American Division, Class Struggle and the Progressive Income Tax – “What has happened to us? Why has partisan animosity replaced thoughtful discussion and debate?”
by Bill Lockwood
America is arguably more divided now than ever in its history. Cleavages exist between races; whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians; between political parties, Democrat versus Republican; between classes rich and poor, middle class supporting the welfare class. We are daily fed a diet of radical divides between the police and minority communities; even variances between Californians, some of which are ready to splinter off and form their own state and others who are prepared to join Mexico again. Multiculturalists in the universities commonly celebrate foreign cultures while denigrating Americanism. The states are becoming even more balkanized than during the Civil War in which north and south soldiers still respected each other on the battlefield.
What has happened to us? Why has partisan animosity replaced thoughtful discussion and debate? Why is it that everyone who differs from me becomes either a xenophobe, homophobe, Islamaphobe, or some other phobe? Besides the obvious fact that our culture has retreated from God–which lies at the heart of our division–is the “class struggle” sponsored by Marxist philosophy. Deep wedges are being driven into our once-peaceful culture.
Anti-communist researcher James D. Bales wrote, “Class struggle is such an essential part of the Marxian philosophy that one cannot abandon it without abandoning Marxism.” A summary of Karl Marx’s views indicates that a class is made up of a group of individuals who sustain the same relationship to the ownership or the non-ownership of the means of production. The two basic classes are those who own the means of production and distribution (the bourgeois) and those who do not (proletariat).
Friedrich Engels, Marx’s partner in crime, explained that the great lever to effect social change is to divide society along “political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological” class. In this way, by driving these wedges, Marx produced the collision in society necessary for socialism. It is without argument that Marx’s class struggle has become tremendously successful in America. But how did these wedges get a foothold among our once united people?
The Income Tax
Granted, many divisions are natural, such as between races. But the primary method of exacerbating these natural divides and creating more class division is the Income Tax. Karl Marx knew this, therefore, after the abolition of private property, Marx’s second plank is: a “heavy, progressive income tax.”
Our founding fathers knew the dangers of progressive taxation as well. They warned against it, even writing into the Constitution: “All duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States” (Art. 1.8). But the so-called “Progressives” (read, socialists), taking their cues from Karl Marx instead of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, inaugurated the Progressive Income Tax in 1913. America has been in the throes of class struggle ever since.
Twenty years prior to the infamous Income Tax of 1913, as Progressivism began to take hold, Congress had experimented with another income tax (1894) that was designed to tax only the top 2% of wealth holders. The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional (Burton Fulsom, Founders on Taxation).
Stephen Field, a veteran of 30 years on the Court, was outraged that Congress would pass a bill to tax a small voting bloc and exempt the larger group of voter. At age 77, Field not only repudiated Congress’s actions he also penned a prophecy. A small progressive tax, he predicted, ‘will be but a stepping stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich.’
This is exactly what occurred. Under the influence of the Progressives at the turn of the last century liberal Republicans and Democrats both crafted bills in Congress designed to “soak the rich.” Conservatives who blocked the unconstitutional idea were labeled as favoring “the part of the rich.”
Class warfare had begun in earnest. Uniform taxation was a thing of the past and along with it equal protection under the law. The government, by nature, now became the aggressor to shake down the little man. By the time of Franklin Roosevelt votes were being bought and sold by means of the IRS code while on the flip side Roosevelt’s opponents were subjected to IRS investigations and continual government harassment.
Elliot Roosevelt, the president’s son, stated in 1975 that “my father may have been the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.” As Burton Fulsom points out, Elliot added, “each of his successors followed his lead.”
What is the point of this history? Barack Obama’s employment of the IRS to target conservatives while Lois Lerner headed the Exempt Organizations Unit is nothing new. Obama was featured on a major magazine as Roosevelt himself. Now other government agencies, including the entire Justice Department, is being revealed as a partisan player in power politics. Witness the disgrace of James Comey and the leadership of the FBI.
James Madison was right all along. “The spirit of party and faction” would prevail entirely in the United States if Congress could tax one group of citizens and confer benefits on another group. Our social unrest will continue until the Income Tax is repealed.