The seven day period beginning April 08 and ending April 15 has two important days, one joyous and one sad. April 08 is Peg’s birthday. Please wish her happiness and strength as she deals with having me home a lot more now. As to the other significant anniversary, Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865. As if paying our taxes on April 15 was not already sad enough.
Of course, there is a certain historic connection between federal income taxes and President Lincoln. He helped institute the first federal income tax to pay for the Civil War, which was fought to preserve the Union. However, after the Civil War ended the income tax was also ended until 1916 when it was made permanent by the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.
Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois claim Lincoln for our own but hardly anyone lays claim to the income tax. As Peg and I will wait until 11:59 p.m. on April 15 to pay ours we assume we will have a lot of fellow travelers. It is widely accepted that the major need for America to impose taxes on itself is to pay for wars or the preparation for potential wars. Oh, we expend a lot for various other things too such as salaries and expense accounts for Congress people, Executive Branch workers and judges, health care and the clean up after celebrations such as inaugurations and ticker-tape parades to honor sports teams. I am assured by those involved in these endeavors our hard earned money is well spent.
If you are like me you put Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in a separate rarified class from other presidents. And while George Washington never visited Posey County, Indiana as did Abraham Lincoln (thanks to my friend and historian Jerry King for this information), I note Washington managed to birth our nation without a federal income tax. Anyway, I forgive Lincoln since he took the time to dedicate a bridge in Savah, Posey County, Indiana in 1844 when he was campaigning for Henry Clay (1777-1852); Clay lost. Maybe those early Hoosiers suspected Abraham Lincoln might someday start an income tax.
Well, income taxes and the Civil War aside, Abraham Lincoln still has much to teach us about humility, compromise, mercy, justice and just plain decency. And as for Peg’s birthday, I am going to celebrate it by thanking you Gentle Readers who have been kind enough to commiserate with her as she has often served as a foil in these articles over the many years!