More Taxes, Less Drinking: Nice Work 1913!


a cryin' shame

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."

NEXT: Watching the Detectives

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  1. But we can’t possibly legalize marijuana if it would be taxed!!!! We’d rather have a black market feeding criminal gangs bags of cash and go to jail!!!

    1. Those who want to legalize pot so they can tax it, want to tax at rates far exceeding that of alchohol or tobacco.

      1. Off topc, but since you are around, I must convey some bad news: A very good friend and his wife were convicted of failure to file income tax returns by a jury in the federal district court in Boston. They are looking at 18-24 months.

        Guess which guru my friend first followed? Your pal and mine, none other than Irwin Schiff.

        1. 16th amendment: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

          Page 1 of the tax code: Sec(1)
          There is hereby imposed on the taxable income of every individual…

          It’s on page 1 of the tax code, for Christ’s sake. There’s a specific constitutional amendment permitting the feds to do it. What is there to argue about?

          1. Toxic, define “taxable income” and specify which Code provision does this, unambiguously and without reference to other provisions.

            Thus, if you stop at 26 USC 1, you lose. All that says is that a tax is imposed on taxable income. You gotta do better than that.

            1. Section 61 defines gross income as including just about anything not specifically excluded. I won’t continue in this debate as there is nothing to debate. You can argue about how they spend the money but there’s no constitutional issue.

          2. FEBRUARY 25, 1913: The sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is declared in effect. [As a footnote: This amendment did not confer any new power of taxation on Congress and did not extend the power of taxation to subjects previously exempted. Its whole purpose was to exclude the source from which income tax is a direct tax which must be apportioned among the states, and thus remove the occasion which might otherwise exist for an apportionment. [27th American Jurisprudence, Section 17, pages 317, 318.] “The source of the taxing power is not the 16th Amendment, it is Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.” [Penn Mutual Indemnity Co. v. Commissioner, 32 T.C. 1959, CCH at pg. 659.]

  2. And the winner of the worst year in the history of the Republic award goes to:


    1. Federal Reserve Act, too. WTF was wrong with people?

      Oh yeah, they were infatuated with “progressivism.”

      1. Direct election of senators.

        1. Second worst decade in U.S. history.

        2. I concur. Repealing 17 would fix a lot of problems.

          1. I agree, too, but it’s never going to happen. Too many people believe in DEMOCRACY! now and see their state government as a useless appendage at this point.

            16 and 17 combined were basically the enabler of the federal leviathan that we have today.

  3. Stupidity begat serfdom begat stupidity, forever and ever, amen.

    1. Well I can’t understand none of it. This one begat that one and that one begat this one, and lo and behold someone says some shit to someone else – just how retarded are you, anyway?

  4. Let’s give the federal government the exclusive right to tax mind-altering indigestibles. And repeal every other federal tax immediately.

    1. Indigestibles?

      Is that like inflammable = flammable?

      1. Dangit! I had typed “ingestibles”, which the Firefox spellchecker disliked. I must’ve accidentally allowed it to “correct” me.

        1. All your grammar are belong to us

          1. I defy you with great defiance!

            1. Go Zig-zag!

        2. Perhaps comestibles was the word you wanted?

          1. No, ingestibles.

  5. Well, hell – the British Empire was built (to a statistically significant degree) on alcohol excise taxes.

    1. And revenues from opium.

  6. And people here blame women for the nanny-statism. While I think they bear the brunt of it, this is seven years before we get the right to vote! Wussification of the American male starts somewhere around here.

    1. What kind of chick name is “Zoltan”?

      1. The kind who plays WoW?

        1. Wasn’t Zoltan in Big<?I>?

          1. This is simply not my day.

            1. Her handle is, of course, a reference to the Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, educator, linguist, and philosopher Kod?ly Zolt?n (1882?1967).

              1. No way, he was a dude. And he had a accent on his “a.”

                1. The lack of an accent mark makes it a feminine name. Once again I am baffled that you feel the need to highlight your gross deficiencies in understanding the Hungarian language.

                  1. It’s a fair cop.

                  2. ProL never understands when to stop, NutraSweet. He just doesn’t know when he’s out of his league.

                    1. Ha! Your Hungarian is much worse than mine. I say nothing about your abysmal Finnish. I read your translation of the Kalevala. Pure, juvenile crap.

