Internal Revenue Bureau who collected liquor excise taxes in the South. There were many deaths on both sides. The Ku Klux Klan frequently targeted “revenuers” who were paid piecework style. The fact that their attackers and murderers would be tried in state rather than federal courts would often mean no conviction. Adams goes on to show how the Income tax grew in intrusiveness and the rapacious steps the IRS (Adams rightly blames Congress for its tax laws and lack of oversight) takes in modern times including overseas offices and the disallowing of surrendered citizenship as a tax evasion method. Adams notes the IRS’ ruthlessness is matched, in democracies, only by Germany and Japan.

Adams briefly explains why Swiss banks and the privacy laws their for banking don’t aid crime. (He makes no mention of the controversy of Nazis hiding – allegedly – confiscated Jewish wealth their.) He also digresses into something beyond the quasi-libertarian nature of his thesis when he rants about “radiation poisoning” and environmental destruction as well as the expected targets of budget deficits and the welfare state. ( )
  RandyStafford | Oct 12, 2013 |
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For everyone who hates paying taxes, here is a fact-filled provocative look at the history of tax revolts in America and the surprising role they have played in shaping our nation.

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