The Obliviousness of the Tax Person

As a dull tax person, I don’t seem to know much about drawing a crowd.  For a scheduled Continuing Legal Education presentation on alcohol excises, my draft description of a lecture got totally revised:

Sent in:  The History of Alcohol Taxation in America

The story starts during colonial days (why not the Boston Rum Party?) and moves through the Whisky Rebellion, the Civil War, and the time when alcohol taxes supplied over 20 percent of Federal revenue.  It looks at how the 16th (income tax) Amendment had to pay for taxes that Prohibition lost, at the return of taxes in 1934, and at our time of Big Alcohol and anti-tax attitude.

The administrator sent this back for my OK:

Alcohol Taxation

Did you know that back in 1773, taxes sparked Americans to destroy three shiploads of British tea? Then in 1791, Alexander Hamilton’s proposed excise tax on alcohol was enough to prompt the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania.  We Americans have a long history with various kinds of taxes; this presentation will explore the fascinating history of just one the taxation of alcohol in the United States.

Well, the 1791 tax wasn’t just proposed, it was enacted; a dash is missing; if we cover 1773, we go beyond the history of “the United States,” which didn’t exist then.  And “fascinating” may promise too much.  I can see the trees, but maybe not the forest.


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