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Repeal the 16th Amendment ^ | 11/20/02 | Ilana Mercer

Posted on 11/23/2002 11:02:34 AM PST by winner45

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Repeal the abominable 16th Amendment!

Posted: November 20, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Ilana Mercer

© 2002

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
–The 16th Amendment

What are we to make of the idea Washington is floating of replacing tax on income with a national sales tax? The Cato Institute has described it as "simpler, more efficient, pro-growth and fairer to taxpayers." And I must be missing something because I thought we already paid taxes on products and services. In addition to states where a sales tax already exists, sizeable portions of the prices we pay are taxes. The quandary as to whether an indirect consumption tax is better than taxes on income masks what's probably in the offing.

Once a tax is pushed through it seldom disappears. Last I looked, government at all levels was consuming approximately 47 percent of the national income and growing. A reversal of the trend is almost unheard of among developed nations. To keep the State in style, consumption taxes will have to go through the roof. On the plus side, the consumer can opt out, something he can't do with a tax on income. On the downside, should he "choose" not to purchase, the consumer may starve or be destined to a rather austere life.

In all likelihood, "tax reform" will leave us with the income tax in addition to more consumption taxes. Hopes realistically must be much more modest. Let the idea of a tax reform, for once, engender a discussion about First Principles, the kind Americans of the 19th century had and were capable of having.

However contemptible taxes on consumption are, Frank Chodorov insisted that taxes on income and inheritance were "different in principle from all other taxes." In the seminal work, "The Income Tax: Root of all Evil," he elaborates:

The government says to the citizen: "Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide."

Fundamentally, taxes on income imply a complete denial of private property, which is what socialism is in all its permutations; it rejects man's absolute and natural right to his property and vests property rights in the political establishment. The 16th Amendment did just that. When they incorporated the Amendment into the Constitution, Americans said a resounding "yes" to socialism.

Make no mistake: What's staving off communism is not the Constitution. If it so chooses, Congress has constitutional imprimatur to raise taxes to 100 percent of income, an odd thing considering the Declaration of Independence vests the source of man's rights in the Creator, not in government.

Philosopher Ayn Rand explained the source of man's rights with reference to man's nature. "Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his survival," she wrote in "Atlas Shrugged." Be it the nature of man or divine law, "congressional law" is never the source of man's rights – it is merely entrusted with protecting the rights with which man is imbued.

This, the 16th Amendment corrupted.

In order to survive, man must – and it is in his nature to – transform the resources around him by mixing his labor with them and making them his own. Man's labor and his property are extensions of himself. As Chodorov elucidates, the right of ownership is an extension of the right to life. If ownership is not an absolute right but is instead subject to the vagaries of majority vote, then so is the right to life.

Statists will always counter by claiming that if not for the State, man would be unable to produce. Poppycock! Production predates government predation. Government doesn't produce wealth – it only consumes it. What, pray tell, would government have fed off if man were not hard at work well before the advent of the bureaucracy? That's like saying that the tick created the dog! As usual, the statists have it topsy-turvy. First came man – he is the basic unit of society, without which there can be no society. And without man's labor there is no wealth for government to siphon.

However you slice it, there is no moral difference between a lone burglar who steals stuff he doesn't own and an "organized society" that does the same. In a just society, the moral strictures that apply to the individual must also apply to the collective. A society founded on natural rights must not finesse theft.

The Founders intended for government to safeguard man's natural rights. The 16th Amendment gave government a limitless lien on a man's property and, by extension, on his life. The Amendment turned government into the almighty source – rather than the protector – of man's rights and Americans into indentured slaves.

To learn more about Ilana Mercer, visit her website, where she now has a special new feature for your comments.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: 16th; amendment; taxreform
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To: txzman
A Short History of the 16th Amendment

Strange as it may seem, the Sixteenth Amendment (which gave the American people the affliction of confiscatory income taxes) was never supposed to have passed. It was introduced by the Republicans as part of a political scheme to trick the Democrats, but it backfired.


