Power to tax and destroy

Repeal_16By Rick Manning

Tax reform is likely to be one of the hot button topics in the months ahead as politicians on both sides of the aisle grapple with how to make the federal income tax system, flatter, fairer and less complicated.

The tax code itself has been altered, fixed, reformed, flattened, expanded and criticized since it was created in 1913 by Constitutional Amendment, now it just may be time to get rid of the income tax altogether as a failed, progressive experiment.

Congress and whoever occupies the White House goes through the reform kabuki dance every generation with grand promises of doing your taxes on a form that fits on a postcard and the like, while an entire lobbying industry gently undercuts these efforts to ensure that their breaks are sustained.

Truth be told, it is on some levels, a good thing that different interests lobby and inform Congress about the benefits of their relative interests so legislators gain some understanding about how the private sector economy actually works.

But, the tax industrial complex in our nation’s Capitol is one of the most pernicious influences stopping any real reform of the tax system as they scramble for competitive advantages for their client’s using the tax code as their weapon.

This corporate rent seeking is pervasive as Big Wind and other renewable lobbyists urge Congress to subsidize their industries through tax credits, investment firm lobbyists push back and forth whether the capital gains tax rate should differ for real estate and equities, and even charities demand that the tax code subsidize gifts.

This wash, rinse, repeat cycle of tax reform is nothing more than a battle between interests for special advantage while Congress and the President picking the winners and losers, all the while garnering significant campaign cash for their efforts.

It is time for a new way.

It is time for bold action.

It is time to repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, ending the income tax entirely and force Congress to collect revenue in other ways.

One hundred years ago, the income tax constitutional amendment was an experiment that America has long since learned has done nothing except increase the coercive power of the federal government.   As has been seen in recent months, that power has been used to attack and stifle political speech, and there has been nothing done to prevent this abuse from continuing to occur.

In 1819, Daniel Webster, one of America’s great orators argued in the landmark McCollough v. Maryland case that, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.”

Webster’s admonition is no less true today than it was almost 200 years ago.

The federal government will always maintain the power to tax, however, repealing its power to tax income will, for a while, diminish its power to destroy those who oppose the politically connected.

In the months and years ahead, our nation’s survival depends upon ripping the D.C. culture of corruption out by its roots.  Repealing the 16th amendment would be a very good start.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

  • slimjim

    this is what happens when you put an un-educated muslim in charge of America !!!!

  • yaki534

    A tax of 12% on all income with no exemptions period would be the only fair way to go.

  • Russ

    Converting to a flat tax will save a lot of dollars even with the lay off of all tax that pay the IRS people. Put them on food stamp and see how they like it.

  • DC/Tex

    We need the FAIR TAX now! The FAIR TAX will abolish the IRS.
    If you are not for the FAIR TAX you do not understand the FAIR TAX.
    Read “The Fair Tax Book”!!!!!

  • pduffy

    The blog said, “The tax code itself has been altered, fixed, reformed, flattened, expanded and criticized since it was created in 1913 by Constitutional Amendment”.

    There is a problem here. The constitution was never altered to remove the ‘equal protection clause’, so technically speaking, the income tax is STILL unconstitutional, no matter what “amendment” was added. You can’t have one law that says one thing, and another one that contradicts the first. It must be one or the other. Either everybody is subject to the same tax, or the equal protection clause has been violated. By definition, a ‘progressive’ tax is a gross violation of equal protection. The so-called 16th amendment did not give the power to apply such a tax. For an ‘income’ tax to be lawful, EVERY CITIZEN must be subject to to the tax, and it MUST BE THE SAME PERCENTAGE.

    The founders understood this and also added the ‘direct tax’ clause which forbade a tax where any class of citizen was ‘exempt’ and included a provision that ‘direct tax’s be applied to the states “according to population”. Again, the 16th amendment did not remove this provision of the document, so the 16th amendment IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, because it conflicts with the former law, WITHOUT a repeal of those clauses.

