Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Quip about Ben Franklin among 2011 favorites

Biographers, historians and even Franklin’s own writings suggest he distrusted accumulation of great personal wealth.
Biographers, historians and even Franklin’s own writings suggest he distrusted accumulation of great personal wealth.

Arguably the greatest mind of the founding generation, none of the Founding Fathers is more quotable than Benjamin Franklin.  

A printer, journalist, scientist, inventor, financial thinker, statesman, diplomat and musician -- among other things, his range of interests and prolific writing over his 84 years produced a shelf of memorable maxims, thoughts and observations.

So when State Rep. Jay Hottinger, a Republican from Newark, Ohio, cited his wisdom in favor of repealing the state's estate tax, it got our attention.

"Ben Franklin once quipped that only two things in life were certain: death and taxes," Hottinger said when Republicans introduced a plan to repeal the tax.  "I think even he didn't envision that the tax man would visit on the day of your death -- and that's something that needs to end here in the state of Ohio."

PolitiFact Ohio was intrigued, mostly because we wondered if there really was anything that Franklin could not envision.

We took a look at Franklin's writings to get a sense of his views on the issue. What we found might have been a surprise to Hottinger. PolitiFact Ohio rated Hottinger's claim False.


The item was selected as one of the favorites of the year by the editors who set the Truth-O-Meter ratings for PolitiFact Ohio.