Slavery in America Was Resurrected in 1913
Paul Craig Roberts
Just as Jews claim exclusivity as holocaust victims of WW II despite that more Germans died and many times more Russians died and it was a holocaust experience for a number of ethnicities, black Americans claim to be the only victims of slavery despite the historical fact that all races have been enslaved usually by their own kind. Black slavery, for example originated in slave wars between African tribes.
For 40 years, perhaps longer, I have emphasized that in every country with an income tax, everyone who earns is enslaved. In America slavery was officially institutionalized with the income tax in 1913. People do not comprehend that they are slaves, because they think of slavery as being tied to a location, but in previous times of slavery everyone was tied to location, free men as well as slaves. Travel was slow and difficult. There were no cars or airplanes.
The historical definition of slavery is unrelated to limits on movement. The definition of a slave is a person who does not own his own labor. When a person is captured, enslaved, and sold, the purchaser is purchasing the slave’s labor. Not all of the slave’s labor, of course, as part of the slave’s labor went for his own maintenance. The slave’s labor over and above what was needed for his maintenance accrued to the slave’s owner and constituted the tax on the slave’s labor.
“Free labor” as defined by Karl Marx was labor freed from feudal obligations by the Enclosures. Prior to the Enclosures which created a labor market and the rise of commodity labor necessary for capitalism, the majority of populations were serfs tied to the land. The serfs had use rights in the land, and the lords had use rights in the serfs’ labor. The tax rate on the serf’s labor could not rise above 30% because technology and thereby labor productivity were low, and serfs could not reproduce if more than 30% of their labor was appropriated.
Today the marginal income tax rate combined with Social Security and Medicare tax on single persons earning between $44,726 and $95,375 is 37.3%. Prior to the Reagan marginal tax rate reductions, the highest tax rate on earned income was 50% and on investment income, called unearned income, was 70%.
The brutal fact is that in “free America” today, the bulk of the population owns less of their labor than did Medieval serfs, and higher earners until Reagan owned less of their labor than 19th century slaves on Southern plantations.
One might think that my analysis would appeal to libertarians and conservatives, but I have never heard a word from either camp. One would think my analysis would especially appeal to black studies programs and to black activists as it shows that slavery is not a thing of the past but continues today.
But not a word. Perhaps people, even scholars, are so caught up in fictions and staying in line with official narratives and political correctness that they can no longer think. Or perhaps it is too dangerous to think as a consequence can be to find oneself outside the borders of approved narratives and subject to disciplinary action.
In America the less you earn the less enslaved you are. But no earners escape. Even an unmarried person who earns taxable income between, $0 and $11,000 annually has to turn over 10% to the US Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service.