The Process of amending the United States Constitution is not a complicated one. You simply draft a resolution to be passed by the House and Senate in Congress and then it needs to be ratified by three-fourths of the states in the union. This can be rather easy if you work to flood congress with a sympathetic ideology in favor of your proposed amendment.
One can only be curious as to what amendments accomplish for freedom, justice, and liberty. When reviewing the first ten amendments with the knowledge that in order for ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights required addition, you come across some interesting observations. Within ten amendments, persons living within the United States of America are bestowed with rights; granted freedom of speech, press, and protest – dismissed from torture, cruelty, and inequality. But what do other amendments accomplish.
Slavery was abolished with the thirteenth. Race nor sex, can impair one's voting status thanks to the fifteenth and nineteenth amendments. The fourteenth amendment granted all citizens living in the United States assurance that states must abide by the U.S. Constitution. In these, a pattern arises of guaranteeing power to the public, not government. The constitution is quite specific when it comes to governmental powers.
We should also look at how amendments play not to empower a government for the people by the people, but to give more restriction or defined power to government. Amendment twenty limits Presidential terms, while amendment eleven limits the judicial. Liquor and poll taxes were barred with the eighteenth and twenty-fourth amendments, while the sixteenth amendment allows congress to “lay and collect taxes on incomes, from what ever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States expunged the clause “[n]o Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken” found in Article I, Section 9. This leaves behind unwarranted power to collect taxes not indirectly, but directly from an individual's income.
When thinking about taxes, history reminds us of the hatred the colonies had of taxes imposed by the crown. This led to many rebellious acts like the Boston Tea Party or even the Whisky Rebellion. Taxation without representation left a very foul taste in the mouths of a young nation.
The Articles of Confederation did not grant the federal government the right to collect any taxes and therefore left the state to fend for itself leading to an abuse among neighboring states. When the United States Constitution was put together, the founders had in mind a limited, but yet strong central government – but they were sure to limit taxation with Article I, Section 9.
Tariffs on Imports and an excise tax gave the federal government most of its funding up to the Civil War when funds were needed to pay for the expanding and costly conflict. An income tax was imposed during the later part of the Civil War. This tax was considered to be a necessary tax and overall was well accepted. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the income tax several times before and during the Civil War.
In 1872, President Grant showed strong opposition and signed the law repealing the income tax. In 1894, a major tariff bill passed with a rider taking 2 percent of all income from individuals and corporations. (This reminds me of how the REAL ID Act was passed as a rider on a war funding bill in 2005.) The tax was brought to federal court where it was challenged as unconstitutional within 18 days of its effect. This Supreme Court case found that past decisions had been found in error and a tax on personal property and land is a direct tax and therefore unconstitutional.
Supporters of an income tax had several options at this point. They could either wait for the court to change composition or they could pass an amendment to the United States constitution. Being progressive in nature, the income tax became a way for wealth to be evenly distributed and for a greater expansion of federal government. European countries began lifting tariffs on exports and imports, lending way to free trade agreements, and began to rely on an income tax. This model was favorable to the progressive viewpoint, but not to the individual.
Republicans in both houses of congress before 1909 opposed a federal income tax and pushed for greater tariffs and excise taxes to fund the federal government. A new law sprung up and eventually made its way into the amendments and became the sixteenth article signed by President Woodrow Wilson and ratified in 1913.
There is an interesting occurrence that takes place with the twenty-first amendment that actually inspired my vision of a new amendment. The twenty-first amendment repeals the liquor prohibition amendment. People seemed to have come to an understanding that prohibition of alcohol was going against individual's rights. It was causing more harm than good.
I could amend the constitution to guarantee privacy, to limit police powers, or an amendment for defining marriage or limiting flag burning, but I figured I could amend the constitution to save, not just myself, but every working American tens of thousands of dollars.
Albert Einstein once said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
Every paycheck I get from my two different jobs has a deduction where the Federal Government takes money out. The state also grabs some money from each check. Income is even taken from my check to pay into the crumbling Social Security program that will be exhausted before I can be considered a participant. This is all taken without my approval. Last year, I found out that one of my jobs was not taking enough money out for the Federal Income Tax, and that eventually led to me paying even more taxes.
It doesn't stop there. We are taxed for every gallon of gas, milk, and water we buy. If we choose to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, we are taxed. When driving on certain roads, there is a tax. When transferring money from one mutual fund to another individual retirement account – we are taxed. There is the possibility of personal gifts being taxed.
Understandably, there are some taxes that may be necessary for the common welfare of the country, be it defense or infrastructure. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes puts it, “[t]axes are what we pay for a civilized society”.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution does give Congress the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”
In my humbled opinion, amendments should be made to limit and restrict the government. It seems there needs to be a constant check on the boundaries that government can step into. Where the constitution is not clear, there should be light. We need not alter the constitution to give power to public office. The government works for us, not the other way around.
“The power to tax involves the power to destroy,” Chief Justice John Marshall (1819).
With the sixteenth amendment, mid-May becomes “Tax Free Day”. According to the Tax Foundation, from the beginning of the year to mid-May, our work goes directly for taxes. When tax free day comes around, we then work to keep the rest of the year's earnings. That is over five months of working directly for the government. Something seems wrong with this situation.
If we do not pay taxes, we are threatened with fines, penalized with prison time, and dragged through lengthy confusing court cases where aggressive tactics are used. Nine times out of ten, the state wins. There is a story, recently published in the State Journal-Register, of a man who didn't file taxes every year only to be fined 200,000 dollars and imprisoned for ten years.
“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.” Mark Twain (1902)
Another case to keep an eye on is that of Edward and Elaine Brown. This couple had pleaded for federal agents to show them a law that required them to pay a federal income tax. This is an argument all ‘un-American' tax evaders ask of the federal government. Eventually, their home was entered by a marshal posing as a supporter bringing supplied to the Brown's. They were promptly arrested and held in isolation awaiting trial.
There are even former IRS Enforcement agents being imprisoned for telling the truth about their research into the lack of law.
There are other stories of people getting found not guilty of tax evasion as the case of Whitey Harrel. This Illinois man was charged with state tax evasion in 2000, but a jury found him not guilty because the court failed to provide the federal law requiring a report and tax of income.
With my article that repeals the sixteenth amendment several things happen; Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution is restored to its original form, individual's income is exempt from tax and from report to the federal government. By being forced to report your income to the federal government, you are incriminating yourself only to be penalized for how much you make. It also provides that indirect, excise taxes can be collected but it must be used evenly through out the country.
Section 1. The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 2. An individual's income, from whatever source derived is free from any direct tax by the federal government of the United States. In no way shall a report of income be required of citizens of the United States.
Section 3. Indirect taxes collected should be apportioned among the several States with regard to census or enumeration.
The next step after adding the twenty-eighth amendment is to get rid of the Federal Reserve and legitimize our currency with a precious metal standard. With a central bank in control of our economy's efficiency; interest rates, inflation, and flooding moneys in the system, there is plenty of room for manipulation in favor of certain interest groups. Interestingly enough, the Federal Reserve act was signed by Woodrow Wilson in the same year as the sixteenth amendment. Maybe that is just a ‘coincidence'.Tweet