Quotes by Will Rogers

Will Rogers on Taxes

Income Tax        Sales Tax        Inheritance Tax


(DT = Daily Telegram; WA= Weekly Article)

“The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.” WA #17, April 8, 1923 (also WA #99, Nov. 2, 1924)

“There is some talk of lowering (the income tax), and they will have to. People are not making enough to pay it.” WA #17, April 8, 1923

“Our financial ills will never be settled till you fix it so every man will pay an income tax on what he earns, be it a farm, grocery store or municipal or government bonds.” DT #2068 March 21, 1933

“We got a long-sighted government. When everybody has got money they cut the taxes, and when they’re broke they raise ’em.” DT #1770, March 27, 1932

“It costs ten times more to govern us than it used to, and we are not governed one-tenth as good.” DT #1770, March 27, 1932

[Randall Reeder sure looks a lot like Will Rogers. And he gives talks as “Will” that are entertaining and help people feel good about who they are and what they do, and forget about their taxes for a while. Contact him at:          614-477-0439 (cell phone)]

“I don’t see why a man shouldn’t pay an inheritance tax. If a Country is good enough to pay taxes to while you are living, it’s good enough to pay in after you die. By the time you die you should be so used to paying taxes that it would just be almost second nature to you.” WA #168, Feb. 28, 1926

“Now they got such a high inheritance tax on ’em that you won’t catch these old rich boys dying promiscuously like they did. This bill makes patriots out of everybody. You sure do die for your country if you die from now on.” DT #1767, March 23, 1932

“They have passed the big inheritance tax, and that gets you when you are gone. You used to could die and be able to beat taxes, but not now. The undertaker don’t go over your body as carefully as the assessor does your accumilated assets, and he gets his before the undertaker. They have it on these big fortunes now where they pay as high as 60 to 70 percent of what they leave. That’s mighty expensive dying when it runs into money like that, and you won’t see ’em dropping off as casually as they have been.” WA #594, May 13, 1934

“Finding things to tax is becoming quite a problem. You see when taxes first started, (who started ’em anyhow?) Noah must have taken into the ark two taxes, one male and one female, and did they multiply bountifully! Next to guinea pigs, taxes must have been the most prolific of animals. WA #594, May 13, 1934

“Get a sales tax, small on necessities and large on luxuries; then a stiff inheritance tax on the fellow that saves and don’t spend. That will get him either way. A tax paid on the day you buy is not as tough as asking you for it the next year when you are broke.” DT #1599, Sept. 7, 1931

“The sales tax is the best and most equitable tax. The gasoline tax, which is nothing but a sales tax, has proven painless, productive and punitive. Everything we buy should have its equal proportion of tax, outside of cheap food and cheap clothes.” DT #1701, Jan. 5, 1932

“If a thousand shares of stocks or bonds make nothing, you pay nothing. But on a thousand acres of land you pay enough to support half the community who own no land and pay no taxes.” DT #1908, Sept. 15, 1932

“Why don’t they use a sales tax? That is the only fair and just tax. Have no tax on necessary foods, and moderate priced necessary clothes, but put a tax on every other thing you buy or use. Then the rich fellow who buys more and uses more certainly has no way of getting out of paying his share. Collect it at the source, that is at the manufacturer’s. Don’t depend on the retailer. Put big taxes on everything of a luxury nature. You do that, and let the working man know the rich have paid before they got it and you will do more than any one thing to settle some of the unrest and dissatisfaction that you hear every day. No slick lawyer or income tax expert can get you out of a sales tax.” WA #99, Nov. 2, 1924

“The high income tax come pretty near passing in the Senate. Only lacked about six votes. So it won’t be long now. Well, there is millions and millions that are not making it, that would be glad to give up 99 per cent if you would let ’em earn a hundred thousand or more.” DT #2395, April 6, 1934

“You can’t legitimately kick on income tax, for it’s on what you have made. You have already made it. But, look at land, farms, homes, stores, vacant lots. You pay year after year on them whether you make it or not. DT #1798, April 28, 1932

“There is a tremendous movement on to get lower taxes on earned incomes. Then will come the real problem, ‘Who among us on salary are earning our income?'” DT #1051, Dec. 8, 1929

“The whole trouble with the Republicans is their fear of an increase in income tax, especially on higher incomes. They speak of it almost like a national calamity. I really believe if it come to a vote whether to go to war with England, France and Germany combined, or raise the rate on incomes of over $100,000, they would vote war.” DT #1435, Feb. 27, 1931

“The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it’s in the way that it’s spent.” DT #1764, March 20, 1932

“We owe more money than any Nation in the World, and we are LOWERING TAXES. When is the time to pay off a debt if it is not when you are doing well? You let a Politician return home from Washington and announce, ‘Boys we lowered your taxes. We had to borrow the money to do it, but we did it.’ Say, they would elect him for life.” WA #161, Jan. 10, 1926

“When a party can’t think of anything else they always fall back on Lower Taxes. It has a magic sound to a voter, just like Fairyland is spoken of and dreamed of by all children. But no child has ever seen it; neither has any voter ever lived to see the day when his taxes were lowered. Presidents have been promising lower taxes since Washington crossed the Delaware by hand in a row boat. But our taxes have gotten bigger and their boats have gotten larger until now the President crosses the Delaware in his private yacht.” WA #97, Oct. 19, 1924

“If your Income Taxes go to help out the less fortunate, there could be no legitimate kick against it in the world. This is becoming the richest, and the poorest Country in the world. Why? Why, on account of an unequal distribution of the money.”WA #421, Jan. 18, 1931

“Say did you read in the papers about a bunch of Women up in British Columbia as a protest against high taxes, sit out in the open naked, and they wouldent put their clothes on? The authorities finally turned a Sprayer that you use on trees, on ’em. That may lead into quite a thing. Woman comes into the tax office nude, saying I won’t pay. Well they can’t search her and get anything. It sounds great. How far is it to British Columbia?” WA #432, April 5, 1931

“We don’t seem to be able to (stop) crime, so why not legalize it and put a heavy tax on it.  We have taxed other industries out of business; it might work here.” DT #1453, March 20, 1931

“They are having quite an argument over (Treasury Secretary) Mellon’s Tax Bill. Mr. Mellon wants to cut the surtax on the rich, and leave it as is on the poor, as there is more poor than rich. I suppose the majority will win.” WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924

“I see by the papers that they are going to do away with all the nuisance taxes. That means that a man can get a marriage license for nothing.” WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924

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