The Founding Fathers had rejected income taxes (or any other direct taxes) unless they were apportioned to each state according to population. Nevertheless, an income tax was levied during the Civil War and upheld by the Supreme Court on somewhat tenuous reasoning. When another income tax was enacted in 1893, the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional. In connection with the two Pollock cases reviewed in 1895, the Court declared that the act violated Article I, section 9 of the Constitution.

During the following decade, however, the complexion of the Court changed somewhat, and so did public sentiment. There was great social unrest and the idea of a tax to "soak the rich" began to take root among liberals in both major parties. Several times the Democrats introduced bills to provide a tax on higher incomes but each time the conservative branch of the Republican party killed it in the Senate. The Democrats used this as evidence that the Republicans were the "party of the rich" and should be thrown out of power, forcing President William Howard Taft to acknowledge in political speeches that income taxes might be all right "in principle", but it was well known among close associates that he was strongly opposed to such a tax.

The Bailey Bill

In April 1909, Senator Joseph W. Bailey, a conservative Democrat from Texas who was also opposed to income taxes, decided to further embarrass the Republicans by forcing them to openly oppose an income tax bill similar to those which had been introduced in the past. He introduced his bill expecting it to get the usual opposition. However, to his amazement, Teddy Roosevelt and a growing element of liberals in the Republican party came out in favor of the bill and it looked as though it was going to pass.

Not only was Bailey surprised, but Senator Nelson W. Aldrich of Rhode Island, the Republican floor leader, frantically met with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts and President Taft to work out a strategy to demolish the Bailey tax bill. Their own party was split too widely to permit a direct confrontation, so the strategy was to pull a political end run. They announced that they favored an income tax but only if it were an amendment to the Constitution. Within their own circle, they discussed how it might get approval of the House and the Senate, but they were quite certain that it could be defeated in the more conservative states-three-fourths of which were required in order to ratify the amendment.

Thus, the Democrats were off guard when President Taft unexpectedly sent a message to Congress on June 16th, 1909, recommending the passage of a constitutional amendment to legalize federal income tax legislation.

The strategy threw the liberals into an uproar. At the very moment when their Bailey bill was about to pass, the Republicans were coming out for an amendment to the Constitution which would probably be defeated by the states.

Reaction to the Amendment

Congressman Cordell Hull (D-Tenn., and later Secretary of State under FDR) saw exactly what was happening. He took the floor to excoriate the Republican leaders. Said he:

"No person at all familiar with the present trend of national legislation will seriously insist that these same Republican leaders are over-anxious to see the country adopt an income tax...What powerful influence, what new light and deepseated motive suddenly moves these political veterans to 'about face' and pretend to warmly embrace this doctrine which they have heretofore uniformly denounced?" {1}

He went on to expose what he considered to be a political trick. He needn't have been so concerned. The slogan of "soak the rich" automatically aroused Pavlovian salivation among politicians both in Washington and the states. The Senate approved the Sixteenth Amendment with an astonishing unanimity of 77-0! The House approved it by a vote of 318-14.

When Republican Congressman Sereno E. Payne of New York, who had introduced the amendment in the House, saw that this end run was turning into a winning touchdown for the opposition, he was horrified. He went to the floor and openly denounced the bill he had sponsored. Said he:

"As to the general policy of an income tax, I am utterly opposed to it. I believe with Gladstone that it tends to make a nation of liars. I believe it is the most easily concealed of any tax that can be laid, the most difficult of enforcement, and the hardest to collect; that it is, in a word, a tax upon the income of honest men and an exemption, to a greater or lesser extent, of the income of rascals; and so I am opposed to any income tax in time of peace...I hope that if the Constitution is amended in this way the time will not come when the American people will ever want to enact an income tax except in time of war." {2}

The end run of the Republican leadership did indeed backfire. State after state ratified this "soak the rich" amendment until it went into full force and effect on February 12, 1913 (Ed.note: Mr. Bill Benson, in his book "The Law That Never Was" has since documented massive...and outcome changing...federal interference in the certification of the votes of the individual state legislatures. The votes for and against from Kentucky, for instance, were switched by then Secretary of State Philander Knox.)
21 posted on 11/23/2002 2:45:37 PM PST by txzman
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To: lilylangtree
Alaska is also without a state income tax, but every democrat who gets in front of a microphone talks about how badly we need one. I sure hope our new republican governor and republican legislature can kill that puppy shortly after they convene.
22 posted on 11/23/2002 2:49:42 PM PST by Brad C.
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To: PatrickHenry
In Florida, for example, supermarket food purchases are not taxed.

