Once Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania came up with the brilliantly greedy idea of taxing even unearned income, I had half a mind to conjure Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” The famous wit suggested eating young people as a means of easing economic stress, and I felt perhaps it was time to apply his deficit reduction technique to modern times by devouring Democrats like Schwartz.
But first I realized there’s no amount of Herbes de Provence to cover up what would surely be a gamey taste.
Second, I realized that our most crippling and liberty-depriving tax assault came at the hands of a Republican in the first place. The original RINO, William Howard Taft, first started fantasizing about a federal income tax in 1909. The actual passage of the 16th Amendment providing the Feds the right to directly tax citizens ironically came after a failed game played by conservatives. They greedy Republicans like Taft and his equally greedy Democrat cohorts were going to team up and try to get the issue passed in Congress. So the conservatives tried a bluff and introduced the Constitutional Amendment. They figured there’d be no way enough states would ratify it and such an idea would go away forever.
But a majority of states did ratify it. Game over. Liberty and pursuit of happiness: done.
Now it’s time to repeal the 16th Amendment altogether.
Our Founding Fathers revolted over less. Our income is taxed more by the federal government than we ever were under British rule. In fact, not even the Brits dared tax income.
Direct taxation of income is a clear violation of Article I of the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled as much in 1895. But that didn’t stop the organized criminals of yore to go full-speed ahead with the 16th Amendment.
If you and I came up with an idea to take people’s hard-earned money and use it to buy votes and secure our own income we’d have to talk about it with the door locked and only after the room was swept for FBI bugs. But now the income tax has been institutionalized, and the country hasn’t been the same since.
You can’t blame the greedy political pigs back in 1913. How perfect a ploy: You force the citizenry to hand over a portion of their money so that you can use it to create programs and entitlements that would essentially be used to buy votes and, thus, keep you permanently employed. On top of that, you take the money in increments, out of every paycheck, over a period of time and then, when you return some of the money you siphoned, you call it a “refund.”
The introduction of the direct federal income tax is responsible for transforming our government from servant to master. It turns out about 40 percent of our workday is solely for the purpose of funding the federal budget. The windfall created by the direct income tax has served as a blank check for politicians to use our money with no requirement whatsoever that they be prudent. Our money is a constant flow.
Why not force the government to live like the citizens do? Most of us, when the kids need clothes, would never consider sending the kid to the mall with a credit card. No. We give them a set amount of cash and they can buy two shirts and a pair of pants, or two pairs of pants and a shirt, or three shirts. In other words, they can get what they want within their budgets. And when mom and dad need something for the house or need to take a vacation they don’t go to the neighbor’s house and demand the neighbors pay. The federal government, aided by the bottomless pit of income tax dollars, operates in the opposite fashion of its citizens.
Instead of being a slim machine providing only border control and national security (the way the Founding Fathers created it), the government has for decades continually come up with new ways to spend the money that floods in from our paychecks. Usually the politicians come up with programs most likely to addict citizens to government help, intervention and oversight.
We have reached a point in America where there is no living citizen who remembers the country when it existed in the fashion the Founding Fathers intended.
Repeal the 16th Amendment. Continue to allow states to collect income taxes and allow the feds to collect revenue. Impose a national sales tax to provide a revenue source for proper federal government functions. And always reserve the option of devouring a politician as a last resort.
Jamie Allman is host of “Allman In The Morning: Common Sense Radio” on 97.1 FM Talk in St. Louis. He is a 14-time local-television Emmy winner in investigative and political reporting and a multiple Edward R. Murrow Award winner.