16th Amendment Shattered Constitution   Leave a comment

The 16th Amendment was in direct violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, which states “No capitation, or other direct Tax, shall be laid unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration.” Essentially, this meant that the federal government could collect revenue from the states according to population, but had to leave the method of collection to them. The federal government was therefore limited in the amount of money it could raise by its own authority … keeping it small and not terribly intrusive … usually.

The 16th Amendment led to the Internal Revenue code, which is incredibly complex, inefficient and abusive, and frequently used by overzealous bureaucrats and politicians to restrain the liberty of American citizens. It was really the first of the Progressive Era amendments and it led to a rapid and unchecked advance in the growth of the federal government.

Repealing the 16th Amendment would force the federal government to examine its spendthrift ways and would return us to the federalism of the federal government because states would now be in control of federal finances. States could decide for themselves how to collect taxes to send to Washington DC, based upon population. So, for example, Alaska might decide not to tax our citizens, but to tax the oil companies instead – which is how we fund state government now. Or we might decide to tax Alaskan citizens’ sales transactions or income to provide for the federal maintenance.

States would once again have a stake in deciding how the federal government spends our money, which would make 50 US governors watchdogs to Congress and the President.

And it would be true to the original intent of the Constitution.

Yes, there is a risk that it might be replaced through amendment with some other national tax, but not if states were careful in their instructions to their delegates. I think most states, especially those west of the Mississippi, would rather stop taking orders from Washington DC and start giving them.

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