"Even when you make one (Income tax return—ed.) out on the level, you don’t know when it’s through if you are a Crook or a Martyr,” wrote Will Rogers (1879-1935) in the New York (NY) Times on April 8, 1923. Rogers’ quotation has been frequently cited in quotations books and in books and articles about the income tax.
Wikipedia: Will Rogers
William “Will” Penn Adair Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor and one of the best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.
Known as Oklahoma’s favorite son, Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies"), wrote more than 4,000 nationally-syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, Rogers was adored by the American people. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star at the time. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed near Barrow, Alaska.
His vaudeville rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies, which in turn led to the first of his many movie contracts. His 1920s syndicated newspaper column and his radio appearances increased his visibility and popularity. Rogers crusaded for aviation expansion, and provided Americans with first-hand accounts of his world travels. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that was readily appreciated by a national audience, with no one offended.
8 April 1923, New York (NY) Times, “Slipping the Lariat Over” by Will Rogers, pg. XX2, col. 2:
Even when you make one (Income Tax—ed.) out on the level, you don’t lnow when it’s through if you are a Crook or a Martyr.
16 March 1929, New York (NY) Times, pg. 14:
Will Rogers Says Income Tax
is No Subject for Humor
To the Editor of The New York Times:
This is income tax paying day. There is going to be no attempt at humor, for it would be mighty forced. No two can agree on what is deductible. When it’s made out you don’t know if you are crook or a martyr. It’s made more liars out of the American people than golf, and this is a good time to bring up again the sales tax.
New York, March 15.
Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom
By Ronald Reagan
Edited by Douglas Brinkley
New York, NY: HarperCollins
Even when you make out a tax return on the level you don’t know if you are a crook or a martyr.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Wednesday, May 25, 2011 • Permalink