In North Carolina, we have a special Food Tax added to all food purchases. Most states have Soft Drink taxes, Fuel taxes, sugar taxes, ...

23 posted on 11/23/2002 2:49:52 PM PST by gitmo
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To: gitmo
Most states have Soft Drink taxes, Fuel taxes, sugar taxes, ...

Florida taxes that stuff (I donno about sugar). It's the basic kinds of food -- meat, bread, beans, milk, etc. that don't get taxed. There's certainly a restaurant tax.

24 posted on 11/23/2002 3:02:11 PM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: winner45
we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide."

Not long ago someone posted the difference between a 100% tax-free society (totally free) with a 100% taxed society (totally enslaved). While a certain level of govt. is necessary for a society to function in a manner befitting a 'freedom' loving populous, I'd much prefer the decision as to how much tax shall be applied be left up to those being taxed, rather than those whose sole purpose is to expend it, as well as the manner in which it is collected.

Besides, slavery was outlawed years ago and tax slavery is no exception.

25 posted on 11/23/2002 3:13:41 PM PST by budwiesest
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To: lilylangtree
WA State does not have a state income tax, one of two remaining--Wyoming is the other

Ahem. Texas has no state income tax.

26 posted on 11/23/2002 3:13:42 PM PST by LibKill
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To: Cobra64
Further, a lot of the black market / underground economy will go away

Funny you should use the term 'underground economy'. Has a familiar ring to 'underground railroad'. Perhaps both are attempts to escape forms of involuntary servitude.

AMENDMENT XIII Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865. Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment. Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Seems the only parties who might be eligible to pay and income tax might be those that have been 'duly convicted'. At last check, I haven't.

27 posted on 11/23/2002 3:40:09 PM PST by budwiesest
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To: winner45
And the repeal 17th while you're at it.

Increase the size of the House to 5,000+ with a new amendment.

Put that part about being a representative Republic back in play.

28 posted on 11/23/2002 4:11:11 PM PST by metesky
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To: lilylangtree
I am wondering about the statement that says a national sales tax would make it easier for Congress to levy taxes faster. The one up side is that everybody pays sales tax. More than half the nation does not pay income tax -- yet, they all get to vote to raise taxes on the rest of us. Soon they will outnumber us and we will never again get a tax cut. You can see this happening where property taxes keep getting voted higher because all the non-property owners get to vote on it. It is not far from an armed holdup, IMHO.
29 posted on 11/23/2002 4:14:49 PM PST by Inkie
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To: ancient_geezer
Hi Geezer, thanks for posting the link to the online Cinstitution. I've bookmarked it.

In you post you disputed whether a new amendment would be needed to authorize a sales tax. I believe that the original poster was referring to the following, this assumes a sales tax is a direct tax, if I buy a house and pay a sales tax I would view that as a direct tax.

Article I

Section 2

..... Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

I haven't given this enough thought to decide if I agree, but it seem reasonable. The 16th amendment circumvented this passage.

30 posted on 11/23/2002 4:21:28 PM PST by Leto
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
Don't give more taxing power to congress without repealing the 16th.

"Trust but Verify".. Ronald Reagan
31 posted on 11/23/2002 4:22:49 PM PST by Leto
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To: Cobra64
When I pay sales they take a little bite each time, 1 buck here 2 bucks there. When I go through the pain of doing my income tax, I understand to the dollar how much the feds have confiscated from my family, This of course doesn't include the taxes built into the products I buy due to corporate income taxes.

THe idea that Sales Taxes are more visible flies in the face of most people's experiences.

