One may recall that Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) lived in a time in which there was no income tax in the first place.
So one should not trot him out with a statement that today has quite a bit a different meaning. Yeah I know, progressive thinking demands that tax slavery be regarded as more freedom, but it's a slightly revolting thought at best.
The Origin of the Income Tax
The first proposal to impose an income tax on America occurred during the War of 1812. After two years of war, the federal government had accumulated a then-staggering $100 million of debt. To fund the war against Britain, the government doubled the rates of its major source of revenue, customs duties on imports, which obstructed trade and ended up yielding less revenue than the previous lower rates. At the height of the war, excise taxes were imposed on goods and commodities, and housing, slaves and land were taxed. After the war ended in 1816, these taxes were repealed and instead a high tariff was passed to retire the accumulated war debt. Thankfully, the notion of an income tax was defeated.
However, the malevolent spirit of the income tax reappeared as a measure to fund the Union armies in the war to prevent the secession of the Confederacy. The war was expensive, costing on average $1,750,000 a day. Struggling to meet this expenditure, the Republican Congress borrowed heavily, doubled tariff rates (the Morrill Tariff initially provoked the Deep South to secede), sold off public lands, imposed a maze of licensing fees, increased old excise tax rates and created new excise taxes. But none of this was enough.
In July 1861, the Congress passed a 3% tax on all net income above $600 a year (about $10,000 today). However, no revenue was ever raised because a second tax passed before the first was due (on June 30, 1862). The war's demand on resources made the earlier tax ineffective, and the sale of bonds could not keep up with the expenditures of the administration and the armies. In March, the Congress passed an income tax of 3% on annual incomes of $600 to $10,000 and 5% on incomes from $10,000 to $50,000 and threw in a small inheritance tax too. Lincoln signed the bill on July 1, 1862 to take effect a month later. The Union debt then stood at $505 million. This tax also included the first appearance of withholding and was applied to federal salaries and on interest and dividends.