When a federal income tax was being debated in 1910, Richard E. Byrd (1860-1925), Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, made the following prediction about what such a tax would mean.
“A hand from Washington will be stretched out and placed upon every man’s business; the eye of the Federal inspector will be in every man’s counting house. The law will of necessity have inquisitorial features, it will provide penalties. It will create a complicated machinery. Under it businessmen will be hauled into courts distant from their homes. Heavy fines imposed by distant and unfamiliar tribunals will constantly menace the taxpayer. An army of Federal inspectors, spies and detectives will descend upon the state. They will compel men of business to show their books and disclose the secrets of their affairs. They will dictate forms of bookkeeping. They will require statements and affidavits. On the one hand the inspector can blackmail the taxpayer and on the other, he can profit by selling his secret to his competitor.”
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