Maybe we raised enough money through tariffs in Colonial times. But clearly, as the state and federal governments grew, and performed more functions for the general welfare, income taxes became necessary to fund the functions of government. It then became a political decision as to how these taxes should be apportioned among the population. A hundred years later, when there became a huge concentration of wealth among very few people, income taxes and estate taxes were instituted to fund government and to redress the balance of wealth.
You say that Obama's programs will bankrupt the country. It Ain't Necessarily So. His programs are barely starting to take effect and there already are signs -- such as a rising stock market, and favorable bank profit reports -- showing that a recovery is beginning. The economy was in such terrible shape when Bush left office -- the worst it's been since Hoover left office -- that this recovery may take some time. But remember, after the Crash of 1929, we still had three and a half more years of Hoover, and things were at their worst three and a half years after the 1929 Crash, when Hoover finally left office. Fortunately, this time, Bush was gone a couple of months after Crash of 2008, giving Obama time to take office and start us on the road to a much speedier recovery.
You think Obama's policies will make things worse. I disagree. I believe his Stimulus and Spending programs will make our economy stronger and better than ever. As of today, neither one of us can say who's right. The results aren't in yet. But why don't we have this discussion again a year from now -- let's say, May 1, 2010 -- and we'll see where things stand then. By that time, we should know which one of us is correct.
My money is riding on Obama. (So is the money of the rest of the country, too).