Skip to comments.Proposal to Amend the US Constitution: The 28th Amendment.
Posted on 04/05/2010 12:49:59 PM PDT by Presto
The federal government did not create the States. The States created the federal government. Ronald Reagan
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. Alexis De Tocqueville
AMENDMENT 28. Title: Congressional Powers of Taxation Restricted and Revised.
The Congress shall not have power to lay and collect income taxes, excise taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and capitation taxes within the borders of any State. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect a revenue-tax which shall be based solely on a States accrued revenue. Congress shall not grant tax exemptions, deductions, or credits to any State except in cases of relief assistance for catastrophe and strain.
All provisions of this Amendment shall enact after one year from its ratification.
1) Each State government becomes the sole tax levier of all possible domestic tax revenue within its borders.
2) The Federal Government can now only gain its primary funding by taxing the revenues of State governments.
1) An adamant tax shield in the form of all the States governments is erected between the citizens and the Federal Government.
2) Every American citizen now only answers to one tax master rather than two.
3) A revolutionary new tax system is born based on perpetual competition: the State governments collectively versus the Federal Government where the voters referee.
(Please read footnote on why NOT to repeal the 16th Amendment.)
Currently, the Federal Government bypasses each and every State government to intrude directly into the personal wealth of the States citizens. This Amendment interposes all of the State governments between the Federal Government and the States citizens. By pitting State governments collectively against the Federal Government for competitive management of tax dollars: we get a new and desperately needed check & balance on government powers.
Fifty Governors backed by their State legislatures will consistently and emphatically argue directly to their citizens that the Federal Government is too big, is wasting too much money, and is charging way too much in taxes. Obviously these arguments are not new. But what is new is the political power structure that will compel all State governments to make these unending appeals to their voters.
But here is the master key of the proposed 28th Amendment: State governments will share a crucial interest with their citizens in that they will both want to keep Federal taxes low. They will both want to have their Federal Government limited in scope to only those programs and expenditures which are absolutely necessary. And for the first time in our Republics history, we will see government dedicated to the lowering of Federal taxes.
To fully understand the nature of this new political power structure, it is important to highlight some key and intractable realities that will underpin it. First, the only plausible way one will be able to get elected Governor (or to the State legislature) will be to ardently promise to keep a hawks eye on how the Federal Government spends the money it levies from the State. Office seekers will religiously promise that they will immediately take the Federal Government to task at the first sign of an excuse to raise taxes on the States. But note: these will not be the empty, halfhearted promises that politicians routinely make solely to win over voter sentiment. Rather, these promises are certainties because every ten million dollars that elected State officeholders must hand over to the Federal Government is ten million less dollars of State money that they themselves have the power to spend. Candidates for State office will absolutely mean it when they promise to watch Federal spending like a hawk and to stridently object to any suggestion of a tax raise. Because these Federal Government actions will be genuine threats to their fiscal power as Governors and State legislators. (Never get between a politician and his bona fide power.) Therefore, all fifty State governments will be constantly watchful for extraneous Federal programs and wasted money. Every gross Federal inefficiency will be pounced on by every Governor and State legislature. Thats money our State could have used! Teachers we could have paid; roads we could have repaired; sanitation plants we could have invested in The fifty State governments will be unanimous in their outrage and speak in unison in their condemnation.
So it is obvious that to secure their own financial interests, the States will meticulously hawk the Federal Government and thereby impose lucid transparency on its fiscal practices. Sunshine will illuminate Congressional budgets before funds are appropriated because the States (reinforced by their mutually interested and focused voters) will demand it.
This permanent transparency leads to another key intractable reality: there will be ZERO PARTY LOYALTY regarding State fiscal accountability. Any sitting US Senator who votes to raise the States Tax Rate when it is not an absolute and obvious necessity will be publicly and repeatedly denounced by the Governor and State legislature. No voting citizen will be happy with a Senators spotlighted profligacy siphoning big money out of the State. Moreover, by pledging to hold the line on the States Tax Rate, an election challenger will earn a continuous stream of enthusiastic endorsements from influential State officeholders and power players culminating with the Governor. Anyone who hopes to serve in the Congress for more than one term will fulfill this pledge as a matter of political survival. When it comes to protecting the States financial wellbeing, party affiliation at the Federal level will be wholly irrelevant. Each US Senator and House Representative will be viewed as either helping the States finances or hurting the States finances. There will be no in between.