    Therefore, NO CITIZEN of the United States is subject to the progressive income tax by law. The problem is that the black robe society has not done their constitutional duty and STRUCK IT DOWN. The judicial branch is really the problem. They should have cut congress’ throat on this power but failed. We the people do not need to ‘repeal’ something that is unconstitutional by nature, but rather just ignore it and THROW THE TEA INTO THE HARBOR.

  • jwatersphd

    What do you propose instead?

  • pduffy

    Why 12%? Why not 90%? Who gets to decide how much of my income can be stolen? From 1776 to 1913 there was no income tax – zero. How about zero sir? The government has plenty of resources, and owns half the west, they can develop this land and resources and collect rents to pay for the government. This is how it was done for the first 150 years of America, we can go back to that model, it works. We don’t need to live as slaves, we can live free, we just have to choose it.

  • pduffy

    The only ‘fair’ tax is no tax. 1776 to 1913 – no income tax, and in that time America became the beacon of freedom around the world, and became the most prosperous nation in history. We can do just fine without any income taxation.

  • pduffy

    How about freedom? 1776 to 1913 there was no progressive income tax, and America did just fine. Why is it so difficult to sell you freedom jwaters? Why do you want to live as a slave to this government? Or are you getting some benefit from their thefts? Is the problem really that you do not want your neighbor to be free because he might prosper more than you?

  • DC/Tex

    The Fair Tax is NOT an income tax! With The Fair Tax, if you earn $100 you take home $100!
    READ! “The Fair Tax Book”, is the only way you will understand, it will answer your questions and then you will be another educated American FOR The Fair Tax!

  • jwatersphd

    Calm down, p. We’re not running the country with no money at all, and if the income tax is abolished, it’ll have to be replaced by something else. That was my question. Even Manning isn’t arguing that we don’t need some revenue. He’s pretty loony, but even he doesn’t think we don’t need any government. I know you think it’s a waste because God’s coming down some day, but I think you’ve got a long wait. As for me, I’m sold on freedom; I have a lot of it. Maybe you think you are a “slave” to the government, but I’m sure I’m not. I think you’re just projecting your own petty meanness on me to assume that I don’t want my neighbor to be free, or that I’m opposed to him or her prospering more than me. Where you get these vile attributions is a damn good question. It probably shows us more who you are than anything else. Take your paranoia and negativism and put ‘em wherever you think they’ll do the most good. Stop laying your own crap on me.

  • pduffy

    So if I pay a ‘property’ tax, is that a tax on my income? All taxes are ‘income’ taxes, unless you can’t pay out of your income, then they come and take your property. The so-called property tax is just another progressive tax that is applied unequally to grab my income.

    A ‘sales’ tax is also in income tax, but just collected when you buy the product. The tax comes from your PREVIOUS income. Why is it that we just cannot accept the notion of pure freedom? America did just fine when the government taxed imports, and collected royalties on lands it owns. The federal government owns land worth TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS of dollars, and COULD use these resources to generate revenue without ANY taxation of the people. You want to live as a slave, I wish to live free. Why do you choose slavery? It boggles my mind.

  • pduffy

    So J, if you are ‘free’ as you say, why do you keep voting
    for slavery? Your fear of freedom keeps you from truly living it because you think you need a big government daddy to protect you from the non-existent boogie man that might get you if it doesn’t exist, and without taxes, this all-mighty protector will be gone, and then your fear will explode. Is this not the reason you think we need to ‘replace’ the tax code with something else? The “something else” is nothing. Free your mind, believe in God, and the truth will set you free. I do not need this government because I am not afraid. It is YOU that is paranoid. Medicare can’t save you. Obama-care can’t save you. It’s all lies. We all must face the ultimate fear -death. Is that not what drives you to vote the way you do? You are afraid of death, and the almighty protector, that runs ‘medicare’ will delay the inevitable. It’s ‘military’ will protect you from the death that a foreign enemy might threaten you, so it’s existence takes away your fear. It’s an idol J.

