The economic showdown in Washington might be news in the sense that Washington has never come this close to not paying bills since the Revolutionary War, when soldiers sometimes received payment more than a year late. But governments, in general, having payment problems is a centuries-old story. Although not completely analogous to the current debt ceiling debate, history does suggest this is just that latest example of a big country in a serious checkbook predicament.
Wars with Spain, Britain (on multiple occasions) and Austria, along with ambitious building projects came at a cost, but many historians identify an inefficient tax-code as the foremost reason France’s coffers ran dry by the end of the tumultuous 1700s. Too many tax exemptions, poor collection methods and the refusal to repay a part of its debt led to political problems, too; by 1789, the increasingly unpopular monarchy was ousted in dramatic fashion.
14th-century United Kingdom
In an effort to raise revenue to finance war with France, Edward III introduced poll taxes — a tax levied for existing. Every person under the Crown was taxed. Wildly unpopular, the tax was rejected and led to the Peasants’ Revolt, during which tax collectors and the wealthy were attacked. By the end, the chancellor and the treasurer of the country were killed. The king backed down.
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Head and the Heart announce Columbia shows
- Some of the best election internet moments (so far): The Rumble, Big Bird and binders full of women
- Once Upon a Secret
- Meanwhile in tennis at the Olympics
- Columbian makes Filmmaker Magazine’s top 25 new faces
- Album review: Damage by Jimmy Eat World
Add Widgets (Content Sidebar)
This is your Content Sidebar. Edit this content that appears here in the widgets panel by adding or removing widgets in the Content Sidebar area.
Like Vox on Facebook
- Kendyl on The unfortunately large world of inappropriate selfies
- Jc on The unfortunately large world of inappropriate selfies
- Julie kelly on The CoMo Cookbook: Geisha Sushi Bar
- Amber Archer on Piper Kerman, author of “Orange is the New Black,” came to Mizzou, talked about prisons
- coemone on Book Review: The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories