Paying Forward

A HUNDRED years ago this year, United States citizens weren’t worried about the “fiscal cliff,” but they encountered another financial matter which doesn’t make many people happy.

The first permanent income tax in the nation became effective in 1913 although efforts to have such a tax actually began during the Civil War, but that tax fizzled out in 1872.

Tax rates in 1913 ranged from 1-7 percent on incomes above $3,000. The average annual income at the time was $800.

LIKE today, there were disasters as well as happy times a century ago.

One disaster was the Flood of 1913, and an Ohio history website refers to it as “Ohio’s greatest weather disaster. ” The death toll was 467, and more than 20,000 homes were flooded.

The U.S. Postal Service is facing problems today, including post office cutbacks, but 1913 saw the beginning of parcel post.

Not many people owned automobiles, but there were several advances related to cars 100 years ago. Henry Ford instituted the first moving assembly line. In December of that year, the first drive-up gasoline station opened, and it was in Pittsburgh.

Then, there also was the opening of the Lincoln Highway, the first paved coast-to-coast highway.

Women still didn’t have the right to vote, but the suffragettes were active in the United States as well as elsewhere. Emily Davison, a suffragette in Great Britain, stepped in front of King George V’s horse at the Epson Downs. Unfortunately, she died from her injuries.

ON A more cheerful note, 1913 also was the year that two great football coaches were born – Ohio State’s legendary Woody Hayes and Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant.

As we begin the new year, it would be good to keep Hayes’ words about “paying forward” in mind as well as his comment, “I’ve had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven’t run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can’t outwork you, then smarts aren’t going to do them much good. … And if you believe that and live by it, you’d be surprised at how much fun you can have.”