Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. Andre Gide

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The income tax, then and now

Mark Perry entertains us with a comparison of the U.S. income tax form that filers were required to fill out in 1913: see all 4 pages here.  

Almost 100 years later, the instructions alone (1040 in total) take up 189 pages.

How will it look, I wonder, 100 years from now? 


  1. Both the income tax and the Fed have centennials coming up. I wonder if there will be much celebration.

  2. There will be dancing in the streets, I'm sure.

  3. Human societies are getting complex with the passage of time so are the paraphernalia. Early 20th century countries even with democratic governments could ignore the demand of their constituents which today's semi-autocratic governments can't do even. The increasing complexity of tax forms are just one example. I don't see any issue in that. If one takes a little longer view, we have evolved from just one cell bacterial organism to the most complex animal - does anybody complain about that?
    Osman, Canada.

    1. Osman, who's complaining? Your Darwinian perspective that parasites can be expected to grow in complexity along with their hosts is a keen observation.

  4. I suspect some form of parasite medicine will be developed in the next 100 years before or after the current parasites kill the hosts I am not sure.

  5. Gee, they really had sharp, clean fonts back in 1913. I'm impressed!

    David: Do you know how many billions of dollars were used to subsidize farming in 1913? I'm always impressed with the vast amount of multi-partisan support for paying farmers to destroy habitat. Must be God's will, eh?

    The USA--where even the so-called anti-government ideologues are big supporters of the modern welfare state.

  6. David, have you seen the Donald Duck Walt Disney wartime propaganda movies urging people to pay their taxes? Shows that same simple tax form.