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The Final Tax
Ellis Parker Butler


Said Statesman A to Statesman Z:
“What can we tax that is not paying?
We’re taxing every blessed thing—
Here’s what our people are defraying:

“Tariff tax, income tax,
Tax on retail sales,
Club tax, school tax,
Tax on beers and ales,

“City tax, county tax,
Tax on obligations,
War tax. wine tax,
Tax on corporations,

“Brewer tax, sewer tax,
Tax on motor cars,
Bond tax, stock tax,
Tax on liquor bars,

“Bridge tax, check tax,
Tax on drugs and pills,
Gas tax, ticket tax,
Tax on gifts in wills,

“Poll tax, dog tax,
Tax on money loaned,
State tax, road tax,
Tax on all things owned,

“Stamp tax, land tax,
Tax on wedding ring,
High tax, low tax,
Tax on everything!”

Said Statesman A to Statesman Z:
“That is the list, a pretty bevy;
No thing or act that is untaxed;
There’s nothing more on which to levy.”

Said Statesman Z to Statesman A:
“The deficit each moment waxes;
This is no time for us to fail—
We will decree a tax on taxes.”

This poem is in the public domain.


Ellis Parker Butler (1869 –1937) was a writer, editor, and banker. Born and raised in Muscatine, Iowa, he spent most of his life in New York City. Author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 stories and essays which appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, Ellis published his first story at the age of 13. Several of his works were converted into film, including Pigs is Pigs and  The Jack-Knife Man, was turned into a successful movie. Ellis was instrumental in starting the Authors’ League of America.


Post New Comment:
Very clever and skillful rhyme scheme! Thanks for sharing.
Posted 04/15/2017 02:41 PM
Perfect selection for tax day!
Posted 04/15/2017 09:06 AM

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