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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How the U.S. income tax works

By Marshall Brain

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Tax time is upon us once again, and we all heave a collective sigh of resignation. There is nothing we can do about taxes, true. But have you ever wondered where income taxes came from, and why we pay them today? This is actually a fascinating story.

It all started in 1894, when Congress passed the "Revenue Act of 1894." It was a very simple tax. If you made more than $4,000 per year, you paid a 2 percent tax on your income. In 1894, $4,000 per year was a tremendous amount of income - an indication of great wealth. So the income tax of 1894 did not affect very many people, and the amount of tax was small.

Even so, the Supreme Court found the tax to be unconstitutional and struck it down. To get around the Supreme Court, Congress did the only thing it could do - it proposed a constitutional amendment and got it ratified. The 16th amendment reads, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." This amendment specifically allows there to be an income tax in the United States. It was ratified in 1913.

Now you might be wondering: why in the world would the citizens of the United States ratify an amendment like that? Why would the citizens give congress the ability to create a new kind of tax? It is because, at the time, people were worried about the wealthy having too much money and power. The income tax was seen as a tax that would only be applied to the wealthy, in order to curb their power. The first income tax laws applied only to the very wealthy. As late as 1940, only about 5 percent of the population paid income tax.

Another feature of today's income tax system is the idea of a payroll withholding. Before your tax is due, the government takes it automatically out of your paycheck and holds your money in escrow until April 15. You get no interest on your money and cannot use it in any way. Where did an idea like this come from, and why would Americans allow it? This idea came in 1943 as a way to fund WWII. By withholding the tax up to a year ahead of its due date, the government got the money faster and used it to pay for the war.

So in 1943, the government has two key things: a constitutionally-approved tax system, and the ability take money out of people's pay checks without them ever holding the money in their own hands. All of the ingredients are in place for a massive expansion of the tax system. And sure enough, the system expanded.

One way to track the expansion is to look at the size of the tax code. In 1945, the federal tax rules fit in about 8,000 pages. By 1965 it took about 20,000 pages. In 2006, the number had grown to 66,000 pages. How many pages is that? A phone book might have 1,000 pages, so imagine 66 phone books lined up on a long shelf. It would be about 20 feet of phone books. That's our tax code.

If you look at the instructions for the basic 1040 form, you see the same kind of thing. The 1040 form is only two pages long. In 1945 it took four pages of instructions to explain it. By 1965 it took 17 pages. Today it takes more than 140 pages.

The complexity of the tax code means that many people can no longer file their own tax returns. So there are now more than one million paid tax preparers in the United States. Many of them are employed by the top three tax preparation companies: H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt and Liberty. Together these companies handle more than 20 million customers per year.

Somehow, we all manage to muddle through, and we file something like 100 million individual taxable returns in a typical year. Using very round numbers here to keep things simple, these tax returns represent income of about $5 trillion. The total tax collected on that income is about $1 trillion, or roughly $10,000 per 1040 form, on average. That money combines with social security taxes ($900 billion), corporate income taxes ($260 billion) and other things like tariffs to create about $2.4 trillion in total federal revenue in 2007. It takes over 100,000 IRS employees to handle the load.

So, as you are burning the midnight oil to complete you tax returns, scratching your head over some incomprehensible rule or form, you now know a little bit of the history that got us here. We've come a very long way since the first income tax in 1913!

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How gum works
How caffeine works
How Daylight Saving Time works
How a cruise missile works
How snow making works

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