Glenn Gives the Income Tax Quiz in Honor of Tax Day

More than six thousand people took our History of Income Tax Quiz. How did the co-hosts of The Glenn Beck Program do?

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: Hey. Who has paid their taxes yet and feels charitable?

PAT: Oh, I do.

GLENN: Yeah, I pay mine tomorrow.

STU: Oh, really?

GLENN: Yeah.

PAT: I feel charitable. I gave so much money to -- you know, of my own free will, to Uncle Sam. Because he's really -- he's hurting right now.

STU: And he's good with the money.

PAT: And he's so good with the money. And he just doesn't have enough.

GLENN: He wants to help people.

PAT: He does. He does.

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: I could have taken that money -- a vast sum of money --

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And, oh, I could have done all kinds of things with that.

PAT: Yeah, but you wouldn't have wanted to.

GLENN: I could have hired new people. Instead of giving to charity, I could have created jobs.

PAT: Yeah, but look at what Uncle Sam did with it.

JEFFY: Thank you.

PAT: He made turtle tunnels.

GLENN: Okay.

STU: Don't just throw it out there. Turtles are safe because of --

PAT: Right. Turtles are safe because of that money.

GLENN: I could have actually taken care of people. We could have given that money that, you know, 100 percent of those donated dollars could have gone to the cause.

STU: So you want to create people tunnels? Why would you want to do that? I mean, people can just --

PAT: That's so weird. That's so weird.

STU: Turtles are much slower.

PAT: And you don't care about the turtles? Why do you hate turtles?

GLENN: At, there's the new tax day quiz. See how many you can get. Founders thought income tax should only be imposed for, what?

Wait. Only one person gets to answer. Pick your person to answer. I pick Pat.

STU: Sure.

PAT: For what? The common defense.

GLENN: Yeah. For to provide the common defense. (?) or both?

PAT: Both.

STU: Neither. I mean --

PAT: I mean, no -- it just said provide for the common against. (?)

GLENN: That was wrong. That was wrong.

PAT: What was wrong?

GLENN: Your answer.

PAT: No, it isn't.

STU: They needed a constitutional amendment to get the (?)

GLENN: Yeah, they didn't have an income tax. They didn't have an income tax.

PAT: Oh, it's a trick question? That's true. That is --

STU: That is true. They needed a constitutional amendment --

PAT: You tricked me.

JEFFY: You're the one who picked them.

STU: No, wait. You know the problem (?) it's Facebook's fault we got that wrong.

JEFFY: Right!

GLENN: Stu, Congress eliminated income tax after each of these wars, except the war of 1812, World War I, the Civil War?

PAT: What's the question again?


GLENN: Congress eliminated income tax after each of these wars. (?)

PAT: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: Except war of 1812, World War I, Civil War. Come on, you know this.

STU: The Civil War. The war of 1812.

GLENN: No. No. World War I.

PAT: The one was World War I.

STU: Pat was giving me signals.

JEFFY: Right.

STU: So I'm like, oh, he means that one. (?) then he said, one. I'm like.

JEFFY: The first answer.

GLENN: You were supposed to answer.

PAT: That's the --

JEFFY: He was giving signs like that was the right answer.

STU: Again, it's Facebook's fault.

PAT: Facebook.

GLENN: Next question. This is Jeffy's question.

STU: Oh, God. I can tell you the answer right now is spoons.

PAT: Spoons.

JEFFY: Eighteen.

GLENN: The highest it can tax paid by Americans, was it 94 percent, 77 percent, 88 percent?

JEFFY: Highest I've ever paid was 18. 18 percent. What was the answers?

GLENN: Ninety-four, 77, 88.

JEFFY: Yeah, it was 94, right?

STU: See, we talked about about it 5,000 times.

JEFFY: I know.

PAT: Can you imagine paying 94 percent income tax in the United States?

GLENN: No, no, wait. Let's be fair. It was only 94 percent (?), no, over 200,000.

STU: Which is about -- maybe that's -- that's interesting.

PAT: It was a lot of money then. But still --

JEFFY: Yeah.

PAT: Come on.

GLENN: The 94 income tax, that lasted through the 1970s.

PAT: Well, it was -- it was dropped a couple of times in between.

JEFFY: Really?