32 posted on 11/23/2002 4:26:23 PM PST by Leto
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To: Leto

this assumes a sales tax is a direct tax, if I buy a house and pay a sales tax I would view that as a direct tax.

The payer of the indirect tax does not own the property until after the transfer is complete including the payment of tax due.

The test of indirect or direct:

If the tax levied on an owner only, and because of ownership it is direct.

If a tax is levied against the receiver of property on an event or exchange that tranfers value or ownership from one to another through financial or commercial event or activity, the tax is indirect.

The purchaser buying property, any property whether real, personal, or merely a consumption item cannot own a thing until the transaction is complete. Title cannot be perfected and you cannot own until the requirements of law are met, i.e. taxes laid on the sales transaction have been paid.

An indirect tax levies taxes on the activity of commerce and the exchanges that occur. Not the property per-se as in a property tax that can be levied repeatedly on an owner as in annual property(real and personal)taxes of the states(which are indeed direct taxes.)


KNOWLTON v. MOORE, 178 U.S. 41 (1900)

Flint v. Stone Tracy Co.(1911), 220 U.S. 107

33 posted on 11/23/2002 7:41:22 PM PST by ancient_geezer
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To: Leto; Libertarianize the GOP

Don't give more taxing power to congress without repealing the 16th.

I wasn't aware that anyone was proposing to tax exports to foreign nations? That is the only prohibition on Congress, regardless of the the 16th amendment.

Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co.(1916), 240 U.S. 103:

Actually the 16th changed nothing at all except to force the Court to apply the constitution power of Congress to tax under Article I Section 8 properly.

Just repeal the 16th, all that will happen is income from real property(e.g.. rent) and income from personal property, (e.g. stock dividends, bond interest, patent and copyright royalties) woudl not be taxable against the owner of the property without apportionment in accord to the population of the states.

It does not mean the national government cannot levy and collect taxes on rents for example when explicitly collected from the payer of rents(as an indirect tax) instead of being collected from the owner receiving rent(as a direct tax).

The distinction between the direct tax and indirect tax being in regard to who pays the tax, the owner(direct), or the the purchaser(indirect) of service, goods, real or personal property.

34 posted on 11/23/2002 7:55:15 PM PST by ancient_geezer
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To: Leto; Cobra64

THe idea that Sales Taxes are more visible flies in the face of most people's experiences.

Gee, I see it quite differently, I am quite aware of the sales taxes I am forced to pay. As are the folks in any place trying to raise said taxes. The resistence on the part of the public is fierce against sales tax hikes and not take lightly by most local governments.

35 posted on 11/23/2002 8:00:22 PM PST by ancient_geezer
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To: budwiesest
The topic is TAXES. Not slavery.
36 posted on 11/23/2002 8:09:48 PM PST by Cobra64
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To: lilylangtree




SIGN THE PETITION AT HTTP://WWW.VOTR.ORG. Then find out how you can do more to end America’s peculiar SPRING MADNESS.

37 posted on 11/23/2002 8:33:27 PM PST by Dick Bachert
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To: Leto; Cobra64

THe idea that Sales Taxes are more visible flies in the face of most people's experiences.

70% of the voting public don't mind higher income tax rates and clamor for more from government looking for the top 40% of income earners/producers to foot the bill. You figure the current system is visible in the face of most people's experience? Most folks are very much aware of sales taxes to the degree of even mentioning rate increases brings every one and his brother and dead uncle out to the polls around here. National income taxes, nary a peep except from those in the upper 40% of voters taking the real hit.

A very large proportion of the voters in the United States pay little or no individual income taxes (High personal exemption, standard deduction and EITC) which removes a very large proportion of the electorate from participation in such taxes completely(more than 20% of families). In fact the largest tax they pay and are visible to them are excises & state sales taxes. This is even true of the Armey "Flat" tax which would provide adult $13,600 exemptions right of the top.

Note the distribution of National Taxes by kind and how much is actually hidden from the view of the electorate, or implied to be something other than a tax (e.g. "Social Insurance" FICA).

