Centennial Back-Flash, 04-11-2019
Humor in Form 1040 Time
Six years before the Rotary Club of Marshall was organized, congress had created one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in the history of the United States, the income tax.  In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system.
The amount of income collected via income tax has varied dramatically, from 1% in the early days of US income tax to taxation rates of over 90% after WWII.
In fiscal year 1918, annual internal revenue collections for the first time passed the billion-dollar mark, rising to almost five billion by the time the Rotary club was formed in 1919.  Because of the structure of the tax, Rotarians were hit hardest because they fell in the 10% of Americans who actually paid the tax.
Not surprisingly the income tax was a cause for some animosity in Rotary Circles, from the very beginning, especially when the top rate reached 90% after WW II.
With the animosity came the inevitable spoof and this one from the Marshall News Messenger, took place at the Rotary meeting January 4, 1951, in the form of a poem written by F. R. Liddil – “Form 1040 at Gettysburg”, whose lines read before the Marshall Rotary Club, by Quinton Carlisle, accountant, brim with animosity:
“One Score and 17 Years ago our fathers brought forth upon this nation a new tax, conceived in desperation and dedicated to the proposition that all men are fair game.
Now we are engaged in a great mass of calculations, testing whether that taxpayer or any taxpayer so confused and so impoverished can long endure. We are met on form 1040. We have come to dedicate a large portion of our income to a final resting place with those men who here spend their lives that they may spend our money.
It is altogether anguish and torture that we should do this. But in the legal sense we cannot evade, we cannot cheat, we cannot underestimate this tax.  The collectors, clever and sly, who computed here, have gone far beyond our power to add and subtract.
Our creditors will little note nor long remember what we pay here, but the bureau of Internal Revenue can never forget what we report here.
It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these vanished dollars we take increased devotion to the few remaining, and that we here highly resolve that next year will find us in a higher income tax bracket.”
Is it any wonder that political office is not a valid classification for membership in a Rotary club?
Nevertheless, we will remember the wit of Liddil, and the hutzpah of Quinton Carlisle, who read this little poem in 1951, and the tenacity of those accountants who followed him, who have striven to save what little remains of our income.
Let us all give thanks and remember them when we are “Celebrating a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall – and Beyond”, August 24, 2019, at the Marshall Convention Center.
 We encourage each of you to submit your own memorabilia, photos, anecdotes about these members and  projects to either the "Official" email of the Centennial Celebration committee, or leave a message on the dedicated phone number.
email:  ---  phone: (903) 471-8030 
Please contact your friends and family who have been a members of the Marshall Rotary Club and ask them to send us their email address, so that we can add them to this "Centennial Back-Flash" list, and share these stories with them as well
Russell Hampton
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