PAT: Calvin Coolidge, for instance.

GLENN: No, from World War II to Ronald Reagan.

PAT: Didn't Kennedy lower it a little bit?

STU: Uh-huh.

PAT: I think he did.

GLENN: He may have changed --

PAT: I think Kennedy lowered it and Johnson raised it.

GLENN: Yeah, maybe he changed it to 88.

PAT: Yeah, it fluctuated back and forth.

GLENN: But not very far.

PAT: But it wasn't until Reagan that it went from 70-something (?)

GLENN: What year did the Supreme Court rule (?) Pat, 1913. 1895. Never.

PAT: What was that?

GLENN: When did the Supreme Court rule the income tax unconstitutional? 1913. 1895. Or never.

PAT: Wow. I'm going to say 1895.

GLENN: 1895 is exactly right, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, it's exactly right.

PAT: Uh-huh. But don't worry about that. It's settled law. It's settled law.

GLENN: Exactly where I was going. It's settled law. It's settled law. (?)

PAT: Where income tax at their highest? Woodrow Wilson -- Stu, this is this is yours. Harry Truman or FDR.

STU: FDR. (?)

GLENN: FDR I think is exactly right. Yes. Jeffy, here we go. Which constitutional amendment made taxes permanent? The 14th? The 16th? Or the 18th?

JEFFY: It's the 18th. It's always 18th.

STU: You can't ask him a question with the number 18 in it and expect him to say something different. Sixteenth.

GLENN: Siccedth yes. (?) which party includes a graduated income tax in their platform? The Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the Communist Party?

STU: All of the above, Glenn. All of the above.

GLENN: That's not a question --

JEFFY: Thank you.

PAT: I'm going to say the Republican.

GLENN: Graduated progressive income tax, in their party platform.

STU: All three. Oh, in the party platform.

PAT: Come on.

JEFFY: Party platform.

PAT: Republican Party?


STU: They all propose it.

PAT: Oh, it's Democrats then.


PAT: Only the communists. (?)

JEFFY: Right, Pat!

GLENN: Think about it. The income tax that we now have is the second plank of the Communist Manifesto.

STU: Amazing.

GLENN: In 1913, income tax (?) rate would never rise above 7 percent.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: How long did it take to get to 67 percent? More than 15 years? About ten years? Less than five years?

STU: Less than five years.

GLENN: That was Pat's question.

PAT: Oh, it was? It was less than five years.

GLENN: Less than five years. Exactly right. Which president passed the Tax Reform Act, significantly lowering the taxes for the first time in decades?

The Tax Reform Act. Was it Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge or Ronald Reagan?

STU: Decades.

PAT: Calvin Coolidge.

GLENN: It's Stu's turn.

STU: Okay. So give it to me one more time.

GLENN: Yeah, see, you're smart. Which president passed (?) significantly lowering the taxes for the first time in decades.

PAT: Probably your clue.

PAT: It's got to be Reagan.

GLENN: It's exactly Reagan.

STU: And that's only (?) because decades.

PAT: Yes.

STU: It was a huge cut.

PAT: Yeah, but it wouldn't have been decades since then.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. He's going to (?) who said it. George H.W. or George W.

JEFFY: George Bush.

PAT: Which one?

JEFFY: H. The old man.

GLENN: Yes, exactly right (?) your results were 90 percent. 90 percent. Got one wrong. Got one wrong.

PAT: Nice.

STU: Yeah. And you look at the tax rate. (?) I think you said it was, what -- 94 percent was the high.

GLENN: 94 percent was the high. It was above 70 until Reagan. Let me go to the front page. (?) history of American income tax in America. This is a fascinating info graphic. Okay. So the founding era -- the founding era has 0 percent. Congress imposes its first sales tax to fund the war. Congress ends internal taxation in 1817. Funding the -- the government with just tariffs on goods.

PAT: Yeah, but in Civil War time, they instituted an income tax.

GLENN: But listen to this -- Congress imposes the first income tax in the Civil War, along with the sales tax and an inheritance tax.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: In 1862, it was 5 percent. In '64, it was 10 percent. In '67, it was 5 percent. In '70, it was 2.5 percent.

PAT: Then they got rid of it.

GLENN: And then they eliminated it.

