The Tyranny of the 16th Amendment & the Republicans Dirty Little Secret
When I originally wrote The Tyranny of Taxes, I was intending to write about the 16th Amendment, and its effect on the States. I got a little sidetracked.
In the original writing of the Constitution, the Federal government was not allowed to tax incomes. They could lay and collect
By way of direct taxes, they could collect by:
- Capitation (per head), but only if it is apportioned by population
- Property taxes on real or personal property
Income taxes on wages was considered to be an indirect tax, and thus not legal under the Constitution.
The catch to all of this is that the States were to pay these taxes to the Federal government, based on population. For example, California would pay the most in Federal taxes, while Wyoming would pay the least. It would change every census. (Today, if this tax were $1 per “head”, California would pay over $38 million, while Wyoming would pay a just under $600k) It would be up to the States as to how to collect those taxes from the people.
The left likes to point out that Lincoln, a Republican, instituted the first income taxes to pay for the Civil War. He also suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus, both of which were illegal under the Constitution. While Lincoln was challenged on Habeas Corpus, and lost, he was not challenged on the tax. It was repealed in 1872, but revived in 1894 under Grover Cleveland, a Democrat. The Supreme Court ruled these taxes unconstitutional in 1895 (Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co.).
What is worse, a government that ignores the Constitution out of perceived necessity, or a people that does not challenge it?
Along comes President William Howard Taft (R) and Norris Brown (R- Neb.) in 1909, who both proposed what would become the 16th Amendment:
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 Amendment itself came about in Joint Proposal 40, written by Republican Senator Nelson W. Aldrich from Rhode Island. He had declared such an amendment “communistic” just 10 years prior.
The Amendment was finally fully ratified in 1913, and the Federal government finally had a way of taxing the people directly. I’ve heard from a lot of different people that the 16th Amendment was put in place as a way to pay for the United States participation in the First World War. Unfortunately for them, that war didn’t start for five years from the time it was proposed (August, 1914), the US didn’t enter into it until 1917, and it didn’t end until near the end of 1918.
Now you know the dirty little secret of the Republican Party. From Lincoln up until Taft, the Republicans were the Progressives, and the Democrats the Conservatives, a role that started to reverse in the mid 1910’s , and would be completed by the late 1960’s, early 1970’s.
So, thank you Republicans for saddling us with Federal income taxes.
Here’s where it gets bad. Since the Federal government is now collecting large amounts of money from us, the citizens, they have established power of manipulation over the States. Don’t want to set up an exchange for Obamacare? Fine, we won’t give you Federal money to fix your roads, or for your schools.
The Constitution provided for the ultimate power to belong to the People and to the States. These roles have reversed as well, starting in 1953 with the Warren Supreme Court. The Warren Court began to apply to US Constitution to the States as well as the Federal government. That’s not how that document works. The States have their own Constitutions to follow.
Through income taxes, the Federal government has a way of enslaving the people, and to institute their agenda on us. Think about it, as long as there are a large number of people on government assistance, then there is a large contingent that has a vested interest in maintaining these programs and helping make the government larger, to make more government programs.
So, thank you Republicans. The party for limited government, actually created the big government we have today.