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June 24, 2015

Half a Truck and the Chicken Tax


After diplomacy failed, in retaliation, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the so-called Chicken Tax into law on December 4, 1963.
Not at all directly about chickens, it targeted potato starch, brandy, dextrin, and light trucks, and it forced companies importing those items to the United States to pay a whopping 25% tax on said imports.

Each of the four products taxed under the Chicken Tax were strategically targeted. For instance, the reason for choosing to include light trucks had to do with a specific manufacturer: Volkswagen. The Volkswagen vans were immensely popular in the United States during the early 1960s, and the U.S. government claimed the import cost of those from West Germany was about equal to the loss of revenue for the poultry industry at not being able to export chicken to West Germany. Practically overnight, the once popular VW van, which fell under the classification of “light truck,” disappeared from car dealerships around the United States as consumers weren’t willing to pay the increased prices directly resulting from the 25% tariff. -- TIFO

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 24, 2015 9:33 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Ahem. My uncle Louie Lozko, we all called him "Letsgo Lozko" was the King of Bantam Chickens.

He fought long and hard to resist the taxes proposed by Johnson.
He and a bunch of loyal chicken patriots staged a daring exhibit down on the Chicago River, throwing lots of chickens into the water and chanting "No Chicken Taxation without representation".

When they were arrested all their loyal supporters followed them to the Cook County Jail and staged a massive protest.
Polka music and the odor of much beer wafted down the streets.

At their trial they were named "The Chicken Nine" and they went on a hunger strike until the judge finally set them free with a "Don't ever let me see you in this courtroom again".
It was reported that the judge kept his seeing eye dog in an adjoining room so as to represent blind justice.

Posted by: chasmatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 24, 2015 7:05 PM

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