PAT: Can you believe that? Congress actually -- actually eliminated the income tax they had for almost ten years.


PAT: And they -- and they stopped it. I mean, that just doesn't happen anymore. It just doesn't happen.

GLENN: In 1894, income tax revived with the Wilson tariff tax. In 1894 (?) in 1894, the supreme -- or 1895, the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional. There are no progressives on the court. They're still strict constitutionalists. So they change that.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: Congress World War I. Congress passes the Sixteenth Amendment (?) advocates -- or advocates promise it will never rise above 7 percent. So 1913 is 7 percent. 1916, it's 15 percent. 1917, it's 67 percent.


PAT: Jeez.

GLENN: 1918, it's 77 percent.

STU: Amazing.

GLENN: 1919, it's 73 percent. The Roaring Twenties, Calvin Coolidge comes in.

STU: And it shows the power of war too.

PAT: Oh, yeah. You'll agree to almost anything.

STU: I know it's (?) we need it to be secretarial 7 percent next year. Can you imagine making that argument?

PAT: No.

GLENN: It's war.

STU: It's war.

GLENN: Ninety-four, it was 46 percent. (?) then Calvin Coolidge gets in, (?) cuts it to 25 percent. 1932, Great Depression, FDR comes in, takes it from 25 to 63. Four years later --

PAT: My gosh.

GLENN: -- it's at 79 percent. We enter war. And it's 81 percent. 1942, it's 88 percent. In 1943, Income Tax Act passes Congress, and that's when you get the withholding. And lo and behold, the next year it goes up to 94 percent.

PAT: That's just -- that -- it's so immoral. You can't even express how awful that is.

GLENN: Nope. Nope. Find the 51. (?) 54, 91 percent. Civil rights era, 1964, 77 percent. '65, 70 percent. Reagan cuts it in 1982, he cuts it to 50 percent. 1983, cuts it to 50 percent.

PAT: If you made a million dollars. (?) right?

GLENN: No. 260.

STU: No. Well, because -- and it's also graduated rates.

PAT: Ninety-four (?)

STU: Yes, however, you don't get taxed from dollar one.

PAT: Right. That's true. Above probably 200,000. So it wouldn't be that much.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: But it would still be --

STU: Once you make (?) there's no point in earning --

PAT: Right.

STU: You might as well just go on vacation for the rest of the year.

GLENN: Reagan gets it down to 28 percent income tax. George H.W. Bush, read my lips, no new taxes, gets it from 28 to 31. Then it's at 39.1, until 2003. We lower it to 35. And we're back up to 39.6.

PAT: Jeez.

STU: Amazing.

GLENN: 40 percent income tax. Well, and over that. Because of the Obamacare tax, which puts it at 43.8 percent or something.

STU: Yeah, that's right. (?), but so -- listen to this. This top income tax bracket, this is 1913 (?) it was 7 percent, as you point out in 1913. Now it's 39 (?) however, the top tax bracket today it kicks in around half a million dollars. The top tax bracket in 1913 kicked in at $11.8 million.

PAT: Wow.

STU: So (?) until you were making $12 million in today's -- in today's money. So that is adjusted for inflation.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: But, still, that's a big difference. A big difference.

PAT: A big difference.

STU: And they had -- the family standard deduction, in 1913, was $95,000. Today it's 12.

PAT: Hmm.

STU: So they're letting you deduct a lot less as far as inflation-adjusted dollars.

PAT: And think of this. In Russia, the tax rate is 13 percent.

GLENN: The first --

PAT: 13 percent for everybody.

GLENN: That's why one of the questions in the poll at is so important. Which party has it? Only the Communist Party. It's the second platform -- it's the second plank in the platform of the Communist Manifesto.

PAT: And yet look, the communists -- the former communists aren't even using it.

GLENN: Because they took it -- they took it out of the country and reduced it to 13 percent. The minute the wall fell, they started looking at everything and saying, what can we do better?

They raised the government's income by 28 percent by taking it down from like a 90 percent income tax rate.

PAT: They simplified.

GLENN: To simplify. Now everybody pays 13 percent on every dollar. No graduated. Just, you make a dollar, 13 cents goes to the government, period. And the government takes in 28 percent more.

PAT: It just works. It just works.

GLENN: It does. And it's right.


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