Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Sixteenth Amendment

The Founders wanted to constrain the Federal Government; so they denied the Federal Government the authority to engage in direct taxation. Instead they wanted to Federal Government to engage in a convoluted form of indirect taxation based on the census.

I need to repeat this point.

The reason the Framers of the Constitution denied the Federal Government direct taxation was because they wanted to constrain the Federal Government. They did not think an indirect tax based on census data was the best form of taxation.

Tired of convoluted tax schemes to fund governance with indirect taxation, people capitulated and passed the Sixteenth Amendment which 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."

There are many in the FairTax crowd who denounce the sixteenth amendment as Unconstitutional.
 sought to deny direct taxation because they wanted to limit the Federal Government, not because they believe that indirect taxation is a better form of taxation.

They claim the FairTax restores the Constitution as it was revealed by the Heavenly Father.

But the problem with this position falls with the reasoning behind the original constraints on direct taxation.

The Founders denied the Federal Government powers of direct taxation to prevent growth of the Federal Government. That growth has already occurred. The cat is already out of the bag.

Today's challenge is to figure out the best way to reform the tax system. Switching from direct taxation back to indirect taxation because the Framers of the Constitution thought indirect taxation would limit growth of the central government.

This argument is like me wanting to go back to my third grade school uniform because I was happier as an elementary student than I am as an adult. The uniform just doesn't fit.

Many Conservatives argue that we should return to a system of taxation based on a census of the provinces is in the Bible.

It is true that a tax system based on a census of the provinces plays prominently in the Bible. In the Reign of Augustus Caesar (27BC - 14AD), the emperor ordered a general census for the purpose of Taxation. The census in Syria and Judea was administered by Quirinius who had ordered people to return to their place of birth to be counted.

To apply with the census, Joseph traveled with his pregnant wife to Bethlehem but was unable to find an inn. The result is that Jesus was born in a manger.

Tax compliance was as much a pain in year zero as it is in year 2013. The Nativity occurred as people complied with a tax system based upon a periodic census of the providences.

Conservatives are correct. The original system of taxing states based upon census data appears in the Bible.

Just because something appears in the Bible doesn't mean it is better.

In the Bible we learn that the state handled common criminals by crucifying them in a public square. Crucifying people as punishment is the single most important story in The Bible.

I don't think we should restore such barbarism. If the state started crucifying people, I would be in the street protesting ... even though crucifixion plays a central role in The Bible.

The fact that they sought to deny the Federal Government direct taxation indicates that they saw direct taxation as the strongest form of taxation.

A growing number of Conservatives are interested in The Covenant.

The Covenant holds that the Declaration of Independence, the US Revolution and the US Constitution were directed and revealed by the Heavenly Father to lay the conditions for the restoration of His Church in the Latter Days. This restoration was fulfilled by the revelation of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and the Covenants.

The church created by the Doctrine and Covenants uses a form of direct taxes called tithing. A tithe is a a direct personal tax. Tithing also appears in the Christian Bible.

I admit, I am out of sorts with the Conservative movement. I hold the opinion that the Sixteenth Amendment is Constitutional.

(BTW, I've had the conversation about the constitutionality of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth amendments. The conversations usually end with accusations that I am some sort of horned beast for believing that such filthy amendments are constitutional.)

If we accept that the battle to constrain the Federal Government by limiting it from direct taxation was lost, then we are faced with the question of finding the best way to collect tax. I contend the best way to collect taxes.

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