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Death and Taxes Quote

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes

There are only two things certain in this life. They are...that’s right -- death and taxes. Did you ever stop and wonder who said that, and why?

Everybody’s heard it and almost everybody can quote it. This most infamous cliché was actually coined by none other that Ben Franklin. But he wasn’t talking about death -- or taxes -- when he used the illustration. He was actually writing to a friend in Europe regarding the brand new American Constitution.

Dr. Franklin had been a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and had attended every single session. No small feat for a man 81 years of age. It was actually Franklin’s idea that the House of Representatives should be directly elected by the people.

After the Constitution was finally ratified by the individual states, Franklin coined the phrase in a letter stating: "Our Constitution is an actual operation and everything appears to promise that it will last: but in this world nothing can be said to be certain but death and taxes."

Over 200 years later we all still must face death. And we all pay far more in taxes than Ben Franklin and his friends would ever have stood for. And our Constitution is still alive -- in some cases barely breathing -- but still intact as the first and finest attempt of mankind to ever establish a nation based upon a written code of law.

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