The Rosetta Stone to the US Code: A New History of Taxation

1. The Making of a Tax Historian

September 6, 2004
Charles Adams, the tax writer, tells young people to get a liberal education and go with the flow. He took tax law and he taught history. He saw that there was a tax story behind every event. Taxes, not slavery, caused the Civil War.Taxes began in Sumer. “Taxes are the fuel that make...

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10. Learning from the Past: What History Teaches

September 6, 2004
Adams suggests nine reform items to tame the tax monster: 1) tear down the spy system, 2) establish a crime for tax extortion as well as a civil action for damages, 3) establish a civil action for damages for tortious tax administration including: malicious tax investigations, extortions, leaked...

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2. The Bible's World of Taxes

September 6, 2004
Adams begins this session with facts about taxation being the basis of the Civil War, not slavery. If the British had not taxed the colonies, the colonies would have remained with Britain and slavery would have been ended when Britain ended it. The thousand year history of the Romans covered...

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3. The Kaleidoscopic Romans

September 6, 2004
Adams begins with a few tidbits: taxation problems caused the end of Egypt and the taxes that the Greeks put on the Jews were an excessive one-third. Sulla of Rome created special tax agents, essentially IRS agents, to collect taxes. Cicero felt that the era of chaos made a military dictatorship...

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4. The Middle Ages

September 6, 2004
Lady Godiva’s naked ride on her horse was a protest over taxes. Ship money for war ships was collected in Britain even though there was then no war...

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5. The Swiss: From William Tell to No Tell

September 6, 2004
Note:The Swiss are not mentioned in this lecture. King Solomon, king of Israel from 970 to 931 BC, lusted after women as he grew older. He had a thousand wives and concubines. Solomon spent tax moneys for luxurious palaces and his harem. His treasury was soon empty, so he found new ways to drain...

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6. Tax Revolt in the Netherlands

September 6, 2004
In this lecture Adams talks about the Enlightenment which was the philosophy of the eighteenth century. It was the high water mark of man’s thinking on taxes. They were wise; we’re not. These thinkers used the past as a guide...

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7. After the Magna Carta

September 6, 2004
Does liberty sow the seeds of its own destruction? Yes, by consenting to excessive taxes. Government will not want to give up the power. Taxes were to be only for common defense, not offensive wars.

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8. The Civil War

September 6, 2004
A tariff set the stage for the American Civil War. The quarrel between the North and the South was a fiscal quarrel, not a war over slavery. The tariff of 1828 was called the tariff of abomination. Nullification was a strong argument to void unconstitutional federal laws.

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9. American Taxation

September 6, 2004
The Laffer Curve from the 1920s reflects the truism that a 77 percent tax rate produces the same amount of revenue as a 7 percent tax rate. Once the tax rate exceeds twenty-five percent, less will be collected.

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