When State public opinion prevails that an increase in the States Tax Rate is unnecessary, as a Senator you had better be on record as voting against it. But when State public opinion suggests that an increase in the States Tax Rate is warranted to help sure up a well managed Federal program, then you had better triple check the budget projection to make sure it wont blow up in your face three months later should a gross and inexcusable oversight come to light. After all, it might be hard to find one of the better jobs in your State after being reviled and subsequently voted out of office for budgetary incompetence that hurt your States financial interests.
Currently, when an incumbent is voted out of office, it is not usually based on genuine and lasting hard feelings. For the most part, the voting sentiment is far more generalized. Perhaps a Senators national party is perceived as taking the country in the wrong direction. Maybe he gaffed in an unscripted moment handing his opponent a marginal but decisive advantage at the polls. The challenger might simply be more likeable or have a significant campaign funding advantage. Rarely is a US Senator or House Representative tossed out of office because the voters angrily concluded that he had directly hurt their States financial interests. Those are hard feelings. And politicians will work extra hard and be extra careful to avoid instigating those hard feelings among the fellow citizens of his State. In the process of throwing away his cushy job in the nations Capitol, a House Representative could cause his future, private-sector prospects to be somewhat diminished. The scrutinizing mechanisms of the proposed 28th Amendment will especially incentivize elected Federal officeholders to heed their States voters.
Naturally there will be occasions when raising Federal taxes will be warranted. But the Congress will feel compelled to openly and coherently present its budget projections to the States well beforehand so that the necessity for an increase is clearly demonstrated. Merely as a matter of political survival, Congress will automatically give the States ample opportunity to review the Federal budget prior to the enactment of a tax increase. Additionally, the Congress will go out of its way to prove that there are no special-interest earmarks laden with pork-barrel waste hidden somewhere in the bill. Sunshine transparency will be the only way members of Congress will feel like they can give themselves political cover with their States voters. If it should happen that a fiscal projection turned out to be way off, maybe the voters will give Congressional members a pass this time since everyone (including the Governors) had carefully analyzed the same numbers and arrived at the same conclusions. Only if they and their budget are perceived as being upfront and transparent will they have a shot at political survival when the inevitable mistake is made.
This new political power structure will necessitate that: clarity, concision, honesty, and advance notice are automatic Federal budget prerequisites. So as not to openly insult the States or harm their interests and thereby incur their ousting fury. Indeed it will be in the immediate financial interest of all State governments, as well as the citizens they represent, to insure that theirs is a transparently efficient and competent Federal Government. To this mutual interest, the fifty States will likely form a National Auditing Association (acronymically pronounced nah) dedicated solely to the constant and exacting audit of the Federal budget for telltale signs of waste and corruption.
Summation thus far: In that citizens and their State governments will share the mutual financial interest of keeping Federal taxes low, voter awareness will be sharply raised against every Congressional member who might vote for a wasteful or excessive budget. Because such budgets will always directly harm every States financial interests. And this of course means that there will rarely be a Federal budget that is significantly wasteful and excessive. And as rare as such a profligate budge will be, its propagating members will be all the rarer as they become politically extinct in the next election cycle.
But now realize that the Federal Government will also pour over each of the fifty States budgets to verify their revenue collections & expenditures. The Fed is always going to make absolutely certain that it is getting its fair share. We will no longer need an IRS dedicated to the futile and harassing service of auditing hundreds of millions of working Americans. Instead, the Federal Government will focus its exacting auditing practices on each of the States budgets and revenue accruals. And where there are discrepancies, inefficiencies, waste, and fraud in a States budget: these will be glaringly exposed. US Senators will sustain long careers and launch Presidential bids based on aggressive committee investigations into State budgetary waste and malfeasance. Congressional Representatives will give their Congressional service real purpose and distinguish themselves in the media glow by naming names (even in their own party) of State officeholders who have irresponsibly squandered their States largesse on fat, sweetheart contracts for exorbitantly overpriced favors doubling as State projects.
So yes, the new political power structure of government hawking after government works for the American people in both directions. Transparency will go from bogus campaign rhetoric to competitive reality. The Federal and State governments will impose transparency and accountability on each other because exposing fraud, waste, and inefficiency in the other entity will be necessary to secure each of their own financial and political interests.