                    2. You’re imputations of my linguistic skills have pushed me to the very edge of societal politeness. I shall only say: Good day to you, sir.

                    3. No, no, no, I was insulting Episiarch. I had just conceded to your superior skills in Hungarian, after all.

                      Damn these nested, threaded, tortuous comments! Damn them to hell!

      2. Well, I think it’s a damn fine chick name.

        Do you suppose she’d enjoy cruising around drinking beer and shooting firearms out of my big floating head?

    2. 12 states, all of whom voted for passage, allowed women to vote by then.

      The sufferage and temperance movements were so tightly interwoven it was hard to see where one ended and the other began.

      Prohibition would have never been passed if not for the efforts of Protestant women.

      1. Catholic women would’ve been just as bad if they weren’t so busy getting drunk and knocked up.

        1. ***SNORT*** 🙂

      2. Sufferage was the beginning of the end.

      3. It’s suffrage.

        1. Of all the things I promised you that brutal December morn, learning to spell was never one of them.

          1. Suffer for your sufferage! Release the Kraken!

        2. engineer got fat fingers

          1. I was addressing SugarFree. He likely corrupted your spelling with his earlier, more egregious error.

      4. The Jesus’ first miracle was producing some booze for a big wedding party! Alcohol and partying are just fine for the Jesus, but not good enough for Protestant dames?

        Got this hunch there’s a shit load o’ rooms in Heaven, but not a one for a dry old teetotaling twat.

      5. That’s where my colleagues and I came up with the PMRC record-labeling jihad back in the 1980s!

    3. And people here blame women for the nanny-statism.

      Wonder where we get that idea?

      Wiki on WCTU:

      The purpose was to combat the influence of alcohol on families and society. The first president was Annie Wittenmyer. Frances Willard, a noted feminist, was its second president, and made the greatest leaps for the group. They were inspired by the Greek writer Xenophon who defined temperance as “moderation in all things healthful; total abstinence from all things harmful.” In other words, should something be good, it should not be indulged in to excess. Should something be bad for you, it should be avoided altogether; thus their attempts to rid their surroundings of what they saw (and still see) as the dangers of alcohol. The WCTU perceived alcoholism as a consequence of larger social problems rather than as a personal weakness or failing.

      Thus the WCTU was very interested in a number of social reform issues including: labor, prostitution, public health, sanitation and international peace. As the movement grew in numbers and strength, members of the WCTU also focused on suffrage. The WCTU was instrumental in organizing woman’s suffrage leaders and in helping more women become involved in American politics. Local chapters, known as “unions”, were largely autonomous though linked to state and national headquarters. Willard pushed for tmen, who viewed them as radicals, the WCTU offered a more traditionally feminine and appropriate organization for women to join.

      Although the WCTU had chapters throughout North America and had hundreds of thousands of members, it did not initially accept Catholic, Jewish, or African-American women, or women who had not been born in North America[citation needed]. Today that is no longer the case. In fact, today men may also join the organization as honorary members. In contrast to the WCTU’s stated aims, not all large-scale Christian groups and movements believe the consumption of alcohol to be inconsistent with practice of Christianity

      I don’t hold zoltan responsible for any of it;)

      1. Prohibition, public health,prostitution ban, no personal responsibility (blame “society”), “International Peace”,racism and religious bigotry…

    4. Wait, the Prohibition movement wasn’t pushed by women? Carrie Nation, that sort of crap?

  7. Forgive me in advance:

    We built this empire,
    We built this empire on al-co-hol.
    We built this empire,
    We built this empire on al-co-hol.

    1. Don’t make me come up there!

      1. I told you I’d defy you!

        1. **clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp**

    2. Forgive? What’s to forgive?

      Any reference to 1985 is fine by me.

