In his book “Intellectuals and Society,” economist and philosopher Thomas Sowell warned that “many of what are called social problems are differences between the theories of intellectuals and the realities of the world.”
America learned this lesson the hard way when one of its academic elites rose to become Commander-in-Chief.
Woodrow Wilson — the twenty-eighth President of the United States — led Princeton University before becoming governor of New Jersey and ascending to the Oval Office. An intellectual idealist, Wilson led the United States during the zenith of the progressive movement and its various social reform efforts.
As with the governance of modern would-be social reformers, Wilson’s idealism made him simultaneously incompetent and repressive — both at home and abroad.
Here is why Woodrow Wilson was the worst President in American history.
President Wilson signed the Revenue Act of 1913, establishing the nation’s first permanent federal income tax.
Formerly, the government raised funds primarily through tariffs and excise taxes. Though President Lincoln approved the first income tax — a 3% rate on annual incomes over $800 — as the government suddenly lost revenue amid Southern states leaving the union, Congress repealed the law in 1871. In 1894, however, Congress passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff — which created an income tax of 2% on income over $4,000.
In a five-to-four decision the next year, the Supreme Court decided that the law violated Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”
Fifteen years later, Congress approved the Sixteenth Amendment — which declared that “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” In October 1913, Wilson signed the Revenue Act — which lowered tariffs from 40% to 26% and created a 1% tax on annual income above $3,000.
Wilson and other progressives meant the income tax as a tool to take on so-called “robber barons.” Instead, they gave future generations of progressives the ability to take directly from Americans’ pockets — sometimes at rates as high as 37% — to fund lofty federal social management endeavors.
World War I
President Wilson upended a century of American foreign policy precedent to lead the nation into World War I.
When European powers declared war upon one another in 1914, the United States declared neutrality — as it had done in the vast majority of overseas conflicts throughout its history. In 1916, Wilson used campaign slogans like “America First” and “He Kept Us Out Of War” to narrowly win reelection. Nevertheless, only one month after his inauguration, Wilson asked a joint session of Congress for a declaration of war against Germany.
Though Wilson noted that German submarines had begun sinking civilian vessels, his war message to Congress was full of progressive idealism.
“We are now about to accept gage of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power,” he proclaimed to lawmakers. “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion.”
Along with Wilson’s lofty intentions came the conscription of nearly three million Americans through the Selective Service
Author : Ben Zeisloft
Source : Daily Wire : Woodrow Wilson, The Worst President In American History