"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” is in Job 1:21 of the Bible. “The Lord giveth and the government/IRS taketh away” is a jocular one-line saying that has been printed on many gift items, such as buttons and bumper stickers. “The world giveth and the government taketh away” was cited in print in 1927 and “The government giveth and the government taketh away” was cited in print in 1939, in an article about WPA government jobs.
“IRS” began to be used for “government” in the saying by the 1970s. “Santa bringeth, IRS taketh away” was cited in print in 1975. Both “The IRS giveth, and the IRS taketh away” and “The Lord Giveth and the IRS Taketh Away” were cited in print in 1976.
Online Parallel Bible
New International Version (©1984)
and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
9 April 1927, Logansport (IN) Pharos-Tribune, “Andrew and Imogene” by Ron Fulkerson, pg. 4, col. 5:
The world giveth and the government taketh away. One minute you have it and the next minute the income tax man gets it.
22 May 1939, Hammond (IN) Times, pg. 4, col. 3:
5,000 More Will Lose WPA Jobs—Headline.
The government giveth and the government taketh away.
23 December 1947, Evening World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “That Quack Panacea,” pg. 6, col. 1:
In other words, the Government taketh away and the Government giveth—but it giveth only a part of what it taketh away.
11 March 1958, Big Spring (TX) Herald, “You Really Can’t Win At Gambling,” pg. 8-A, col. 5:
Lady Fortune giveth, the IRS taketh away.
The Great Man’s Life: 1925 to 2000 A.C.
By Albert Archer Van Petten
New York, NY: Utopian Publishers
I remember one old fellow used to say every payday after they took his taxes out of his pay, “The government giveth, and the government taketh away.”
26 December 1975, Newport (RI) Daily News, pg. 1, col. 1 headline:
Santa bringeth, IRS taketh away
19 July 1976, New York magazine, pg. 81, col. 1:
The IRS giveth, and the IRS taketh away. The latest thing it hath taken away is one of the favorite dodgers of the harried white-collar worker, the office-at-home deduction.
14 November 1976, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “Tax Reform Act Clinic Thursday,” pg. 11B, col. 5:
Howard Eichhorn, CPA, Dee, Gosling and Co.. Certified Public Accountants, will discuss “The Lord Giveth and the IRS Taketh Away” with specific reference to individual taxes.
6 April 1982,
THE LORD GIVETH & IRS Taketh Away. Buy this 3-3 duplex and enjoy some return.
(Century 21 Heritage—ed.)
Google News Archive
21 April 1989, The Daily Record (Ellensburg, WA), “Report from Olympia” by Adele Ferguson, pg. 4, col. 4
In the Good News-Bad News cartoon, a minister in the pulpit intoned to his flock: “The Lord giveth and the IRS taketh away.”
14,000 Quips and Quotes for Speakers, Writers, Editors, Preachers, and Teachers
By E. C. McKenzie
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House
The Lord giveth, and the IRS taketh away.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, December 01, 2012 • Permalink