I can’t remember the last time I rode a train that pulled into Washington’s Union Station. One of the last buildings those tracks pass before the station closes over them is the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service, with which I’ve had a love-hate relationship since about 1968.
As a means of collecting revenue, a tax on income seems less objectionable than a sales or property tax, because — theoretically, at least — the burden only increases in proportion to the ability to pay. As a wage earner and salaried employee, I always assumed that business owners avoided most income tax through accounting tricks. I still suspect that’s the case with bigger operations, but I had not been self-employed long before learning, to my surprise, how much of the gross is consumed by the cost of supplies, equipment and production.