Thomas Earl Geu


Professor Thomas Sewell ("T.S.") Adams was instnmental in the development of the income tax and one of income tax's greatest proponents. As a result of his efforts, he left much of the income tax as his legacy. Born on December 29, 1873, he was a Professor of Political Economy at Wisconsin. Washington University in St. Louis, Comell, and Yale.

Beyond being a scholar, however, he was pragmatist and was very aware of the practical significance of an efficient and effective tax system. He recognized that the true laboratory of tax theory was the nation's economy, and he actively engaged in applying economic principles through tax law, stating "[t]hinking is only the beginning of wisdom; action is essential to its consummation." His vita is long. His service, for example, included service as the Assistant Treasurer of Puerto Rico, an investigator of child and women labor, an investigator of labor conditions in Alaska for the United States Bureau of Labor, and an officer and director for both the National Bureau of Economic Research and the American Economic Association. He also served as an expert witness from time to time in cases concerning such economic sensitive issues as anti-trust.

Although not exclusively devoting his time to taxation, Professor Adams spent most of his career studying, debating, and implementing tax policy. He said taxation was as "complex as life" and he wrote broadly in many areas of taxation, which led a New York Times editorial after his death to memorialize him as "a real tax expert." He was also a member of the Fiscal Committee of the League of Nations. His greatest legacy, however, was the income tax.

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