April 15, a day of legalized theft by our statist masters. A day every true blooded American dreads. This day is the sole reason the government has any power over her
citizens slaves. Without the taxes that we willfully allow the government to plunder, she would have no power or authority over us. Many will argue that taxes are a necessary evil. Are they, and if so, at what rate?
The good Congressman from Texas writes:
Could America exist without an income tax? The idea seems radical, yet in truth America did just fine without a federal income tax for the first 126 years of its history. Prior to 1913, the government operated with revenues raised through tariffs, excise taxes, and property taxes, without ever touching a worker's paycheck. In the late 1800s, when Congress first attempted to impose an income tax, the notion of taxing a citizen's hard work was considered radical! Public outcry ensued; more importantly, the Supreme Court ruled the income tax unconstitutional. Only with passage of the 16th Amendment did Congress gain the ability to tax the productive endeavors of its citizens.
Yet don't we need an income tax to fund the important functions of the federal government? You may be surprised to know that the income tax accounts for only approximately one-third of federal revenue. Only 10 years ago, the federal budget was roughly one-third less than it is today. Surely we could find ways to cut spending back to 1990 levels, especially when the Treasury has single year tax surpluses for the past several years. So perhaps the idea of an America without an income tax is not so radical after all.
The harmful effects of the income tax are obvious. First and foremost, it has enabled government to expand far beyond its proper constitutional limits, regulating virtually every aspect of our lives. It has given government a claim on our lives and work, destroying our privacy in the process. It takes billions of dollars out of the legitimate private economy, with most Americans giving more than a third of everything they make to the federal government. This economic drain destroys jobs and penalizes productive behavior. The ridiculous complexity of the tax laws makes compliance a nightmare for both individuals and businesses. All things considered, our Founders would be dismayed by the income tax mess and the tragic loss of liberty which results.
America without an income tax would be far more prosperous and far more free, but we must be prepared to fight to regain the liberty we have lost incrementally over the past century. I recently introduced "The Liberty Amendment," legislation which would repeal the 16th Amendment and effectively abolish the income tax. I truly believe that real tax reform, reform that so many frustrated Americans desperately want, requires bold legislation that challenges the Washington mind set. Congress talks about reform, but the current tax debate really involves nothing of substance. Both parties are content to continue tinkering with the edges of the tax code to please various special interests. The Liberty Amendment is an attempt to eliminate the system altogether, forcing Congress to find a simple and fair way to collect limited federal revenues. Most of all, the Liberty Amendment is an initiative aimed at reducing the size and scope of the federal government.
Is it impossible to end the income tax? I don't believe so. In fact, I believe a serious groundswell movement of disaffected taxpayers is growing in this country. Millions of Americans are fed up with the current tax system, and they will bring pressure on Congress. Some sidestep Congress completely, bringing legal challenges questioning the validity of the tax code and the 16th Amendment itself. Ultimately, the Liberty Amendment could serve as a flashpoint for these millions of voices.
There are many people engaging in tea party protests today, hoping to send a message to Washington that we've had enough. The problem with this strategy is that the original Boston Tea Party was not a peaceful protest, it was a violent disregard for the law by a people who said no more taxes. Sipsey Street makes the comparison.
The original Boston Tea Party was a calculated act of law-breaking designed to send the British Empire a message it could not fail to comprehend. Making long-winded speeches, thumping impassioned chests and denouncing a government made up of people who have already written you off as unimportant, impotent and no threat to their plans is a waste of time, energy and oxygen. As comfortable and deeply ingrained as they are in all Americans, the conventional political tactics of speech-making, letter-writing and electioneering have brought us to this precipice of defeat. The guttering flame of the Founders' Republic is within one stiff breeze of going out forever. Both political parties have conspired through malice or incompetence to bring us to this state, yet still people look in vain to the system of party politics for salvation. The Founders were not so stupid as to place all their hopes on a corrupt system. When the accepted channels of politics and remonstrance failed, they burned the King's tax stamps, dumped his tea, broke the windows of his tax collectors with rocks and bricks, smuggled forbidden goods, defied "his royal majesty" in hundreds of other ways and dared him to do anything about it. Liberty is not free, nor is it without risk.
Finally, Paul Craig Roberts lays out a concise history of our modern serfdom.