In his New York Times column today, Bob Herbert uses the phrase "malefactors of great wealth," and adds parenthetically, "thank you, Teddy." The reference is not to the ailing senior senator from Massachusetts but to the first President Roosevelt. It's a reminder of how the Times has changed. Back when Teddy Roosevelt was active as a politician, the newspaper was sharply critical of his policies. In a September 30, 1913 editorial headlined "Roosevelt's Super-Socialism," the Times complained that his "death and income taxes" are "imposed to take away the possessions of the rich." The newspaper warned: "It would kill the spirit of enterprise, at once put a stop to industrial progress, and bring the country's business to the dead level of stagnation. Who would strive and toil, who would live laborious days in building up a great business to accumulate wealth that excise taxes would diminish during his life and that the Government would seize at his death?…If you destroy the incentive you prevent the achievement."
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