    In the beginning of this country, the people were free for a time. From 1776 – 1913 ‘nothing’ replaced the income tax, the people lived free from federal taxation on their income. What’s wrong with that model? Why did we need to ‘tax the rich’ other than to redistribute wealth? Give up your trust in man, and man’s government, and then you can live free. You don’t need medicare. The doctors will treat you for much less if the government sugar daddy would disappear.

    Now for my solution to the taxation problem, if we must have some man-made government, for your benefit I will argue this issue:

    The federal government owns HALF of the western states, and has enough land and resources on and UNDER that land to pay for the government for a 1000 years or more. The problem is they REFUSE to use this land, and rather choose to keep it under raps under the guise of ‘environmentalism’ so that they have an excuse to tax the rest of us and keep us as slaves, and foreign interests so that we are held hostage to our enemies.

    So J, please tell me where I am going wrong on my argument for using government-owned land to pay for itself?

  • jwatersphd

    I used to be afraid of death, but I’ve had a great life, and, when it comes, I’ll have no regrets. I always act to optimize my freedom, though that includes at times paying for things like national parks, highways, etc. It’s a free choice to do that. I’m really glad to hear that God will take c/o us. Thanks for the reassurance.

  • Mad Mike

    Wheather we know it or not, we have just received the biggest tax increase in the entire history of the world! Courtesy of Barack Hussaine Obama! It’s called “Obamacare”. And nothing less than the Chief Justice of our own Supreme Court has ruled that “Obamacare” is not an “entitlement program”, it is a massive, new “TAX”. That is the only reason it is now a law and is legal! Having just been “hit” with the largest federal tax in history, Obama and his merry band of democrat theives, now want to raise ever-more higher taxes. What do you have when they reach their final goal of 100% taxes on the public? Yup! where they have always been leading us, total communisum and a commie dictatorship where the government owns “everything”, including you!

  • DC/Tex

    I agree with part of what you are saying. A tax is a tax, but you control how you pay taxes with The Fair Tax.
    I do not live in dream land, there will always be taxes.
    READ! “The Fair Tax Book” and EDUCATE yourself before you discount the Fair Tax. The Government prays on uneducated subjects.

  • Mad Mike

    Smaller federal government and much smaller federal taxes and controls. Only those absolutely essential to protect national safety should be managed by the feds. The feds exist only at the permission of the states. We are the “United States of America”, we are not the “Federally Controlled States of America”. This federal government has gotten way to big for it’s britches. We will not tolorate a “Monarchy or any type of Dictatorship” in America. We will fight, endlessly, and to the death, before we will allow any total federal control of this nation! Our Constitution is our sacred bible, and we will preserve it from federal tyranny! The federal government was created to “serve us”, not the other way around!

  • Arizona_Don

    Logically I suspect there will, as you say, always be a tax of some kind. I was for the flat tax until I studied the fair tax and that is, no doubt, the best choice. And there are many reasons for that. I will give one example, there are many. The fair tax will continue to allow an exemption for home ownership but eliminate many others. Like it or not if that exemption is eliminated it will shut down a large part of this economy and who ever thought the real estate bubble was bad ain’t seen nothing yet if that exemption is gone. However, it could be limited to one primary home, without doing much damage.

    An important fact that has gotten us into a financial bind, in this country, is those who do not pay taxes getting refunds (kickback, bribe – a rose by any other name). That has to stop. That is direct redistribution of wealth and that is no good.

    Twelve percent is fair provided other taxes are eliminated, I do not think they will be at that rate. However, if it takes fourteen percent to eliminate the other taxes do it. A fair tax could be a win win for both the government and the citizens if it is done right. So lets take our time (not like obamacare) and do it right!

