The Wooly Beginnings of the Industrial Age
Great Britain has been cracking down on cheap imports from India in order to keep British subjects working, but the British textile industry keeps finding ways to cut labor costs and speed production! The labor intensive part of the industry is "carding" which is the separation of wool and cotton into workable fiber. Then laborers (usually unmarried women) use a drop-spindle to hand spin the fibers into thread and yarn. The equipment is simple and easy to learn, but only a knucklehead would do it this way in commercial quantities. Spinning wheels have existed for 500 years in the Middle East, but they aren't allowed into Europe because they believe that increased production-per-employee will mean lower profits and more unemployment. Apparently, creating a larger textile market through lower prices and greater demand hasn't occurred to them. Currently, raw wool and cotton are dropped off at homes and small factories and 2 weeks later the finished product is picked up. The workers earn a few shillings, but they have a secret. They have been using a mechanical carding machine. They turn a crank (or lead a donkey), the cylinder turns and the fibers SEPARATE AUTOMATICALLY! Even at the paltry sums they are receiving, a machine can be paid for in 4 years. Lewis Paul of Birmingham is the inventor and he patents his machine this year, but he has been using it in secret since 1742!  
Elimination of the Income Tax... DENIED!
King Louis the 15th of France has been piling up the bills so a few years ago he imposed an 10% income tax across the board. This is the 3rd time he has imposed such a tax and everyone hates it. He promised to eliminate the income tax entirely once the War of Austrian Succession was concluded. Well... with the signing of the treaty this year, that war is concluded, but the treasurer complains that the debt is too high. He calls for the King to continue the tax until the debt is paid down. Reluctantly the King agrees, but the complaints are so loud that he reduces the tax from 10% to 5% except for pensions and salaries for government offices. Next year, the treasurer will discover that the government can't do without this vital source of revenue and the income tax will become a permanent feature of French life.   
This Year in Wikipedia
Year 1748, Wikipedia.
- Carding - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 March 2016. “In 1748 Lewis Paul of Birmingham, England invented the hand driven carding machine. A coat of wire slips was placed around a card which was then wrapped around a cylinder. Daniel Bourn obtained a similar patent in the same year, and probably used it in his spinning mill at Leominster, but this burnt down in 1754.”
- Baines, Edward Sir. History of the cotton manufacture in Great Britain. H. Fisher, R. Fisher, and P. Jackson.
- Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle - Tutorial. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 21 March 2016. “Here you'll see how to make yarn on a top whorl drop spindle. Megan shows starting a leader yarn, the park method, the drop method, and connecting more fiber.”
- F. (January 12, 1833). "The Rise and Progress of Cotton Spinning". The Dublin Penny Journal (Dublin Penny Journal) 1 (29): 230-231. http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/30003112.
- Convert 200,000 pounds in 1833 pounds to 2014 pounds. Measuring Worth. “In 2014, the relative value of £200,000 from 1833 ranges from £16,950,000.00 to £815,200,000.00.”
- H. Parker Willis (December 1895). "Income Taxation in France". Journal of Political Economy (The University of Chicago Press) 4 (1): 37-53. http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/1817921. "The war of the Austrian Succession for the third time threw the treasury back upon the hated fiscal resource in October of 1741, when the income tax was reintroduced accompanied by a royal promise to the effect that upon the close of the war this means of raising revenue should once for all be done away with.".
- War of the Austrian Succession - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 March 2016. “The war began under the pretext that Maria Theresa was ineligible to succeed to the Habsburg thrones of her father, Charles VI, because Salic law precluded royal inheritance by a woman—though it was commonly thought that the challenge of eligibility was an excuse put forward by Prussia and France to challenge Habsburg power. Austria was supported by Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, the traditional enemies of France, as well as the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Electorate of Saxony. France and Prussia were allied with the Electorate of Bavaria.”
- Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 March 2016. “France withdrew from the Austrian Netherlands but have some of its colonies returned. France regained Cape Breton Island, lost during the war, and it returned the captured city of Madras in India to Great Britain and gave up the Barrier towns to the Dutch.”
- Alex Shrugged notes: I've pointed out this retroactive tax increase before and included references. I mention here once more, and encourage people to search the archives for reference to that previous history segment.