A decade afre the end of WWII, there was still a 10% Federal Tax on Handbags! "Handbags & Accessories" August 1956, page 17
News of the handbag industry
The National Authority, in a continuing campaign to eliminate the 10% excise tax on handbags, has requested both the Republican and the Democratic parties to incorporate in their platforms a plank to remove this tax. In similar letters addressed to Sen. Prescott Bush, chairman of the Republican Party Resolutions Committee, and Cong. John W. McCormick, chairman on Platform and Resolutions Committee of the Democratic Party, Max Berkowitz, director of the National Authority, points out that one of the most important problems to confront the committees is the stand to be taken on taxes in view of the new deep interest in tax reduction as a result of the recently announced federal surplus.
In his letters, Mr. Berkowitz notes that excise tax elimination of handbags presents an "excellent opportunity to go to the voters with a clear-cut and unequivocal proposition that will appeal to every woman voter in the country." He points out that "the unfairness of the tax on handbags has been keenly felt and the demand for its repeal has been expressed many times by women's clubs, State legislatures and consumer organizations and many millions of housewives and working women. The 10% excise tax on ladies' handbags is an unfair, discriminatory and regressive tax which has been responsible for a great loss of business and unemployment."