Wall Column

The 16th Amendment

Ah,  everyone’s favorite Amendment, right? You like to pay your fair share of your income to support the various public benefits that you receive or will receive in the future, right?  

The federally supported Medicaid program has enough current funding to last only until the end of 2022. With baby boomers retiring at record rates, Social Security, in it’s current formulation, is scheduled to run out of money ten years later. 

In 1913, a graduated income tax based on one’s gross income was thought to be the “fairest” kind of tax.  The Amendment actually permits Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the various states or basing it on the US Census on the basis of population.  But with over a century of special interest legislation, the income tax has become a drain on the middle class. People on poverty levels and the wealthy are barely affected by the current taxation system. The only difference for the upper classes is the designation of monies earmarked for certain types of tax-deferred investments. 

But following the Spanish-American War, the country was eager to expand it’s holdings, and needed the extra revenue. It was during this time that the US acquired Guantanamo Bay in Cuba,  Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Philippines, and Hawaii. 

The tax was originally debated in Congress and 36 states. The 16th Amendment finally became the law of the land.  The Amendment, to this day, remains the most unpopular one.                   

Note (April 30): The Sweet Williams and other wild flowers are out in full bloom. There are new fern and Columbine growing out of the tiny ledges on the north face of the bluff next to swift flowing Hunter Creek. I have heard old-timers say that the mushroom season is basically over once Sweet Williams appear in force. I have no blue bonnets yet in my pastures. Maybe the night time temps along Hunter Creek are still too low. 

But I have begun to hear quite a few gobblers in the morning. When turkey season begins, the foliage in the forest is pretty much a blank slate. But when it closes three weeks later, the leaves on the trees have filled out nicely and we are usually well on our way to what I call our “peak jungle” week, usually occurring in the last week of May.  The big question now, is when will the rain spigot be turned off?   Apparently, not anytime soon.

On another note of passing, I counted 10 obituaries in the local paper last week. I don’t keep count, but that number must be a record or close to being one. Among the people that I knew and respected was the unexpected death of carpenter and rancher Les Stillings, age 58.  Also, Max Decker, a long-time educator in the Ava school system, passed on at age 90. 

My sincere sympathies go out to Carla Stillings, Mona Decker, and their immediate and extended families.       

Now get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!