No, I did not just pull this from today’s headlines. If you notice this post is in my It’s All Happened Before category. I come across quite a few newspaper articles that give me the deja vu willies. For reference, according to Measuring Worth, using the contemporary standard of living scale $20 today (before taxes) is equal to $592.00, and $4 (taxes taken out) equal to $118.
The Western New Yorker (Warsaw, NY)
THE “TAX RACKET”
April 16, 1940
A recent survey, reported to be among the most accurate ever made, concerned the proportion of income paid in taxes by a typical workingman earning $20 a week. The survey found that $4 of this modest wage went to the tax collector.
That $4 was not paid directly, of course—it is probable that the average worker doesn’t know he is taxed at all. He isn’t concerned with income tax blanks and the other myriad and involved tax reports required by government of those in higher income brackets. His $4 was paid indirectly, throughout the entire week. High taxes make a loaf of bread cost a penny more than it would otherwise, a pair of shoes cost fifty cents more, a ticket to a movie a dime more, the monthly electric bill sixty cents more. So it goes, down the endless list of purchases and payments we all make. The tax collector is always at your elbow—a highly expensive if unforeseen companion.
And here is the living proof of the fact that the real burden of taxation falls more heavily on the man of small means than the man of large. Four dollars a week taken out of a $20 paycheck means that this typical worker’s family must go without needed clothes, medical attention, entertainment, etc. It means less money for insurance or savings. It means poorer housing, poorer meals.
We’ve heard much of that proportion of the population which is “ill fed, ill housed and ill clothed.” What we don’t hear often enough is that the burden of debt and taxation is largely responsible for that, and in two ways. First, it takes a percentage of the small wage earner’s income which he obviously cannot afford if he is to maintain a decent standard of living. Secondly, it deprives him of jobs and opportunities and the chance for better pay. An over taxed business doesn’t expand and hire more men. Nor, when it is being drained to the limit by government, can it increase wages.
So the little man is getting it in the neck—as a result of those suicidal fiscal policies pursued by a group of politicians who weep copious crocodile tears on behalf o the people. It’s time the “little man” woke up to the racket.
Doesn’t this sound exactly like all the fiscal cliff business we just went through?