  • pduffy

    Actually we agree. I have no problem paying taxes for certain things like roads and parks, although I paid to get into all the national parks last year, I visited 9 of them in one summer on a massive road trip with my family. This is how the parks should be funded, with entry fees by those who choose to enjoy them, and if nobody cares enough to pay to get in, then why have them? I was willing to pay, and would continue to do so. I buy gasoline and gladly pay the tax for the road. But if I do not own a car, I pay no tax, but that’s my choice. I choose to drive, therefore I choose to be taxed. That’s a lawful tax, but only if it’s used to fund the road, and not ‘diverted’ to pay for someone’s health care, or for charity as is the system now. If the government decides that the poor do not need to pay the gasoline tax, but still get to use the road, that’s when I cry foul. We as Americans must accept that we all have ‘skin in the game’ no matter how great or how small that person happens to be, we must be treated equally, and that’s my main gripe with the current system.
    If you want my income taxed and a certain rate, then apply that to ALL citizens and see what happens to the pressure to tax income. It would disappear, or at least to the level where the majority of the citizens would accept the tax. How about a tithe, like from the scriptures? I would accept that. The current system is totally corrupt because it has virtually ‘exempted’ half of the country from the burden to support the government, and that same segment receives income they did not earn from the treasury. It’s just plain stealing. Should that segment of the population enjoy the same benefits of a free country without having to put any skin in the game? That’s not freedom, but tyranny. They have voted themselves the benefit of a free society, but without putting in any personal effort. Such a system WILL collapse, which is why democracies have historically failed. When enough of the people discover they can vote for a living, they do.
    When both my parents retired, they both went on Medicare. But both of them had the means to pay for their own health care without taxpayer help, one of them being a millionaire. Is this the intent of that program? I heard their argument, “I paid into the system, I should receive the benefit”. Well, they paid taxes, should they get food stamps? Nope. But somehow medicare is different, it’s ok to accept welfare in health care, even if you are a millionaire. Whatever happened to the idea, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”? The government virtually forces all citizens over a certain age into the government-run system for health care regardless of means. It’s insane. We MUST change the way we think about life. We have been given a certain amount of time on this earth, and can’t buy another minute, why bankrupt the next generation while holding on to our own retirement accounts?
    Imagine what would happen if doctors were forced to accept on-the-spot payment from their patients? The price would most certainly fall, but that’s why they created health insurance in the first place, to extract a greater price from all the population. How about instead of creating another insurance program, we ban insurance instead of making it a law to purchase it? Think of the savings, no insurance companies would mean many thousands of people actually working to produce something, rather than just collecting a pile of money to redistribute. People like Warren Buffet would actually have to work for living, heaven forbid.

  • pduffy

    Dream big. The founders did. They threw the tea into the harbor, and took the land from the British. For a time the ‘government’ was giving it away, without a price. Remember the Oklahoma land rush? No taxes there, but ‘free’ land. Can you ‘imagine’ something like that happening now? Fat chance! The problem is that you can’t think outside of the tax-box you have been placed in since birth. There is enough resources that is ‘government-owned’ to pay for this government for a thousand years, and it’s all lying right under our own two feet, the problem is the ‘progressives’ don’t want you to enjoy it, and use it for your own freedom. So they have ‘locked it up’, and used lies, like ‘global warming’ and environmentalism to make sure you don’t get to use it, but rather import it from our enemies with debt. They want you ‘taxed’ and in debt believing you cannot escape it. When you fight a war, you must count the cost as they did. Are you willing to die for what you believe in? If not, stop this foolishness with the ‘Fair Tax’, unless you are willing to go the distance. The voting booth isn’t going to get the job done.

  • rowleya

    Cruz for Prez

  • Myrtle Linder

    I’ll vote for Cruz, for president. He is the only one who has made a outstanding mark against Muslim Islamist in the form of Obamacare, ever.

    What makes it even better he is a professed Christian, without which he would be unacceptable like Obama.

  • dkme1

    Thia action will take all of us or it will never have a chance.

  • jwatersphd

    Yes, we have a number of points of agreement. Now, I’ve got to go work for my living.

  • fred

    Disclosing my income, bank account balances, and my investments to the federal government should be outlawed. These clowns can not be trusted with my financial information. That means the income tax must go.

  • CC

    Let the States collect income tax and fund Federal government for collective services.

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