As it stands, Governors and State legislatures have no motivation to scrutinize and argue against the Federal budget. When the Federal Government reduces income taxes on US citizens at large, the Virginia State treasury does not gain spending power. And why would the Governor of Texas want to wade chest deep into relentlessly scrutinizing the Federal Governments budget? He would make countless political enemies (even within his own party) which would preclude him from ever being able to run for President or the US Senate. Worse, he would provoke a reciprocal and aggressive Federal investigation into his States budget and into his Governorship. (It is not that some State Governors are never publicly critical of Federal waste in the most general sense. But it is that such rare public criticism is unexacting, without priority, and without the unanimously concerted effort of the fellow forty nine Governors.) Likewise the Federal Government does not bother inspecting the States budgets because it also does not want to provoke reciprocal scrutiny from the States. And not only does the Federal Government already have vastly superior fiscal power; but any waste it would discover in a States finances would not redound to more money in the Federal Treasury. So when it comes to matters of taxation, expenditures, and budgets: it is essentially in their mutual interests to stay out of each others' business. Which is business as usual. However, under the 28th Amendment they will be forced to investigate and compete with each others business.
The proposed 28th Amendment necessarily establishes a salutary competition between the US Congress and the collective State governments such that they contest each other over marginal increases of access to citizen tax dollars. It creates a zero sum game such that when one side wins the argument in the form of elections, the other side loses power in the form of tax dollars. Obviously, regardless of which side wins, the tax dollars ultimately get spent on services for taxpaying citizens. The question will always be which side is most competent and trusted to spend the margin of tax dollars in question. As a result, their budgets will become increasingly concise and balanced.
Fear of each others scrutiny will generate a permanent state of transparency. And why shouldnt the elected members of the US Congress have to fear the wrathful and influential condemnation of our State governments regarding how citizen tax dollars are spent? And why shouldnt the elected members of State governments have to face intense Federal scrutiny regarding how they spend their resident citizens tax dollars? And why should citizens have to serve two tax masters? Why not just one?
Consider that at any given moment, a majority of US citizens have the general impression that their Federal Government is wasteful and inefficient. And yet only rarely does this general impression become so inflamed that it results in serious political change at the Federal level. And then only temporarily and never sufficiently. Here is why. There are always ninety eight US Senators and four hundred and thirty four House Representatives that every single citizen in this country has no vote over. As individual citizens, we have absolutely no say over whether the vast majority of these wasteful lawmakers stay or go. The permanent political effect is that responsibility for federal legislation utterly disappears into anonymity. The Federal Government as an entity has a voter constituency so diffuse and unconnected that this constituency is fundamentally ineffective until well past too late. As an analogy, imagine that the only way the human body could detect pain was when its skin caught on fire. Our Republics voting citizenry is virtually numb to its Federal tax collection and expenditures system. The body politic does not detect the serious damage being done to it until it is engulfed in horrible fiscal crisis. Then the solution is instinctive and without precision. The only lasting result is that deeper scar tissue forms and the body politic is more numb than ever.
Is it any wonder that the Federal Government passes laws that are thousands of pages in length and that include grossly excessive pork barrel earmarks wholly unrelated to the purpose of the bill and to the exclusive benefit of special interests? Is it any wonder they are thoughtlessly crushing our country with trillions of dollars of debt and deficit spending? Is it any wonder they have amassed one hundred and eight trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities? And we are only just starting to feel the heat.
These insane fiscal practices have been going on for nearly a century, and it has long since been obvious that they will never stop. It does not matter who we send to Congress. As a group they will always abuse their power because of the structure of the Federal tax and spend system. Generation after generation of college educated US Senators and House Representatives (the majority of whom have been accomplished and highly competent lawyers) have constantly wasted staggering amounts of money, run huge deficits, and thereby generated colossally unsustainable debt. Specifically because it was not their money they were spending. Alexis De Tocqueville said, The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. But they stopped bribing us with our money years ago. They are bribing us with our children's money!
Fellow Americans, we must Constitutionally change the structure of our Federal tax collection system (make it truly competitively representative) or the Federal Government will continue to crush us with malfeasant debt until our economy totally collapses. The concept contained in the proposed 28th Amendment will establish that very needed change and so preserve and advance our Republic. It does not favor a political party; it does not favor an ideology; it does not favor a social agenda. It favors fiscal sanity regarding trillions of American citizen tax dollars. It favors safeguarding our long term financial solvency as a Republic. It favors preserving the American legacy for future generations. And it unfailingly mandates transparency, accountability, and efficiency by compelling government to compete to demonstrate its competence to the citizens it represents and serves.
