Mar 6, 2011

Good Deed Punished

While the Department of Defense took full advantage of Private Joe Louis's fame and ability to raise money, the Internal Revenue Service keep a running tab on The Brown Bomber. Louis's contribution to the war effort was more than substantial. In addition to serving during his prime fight years, he also donated entire fight purses to the Army. The two Joe Louis- Abe Simon fights were donated in their entirety. After the War, the IRS even charged Louis income tax on those donations. The upper end tax rate during those years was 79 to 90%. Louis's debt, and the government's aggression in collecting, forced Louis to fight till 1951.
A few previous posts on the Louis-Simon fights
Heavyweight Championship of the World
Simon Fearless Against Bomber
The Weigh In
Simon Gets Brother's Verdict


gary ledebur said...

In 1914, the year Joe Louis was born, the income tax had only been in place one year. The top rate was a mere 7 percent, and a high exemption kept most Americans off the tax rolls altogether. Even by 1931, the year Joe Louis began boxing seriously, the income tax was so minimal that only 2 percent of Americans even qualified to pay it.
After he earned over $371,000 in his first year of boxing he voluntarily paid back to the government welfare payments his stepfather had received during the Great Depression.

We are not likely to see this kind of noble man again soon!

Allentown taxpayer said...

Another noble boxer to whom we owe an apology is Ali.

gary ledebur said...

And there have been some less than noble boxers. Quotes from Michael Tyson:

Mike Tyson quotes:

"I could sell out Madison Square Garden masturbating,"

"I want your heart, I want to eat your children."

"I want your grandkids and great-grandkids to remember me
and say 'Wow, what a bizarre individual.' "

Anonymous said...

Ali? Noble?

Hell of a boxer, yes. Noble, I think not.

Anonymous said...


That would be a guy like Boston Red Sox superstar TED WILLIAMS, who, after serving in World War II, went to serve in Korea, as well.

Like most professional athletes in the U.S. Armed Forces at that time, Williams could have taken a cushy assignment away from the front lines and focused on playing military baseball.

Instead, Williams wanted to and became a top-notch fighter pilot; one of baseball's all-time greats flew 39 combat missions and earned an Air Medal for his efforts in Korea.

CASSIUS CLAY, certainly one of boxing's all-time greats, turned his back on his country when called...and was subsequently arrested and convicted of a felony.

Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.

But, I would hardly call Muhammad Ali noble.

Or patriotic.

Or brave.

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Anonymous said...

Nobel, nope, but he could sure rope-a-dope.