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conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations." Under this act railroads are prohibited from forming combinations or "pools" for the maintenance of freight or passenger rates. Also, it was under this act that the Supreme Court ordered the Standard Oil Trust and the Tobacco Trust to dissolve.
Another violation of the Anti-Trust law is quite interesting. Hat makers in Danbury, Connecticut, organized as a labor union, could not agree with their employer as to wages, so "scabs" (non-union men) were employed by the manufacturer. Thereupon the union endeavored to prevent the "scabs" from laboring for the manufacturer in question and at the same time persuaded merchants in other States not to buy hats made in Danbury. This was done by having their fellow labor union men in other States refuse to deal at stores handling these hats. The United States Supreme Court declared this boycott to be a conspiracy in restraint of commerce among the States, and the United Hatters of North America were ordered to pay the sum of $272,000 to the manufacturer whom they had thus injured. 43. Taxation. The power conferred upon Congress to levy and collect its own revenues is almost absolute, except (1) that no duties may be levied upon exports; (2) that excises1 and import duties must be uniform throughout the United States; and (3) that direct taxes except income taxes, if levied, must be apportioned among the States on the basis of population.
been passed to the trustees. This enabled the trustees to elect all the directors of all the corporations, and thus prevent competition and insure better prices. Though the trust has been superseded by "holding corporations" and other devices, any monopolistic combination is called a
A "holding corporation" is a corporation which purchases a controlling portion of stock in the various competing corporations, and controls those various corporations as trustees would, except that the holding corporation actually owns the stock. In case of the "Standard Oil Trust," the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey gradually exchanged its stock for that of the numerous different corporations. This, too, was considered in restraint of trade and the Supreme Court of the United States ordered that the stock be returned to the respective companies.
1 See Sec. 45.
Export Taxes Prohibited. The reason for the Constitutional prohibition against the export tax is plain. Suppose Congress could levy an export tax on cotton amounting to five cents a pound. The English buyers of cotton would pay to the American growers no more than to those of other countries. Therefore, in order to compete, the American grower would have the tax to pay. As all cotton is grown in a few of the Southern States the South would have the entire tax to pay.
Excises and Import Taxes Must be Uniform. The Constitutional requirement that excise taxes and import duties must be uniform throughout the United States means that these taxes must be the same on the same commodities in all parts of the country. To illustrate, the federal excise tax on the manufacture of tobacco, playing cards, or oleomargarine must be the same in New York as it is in New Mexico. The import duty on diamonds, which is now ten per cent ad valorem, must be the same at the port of New York as it is at the port of New Orleans.
Direct Taxes Must Be Apportioned. - Without the Constitutional provision that all direct taxes must be apportioned among the States on the basis of population, a tax of so much an acre on land would have worked a hardship on States with much cheap land but little population. When the Constitution was framed wealth was distributed among the States very nearly in proportion to population, and a tax in proportion to population was just; but since then wealth has concentrated in a few large cities and a direct tax which must be levied in proportion to population would be very unjust to rural States. Power to Tax is Power to Destroy.· With the three exceptions just considered the power of taxation is so absolute that it may be used even to destroy an industry so long as Congress professes to be exercising its power of taxation, for the courts will not consider the motives of Congress. As an illustration, in 1914 Congress laid a tax of $300 a pound upon the manufacture of opium to be used for smoking and in this way destroyed the industry by taxation.
The white or yellow phosphorus used in the manufacture of the old-fashioned match is very poisonous. Workmen in match factories often had their teeth fall out or their jaw bones decay, and many died from the poison. Matches made from other materials were a little more expensive. The Constitution does not give Congress power to regulate labor conditions directly; therefore in 1912 Congress imposed a stamp tax of two cents a hundred on matches made of white or yellow phosphorus. As matches retail for one cent a hundred the phosphorus match industry was of course destroyed.
Taxation, in the form of tariff, has long been used to restrict or hinder the importation of various products in order to protect manufacturers in the United States from the competition of foreign manufacturers.
The only redress against high taxes on certain articles is the right of the voters to elect new congressmen who might repeal an objectionable tax law.
44. Direct Taxes. -Taxes which are actually borne by the person upon whom they are imposed, such as capitation taxes and taxes on land and buildings, are direct taxes. Such taxes have been levied by the United States government only in case of war emergency-five times in all. No direct tax has been levied since the Civil War, except an income tax which need not be in proportion to population since the adoption of Amendment XVI to the Constitution of the United States.
45. Indirect Taxes are those that can be shifted from the person who pays them to other persons, and are therefore indirectly paid by the people generally. To illustrate, such taxes are those which are levied on commodities before the commodities reach the persons who consume them but are ultimately paid by the consumers as a part of the market price. Indirect taxes are of two kinds excises and customs.
Excises, popularly known as internal revenue duties, are taxes on commodities produced in the United States, such as the stamp tax on liquor, tobacco, playing cards, and oleomargarine. (See Sec. 77.) The manufacturer pays the tax to
the government when he buys internal revenue stamps to stick on each barrel or package, but ultimately the consumer pays the tax, since the manufacturer adds the cost of the stamp to his selling price.
Customs, popularly known as tariff duties, are taxes on commodities imported from foreign countries. (See Sec. 77.) The tariff rate is frequently changed, recent changes having been made in the years 1897, 1909, 1913, and 1921, and it varies on different articles, now being as high as sixty per cent on some. Articles entering the United States without tariff are said to be on the "free list"-e.g., coffee, raw wool, agricultural implements; articles taxed at a low rate are said to be taxed "for revenue only"-e.g., diamonds, chamois skins, pineapples; while articles taxed at a high rate are said to be taxed "for protection " -e.g., automobiles, silks, jewelry.
The tax is often so high that certain articles are not shipped into this country at all. Then, of course, no revenue is collected, but the manufacturer of the articles in this country can charge more for these articles than otherwise, since foreign competition is removed. The tax is "for protection" to
The Corporation Tax, first enacted by Congress in 1909, is a tax on most kinds of corporations, joint-stock companies, or
associations. The rate is varied from time to time according to the needs of the government. It is an indirect excise tax, or license, upon the special privilege of operating as a corporation.
The Inheritance Tax was levied by the National Government during the Civil War, during the Spanish American War, and since 1916. The rate imposed by the Act of 1921 varies from 2% of the net estate above $50,000 to 25% of that above $10,000,000. Residents of the United States are not taxed on estates of less than $50,000, but non-residents pay 1%. Benevolent bequests are not taxed. (See Sec. 248.)
This tax is classed as an indirect tax because it is a tax on the privilege of inheriting rather than upon the property inherited. It is therefore in the nature of an excise tax.
46. The Income Tax. - An income tax is expressly permitted by the 16th Amendment. Congress varies the rate from time to time according to the needs of the government. The tax has always been progressive; that is, the greater one's net income, the higher the rate he pays. For instance, the law of 1921 levied a tax varying from 4% upon the first $4000 of income to 58% upon $200,000 or over. The law made an exemption of $1000 for a single person, $2500 for the head of a family, and $400 for each dependent.
47. Other Expressed Powers of Congress. The two expressed powers of Congress just discussed-the power to regulate commerce and the power of taxation — have been so liberally construed by the courts as to give rise to other powers not necessarily associated with taxation or commerce, and because of their far-reaching importance we have discussed them at some length. The following expressed powers of Congress need not be discussed in such detail.
Power to Make Money. - Congress has power to coin money and issue paper money, but the States are forbidden to do either. Power to Borrow Money. — The Constitution gives Congress power to "borrow money on the credit of the United States." When there are unusual undertakings, like the construction of the Panama Canal or the World War, the usual revenues are