- Written by D.S. of Virginia
To see how the proposed 28th Amendment kills Congressional Vote-Trading for Pork-Favors and thereby sharply reverses the trend of Federal deficit spending, link to:
To see the Remedies for Violating the proposed 28th Amendment, link to:
To see how States Rights are augmented under the proposed 28th Amendment, link to:
To see the argument as to why a Balanced Budget Amendment is impractical, link to:
Regarding the status of cities and counties under the proposed 28th Amendment, link to:
Regarding the status of business corporations and visiting foreigners under the proposed 28th Amendment, link to:
The body of the above content (the document in toto) is posted on Google Docs at:
In order to revise Congresss Constitutional powers of taxation, it is neither necessary nor desirable to repeal the 16th Amendment. In many (but not all) ways the proposed 28th Amendment will supersede the 16th Amendment. Consider that the 17th Amendment superseded various portions of Article I without making explicit reference to those portions. Moreover, the 16th Amendment did not give Congress the authority to levy income taxes. Congress already had that authority via Article I section eight. Rather, the 16th Amendment clarified the broad extent of Congresss power to levy income taxes. This was necessary because there had been some confusion over the intersection of apportionment, enumeration, and direct versus indirect tax sourcing all of which are stipulated by the Constitution.
Since under the proposed 28th Amendment, the US Congress will still have the power to levy income taxes (as well as any other taxes) in the District of Columbia and the US Territories, the clarifications provided by the 16th Amendment are still necessary.
Ending the power of Congress to levy income taxes on State inhabitants is only one important part of the proposed 28th Amendment.
Just put the senator being elected from the states and most of the nonsense that has occurred since direct election of senators would be fixed.
Right now the states have no say at the federal level.
I seem to have missed how you would raise taxes to support a real war.
From the States’ treasuries. Why would there be a shortage of funds?
I am neutral on whether Senators should be appointed by their State governments. But taking the democratic power from a State’s citizens to elect their Senators would not be popularly supported.
Also, it would not create the desired salutary competition between Federal and State governments that this proposed Amendment.
Social Security? They're in it.
Obamacare? They're in it.
If we have to live with it, they have to live with it. Watch 90% of their schemes die aborning.
I wouldn’t let the NY State legislature name a truant officer let alone a US Senator.
Why dream, when we can have reality? The Congress does not get to decide whether the Constitution is amended. And Congress does not get to ratify any proposed Amendment. The Amendment I am offering here empowers the States. And States ARE the political entities that ratify Amendments to the Constitution. And this Amendment removes the Federal Government’s powerful hand from the pockets of private citizens. - That might be appealing to an educated voting population.
I personally like this. I have always believed that the Fed’s ONLY function is war. It is up to the states to educate and feed the poor.
If welfare and health care were handled on the state and local levels they would be much more effective.
to be blunt, such an amendment would have been possible only when the franchise was restricted to property-owners, and those married to property-owners.
of course if the franchise were thus restricted such an amendment would not have been necessary.
While I dont see it happening I like the idea.
I have heard of the Amendment proposal of which you speak. But the fact is, all members of Congress are required to pay social security taxes; so they are already in it. Upon retirement, they will be eligible for SS benefits (assuming the Federal Government hasn’t gone broke). The same will be true of Obamacare. What that other Amendment proposal seemed to be getting at is not to keep Congress from exempting themselves from the law (since in no case are they) - but rather to curtail the payment they receive for their public “service” as representatives. But the 27th Amendment already to does this to some extent.
Why would the proposed Amendment be impossible unless the franchise were restricted to property-owners?
As it was and as it should be.
IRS should be two part-time bureaucrats whose job is to cash 64 checks (states + territories) annually. They wouldn’t even need more than two shotguns...
Oops. I forsee emergency after emergency. Revise to say 3/4's vote of Congress to declare an emergency and sunset in one year time frame.
The additional clause you suggest seems fine and in order.
But realize that Congressional declarations of catastrophe occurring within a State will in no way authorize the Congress to lay and collect additional taxes. If Congress declares a catastrophe (whether by simple bicameral majority or super bicameral majority) at that point they can grant a tax exemption, deduction, or credit to the State under strain. So there is no motivation for even a plurality (or even a sizable minority)of representatives to give a State a big ol’ honkin’ tax break. That doesn’t put revenue in their US Treasury - it takes money out.
That is not an argument against the specific merits of this Amendment proposal. That sounds like an argument that the Constitution itself is not longer operable law. I can’t agree.
but look at the map...most states are conservative so we would be a leg up. Plus they couldn’t be worse than chuck schumer.