CBO Estimates of Effective Federal Tax Rates for 1998

(% of gross income '97 dollars)

Families Ranked by Income Quintile

Individual Income Tax

Social Insurance Taxes

Corporate Income Tax

Excise Tax

Total Federal Taxes

Lowest($11,400) -6.9% 7.8% 0.5% 2.8% 4.2%
Second($28,600) 1.7% 9.9% 0.9% 1.6% 14.2%
Third($45,100) 6.3% 10.8% 1.4% 1.2% 19.7%
Fourth($65,600) 9.0% 11.3% 1.4% 1.0% 22.7%
Highest($167,500) 16.2% 8.0% 4.6% 0.5% 29.3%
Top10%($240,700) 18.0% 6.7% 5.8% 0.4% 30.8%
Top5%($355,800) 19.7% 5.3% 7.0% 0.3% 32.3%
Top1%($1,016,900) 23.0% 3.0% 9.5% 0.2% 35.7%
Average for all families($62,400) 11.2% 9.3% 3.0% 0.9% 24.4%
Source: Congressional Budget Office, May 15, 1997.
Notes:  Pre-tax family income is the sum of wages, salaries, self-employment income, rents, taxable and non-taxable interest, dividends, realized capital gains, and all cash transfer payments. Income also includes the employer share of Social Security and federal unemployment insurance payroll taxes, and the corporate income tax. For purposes of ranking by adjusted family income (AFI), income for each family is divided by the poverty threshold for a family of that size. Quintiles contain equal numbers of people. Families with zero or negative income are excluded from the lowest income category but included in the total.
Individual income taxes are distributed directly to families paying those taxes. Payroll taxes are distributed to families paying those taxes directly or indirectly through their employers. Federal excise taxes are distributed to families according to their consumption of the taxed good or service. Corporate income taxes are distributed to families according to their share of capital income.

This distribution of immediate participation in the cost of government does not bode well for the reductions in government where those who derive the most in immediate benefit from government have the least participation in paying the bill.


The Crisis in Democracy

The Honorable James DeMint (R-SC)
United States House of Representatives
12:00 noon

"There has been a shift in the relationship between individuals and government, he argues, such that fewer and fewer are paying taxes at the same time that more and more are receiving increasingly generous benefits. If it becomes the case that most voters do not bear a financial burden for this largess, then there will be little to restrain--and significant political incentives to encourage--the continued growth of government. And at that point, DeMint warns, we have reached a major crisis in our democracy."

Hiding taxes by embedding them in price inflation (e.g. Corporate taxes & employer's portion of FICA), misdirecting the attention of the electorate by calling taxes contributions to retirement, disability & insurance(e.g. FICA), tax credits, and large exemptions and standard deductions removing folks from even the nominal participation of filing, just makes for perpetuation of the same old hide the thimble tax games.

Milton Friedman as quoted by Northwest Florida Daily News, 10-16-2000:

38 posted on 11/23/2002 8:47:41 PM PST by ancient_geezer
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To: Leto
My understanding is the constitution provided for taxes indirectly through the states. The intention was to avoid taxation without representation by allowing the fed to tax individuals directly. If taxes were collected by the states then paid to the fed instead of directly to the fed we would have more control over the amount. Our representatives should be focused on reducing our tax burdon to the fed not allocating more funds for their state (Clintonomics).
39 posted on 11/23/2002 8:54:33 PM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan; Leto

My understanding is the constitution provided for taxes indirectly through the states.

That was true of the Articles of Confederation, but not the Constitution which replaced the Articles, the power to tax the individual as opposed to making requisition from the states being chief among the reasons for drafting the Constitution.

The problem was the Continental Congress had no means to enforce a tax on the states, and therefore the Constitution was written to provide a concurrent authority to lay and collect taxes from the individual.

Federalist #21:

Federalist #34:

Federalist #39:

Federalist #45:

James Madison, Elliots Debates Vol 3 p128:

40 posted on 11/23/2002 9:12:22 PM PST by ancient_geezer
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