A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 21, 2011
“Income tax has been defined as the fine we pay for reckless thriving”

"Income tax has been defined as the fine we pay for reckless thriving” has been a popular joke since at least 1936. The line was a favorite of Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).


7 January 1936, Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, MT), pg. 5, col. 3:
There Are Others
Jud Tunkins says the taxes he’ll have to pay make him feel as if he was liable to be fined for reckless thriving.

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volume 28
1936
Pg. 108:
This year’s income taxpayers feel they are being fined for reckless thriving.

Google Books
Violations of free speech and assembly and interference with rights of labor: hearings before a subcommittee, Seventy-fourth Congress, second session, on S. Res. 266, a resolution to investigate violations of the right of free speech and assembly and interference with the right of labor to organize and bargain collectively. April 10-11, 14-17, 21, 23, 1936, Part 20
By United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor
Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office
1936
Pg. 9041:
Uncle Abner says: Seems as how th’ politicians are bent on finin’ th’ taxpayer for reckless thriving.

23 March 1948, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, pg. 6, col. 5:
Hits and Misses
Income tax has been defined as the fine we pay for reckless thriving.—Edmonds Tribune-Review.

October 1950, The Rotarian, pg. 63, col. 1:
Income taxes — the fine you pay for reckless thriving. — Rotary Pony Express, St. Joseph, Missouri

Google Books
The Notes:
Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom

By Ronald Reagan
Edited by Douglas Brinkley
New York, NY: HarperCollins
2011
Pg. 251:
Income tax—it’s a fine for reckless thriving.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 21, 2011 • Permalink