Tacitus, the gabby Roman historian of 1 A.D., reported a new scam making the rounds in ancient commercial circles:
A tax of four per cent on the sale of slaves was remitted, an apparent rather than a real boon, for as the seller was ordered to pay it, purchasers found it was added as part of the price.
I have a clue for Tacitus, who was probably the world’s first newspaper columnist, judging by the volume of imperial dirt he uncovered and publicized. This tax racket probably had been around since governments first learned to squeeze wealth from working stiffs. Smarter stiffs found a way to make the dumber stiffs do the paying.
And it is still going today, as exemplified by the “make them pay their fair share” philosophy of the Democrat Party. The “them” to whom our proto-socialists refer are mostly corporations, because they are the entities with the most money. As each new tax is levied, manufacturers and distributors simply jack up their prices and John Public does the actual paying. Politicians love this process because they escape the lethal political onus of having voted for a hated general tax. Continue reading