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This Generation’s Duty: Repeal the 16th Amendment By Evalyn Bennett

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Tax Day is not an occasion Americans celebrate with picnics, presents, or parades. Yet, we haven’t always had a Tax Day.

The income tax was foisted upon us in 1913 by the generation that passed the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 16th amendment states, “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.”

Prior to 1913, there was no direct taxation of the people. In fact, the Constitution forbade it. Let that sink in. American citizens of 1913 voluntarily subjected themselves to direct taxation by the federal government!

Four words in that amendment (“from whatever source derived”) and six words missing from that amendment (“… a maximum tax rate of —%”) enable the federal government to “lay and collect taxes” without restraint. Add to that constitutional “permission” a Congress that (1) fails to limit the national government to the enumerated and implied powers of the Constitution, and (2) approves budgets that exceed tax revenues (deficit spending), and you have our current $4.2 trillion budget and $19.5 trillion debt. That debt amounts to $165,564 per taxpayer!

Contrast that budget and debt with these figures for 1913: $11.7 billion in revenues and $11.7 billion spent (i.e., a modest balanced budget).

Why has there been this massive increase in the national budget? I surmise it is because Congress has unlimited funds to add government functions and programs.

Only seven executive departments predate the 16th amendment: State, Treasury, Interior, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. These functions of government were funded through excise taxes and tariffs. In the time span since ratification of the 16th amendment, eight more executive departments (and the agencies and programs associated with them) have been instituted: Defense, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veteran Affairs, and Homeland Security. Some of these departments are clearly unconstitutional.

Congress has also increased the rate of taxation dramatically. The Revenue Tax Act of 1913 imposed a graduated tax starting at 1% with a maximum rate of 7%. In contrast, the 2016 income tax rate ranges from a minimum of 10% to a whopping 39.6%. The 16th amendment also allows two additional direct federal taxes on income. Employees and employers each pay 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare. This jumps the individual tax rate to a 17.65% minimum and a 47.25% maximum!

The House of Representatives has the “power of the purse” through its constitutional authority to propose “All Bills for raising Revenue…” (Article I, Section 7). However, We the People can reduce the revenue source of the federal government by repealing the 16th amendment. Whether Congress passes this repeal or the states, via an Article V convention of states, initiate the 16th amendment repeal process doesn’t matter. Imposing fiscal restraint on the federal government is the duty of this generation.

Downsizing the federal government can, and should, begin while the repeal process is underway (16th amendment repeal could take years to accomplish). Steps that should be taken include the following: Click here to read more


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