      1. Well, the underlying song is rather crappy.

        1. Yes, but not the album as “Sara” is one of my ten best pop tunes ever.

  8. The Temperance Movement is the model of most progressive nanny-state legislation. See if this passage from Wikipedia sounds familiar:

    For decades prohibition was seen by temperance movement zealots and their followers as the almost magical solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills. On the eve of prohibition the invitation to a church celebration in New York said “Let the church bells ring and let there be great rejoicing, for an enemy has been overthrown and victory crowns the forces of righteousness.”[citation needed] Jubilant with victory, some in the WCTU announced that, having brought Prohibition to the United States, it would now go forth to bring the blessing of enforced abstinence to the rest of the world.

    The famous evangelist Billy Sunday staged a mock funeral for John Barleycorn and then preached on the benefits of prohibition. “The reign of tears is over,” he asserted. “The slums will soon be only a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs.”

    1. It was, of course, “For the Children.”

      1. I have a question. Who are these kids, and why am I having to adjust my life for them? I’m pretty sure they aren’t my kids.

        1. Let’s just say I’ve made ‘friendly visits’ to many US states.

          Be nice to any child named “Fitzaresen”.

          1. So we’re passing all of these laws to protect your illegitimate offspring?

            Well, that’s okay, I guess.

    2. I should have kept reading…

  9. I’m curious:

    Why did they need a Constitutional amendment for alcohol prohibition, but not for the War on Drugs?

    1. Because they learned that their are easier, sneakier ways of doing prohibition, that are actually much harder to repeal. Scheduling drugs instead of banning them amounted to the same thing, but was “constitutional”. Ha.

      1. Really, why not just genetically engineer the population so that certain drugs become completely lethal to us? Harder to do, but much more effective. While they’re at it, design people to have more faith in the government.

        1. Well, they already have Antabuse and are working on a cocaine vaccine.

          1. Better to do it at the molecular level, I always say.

            1. You don’t need to make them lethal, just make them so they aren’t fun any more.


            2. They don’t have to be lethal; you just have to make them no fun any more.


              I wonder how long it will be until some nanny suggests putting it in the water.

        2. Ever seen Equilibrium, ProL? Not quite the same, but the ideas are similar.

          1. Yeah, same idea. But if we’re genetically engineered for docility (and to avoid certain prohibited substances, like pot and salt), the world would be so much better.

        3. Designer humans?


          I’d like to be a nice shade of light blue, nine feet tall and have large ears and yellow eyes and the ability to link my nervous system with other species so I could control…

          Wait a minute! I hated that movie.

          1. Is that that Smurfs movie?

            1. I’ll hate that one later.

              Besides, smurfs are 3 feet tall.

              (Interesting, isn’t it, that “smurf” needs only two minor keying errors to become “snuff”?)

              1. The Smurfs were all about death and communist politics. Everyone knows that.

                1. Then why did the UN bomb them?

                  1. Competition.

  10. The War on Drugs was after FDR’s lackeys turned the commerce clause into a general police power.

    1. The WoDs really got going after the Harrison Narcotics Tax act of 1914.
      They really went after the doctors too. The WoDs I was so effective they were running out of things to do so FDR and his Congress cme up wuth prescriptions for non-narcotic drugs and marijuana prohibition.

      1. Don’t forget MY contributions! I was a professional anti-pot asshole, and I got paid by the taxpayers, bitches!

        Oops, time for Satan to shove pineapples up my ass. Gotta go.

  11. So, since the income tax was instituted to be “revenue neutral” (in today’s terms) and offset prohibition…when we they repealed Prohibition, then of course they repealed the income tax, since alcohol could be taxed again, so they didn’t need the income taxes, too, so…wait…

    Release the VAT!

  12. Yeah, yeah, yeah,….what I want to know is whether Katherine participated in Boobquake 2010?

    1. Katherine is a very classy lady, sir. I’ll have you know she was there [or has a good reason why she wasn’t].

  13. The constitution is a living document, It’s never to late to amend the commerce clause.

    1. Oh, no need for that! It already means anything our rulers want it to mean, so – it’s all good! Yaaaaay Commerce Clause!

  14. I’d like to think that Wheeler is, right now, in Hell, boiling his flesh off, over and over, in a bathtub of gin.

    1. Those will be remembered by Wayne B. Wheeler as the good ol’ days back when Hell was, well, just hellish. Back before the rest of us arrived and ruined everything for him.

      What goes around comes around, indeed.

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