You Can’t Take It With You

Tax reform:

* At the average hourly wage of $27.54, that tax-preparation time amounts to $193 billion, or 14 percent of aggregate income tax receipts.

George Kaufman and Moss Hart:

Henderson: According to our records, Mr. Vanderhof, you have never paid an income tax.
Grandpa: That’s right.
Henderson: Why not?
Grandpa: I don’t believe in it.

Grandpa: Look, Mr. Henderson, let me ask you something.
Henderson: Well?
Grandpa: Suppose I pay you this money–mind you, I don’t say I’m going to pay it–but just for the sake of argument–what’s the Government going to do with it?
Henderson: How do you mean?
Grandpa: Well, what do I get for my money? If I go into Macy’s and buy something, there it is–I see it. What’s the Government going to give me?
Henderson: Why, the Government gives you everything. It protects you.
Grandpa: What from?
Henderson: Well–invasion. Foreigners that might come over here and take everything you’ve got.
Grandpa: Oh, I don’t think they’re going to do that.
Henderson: If you didn’t pay an income tax, they would. How do you think the Government keeps up the Army and Navy? All those battleships…
Grandpa: Last time we used battleships was in the Spanish-American War, and what did we get out of it? Cuba–and we gave that back! I wouldn’t mind paying if it were something sensible.
Henderson: Sensible? Well, what about Congress, and the Supreme Court, and the President? We’ve got to pay them, don’t we?
Grandpa: Not with my money–no sir.
Henderson: Now wait a minute! I’m not here to argue with you. All I know is that you haven’t paid an income tax and you’ve got to pay it!
Grandpa: They’ve got to show me.
Henderson: We don’t have to show you! I just told you! All those buildings down in Washington and Interstate Commerce and the Constitution!
Grandpa: The Constitution was paid for long ago. And Interstate Commerce–what is Interstate Commerce anyhow?
Henderson: There are forty-eight states–see? And if there weren’t Interstate Commerce, nothing could go from one state to another. See?
Grandpa: Why not? They got fences?
Henderson: No, they haven’t got fences. They’ve got laws! My God, I never came across anything like this before!
Grandpa: Well, I might pay about seventy-five dollars, but that’s all it’s worth.

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