More Taxes, Less Drinking: Nice Work 1913!


Fun fact: Regional alcohol prohibition begat national income taxes which begat national prohibition:

In 1913, [with regional alcohol prohibition gaining popularity and dry politicians experiencing a boom] Congress overrode President William Howard Taft's veto of something called the Webb-Kenyon Act, which outlawed the importation of alcoholic beverages into a dry state….

The override was followed by enactment of a national income tax authorized by the recently ratified 16th Amendment. Until 1913, the federal government had depended on liquor taxes for as much as 40 percent of its annual revenue. "The chief cry against national Prohibition," the ASL's executive committee said in a policy statement that April, "has been that the government must have the revenue." But with an income tax replacing the levy on liquor, that argument evaporated, and the ASL could move beyond its piecemeal approach and declare its new goal: "National Prohibition, [to] be secured through the adoption of a Constitutional Amendment."

Read all the gory details in the Smithsonian magazine's piece on "the man who turned off the taps."