Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Repealing the 17th Amendment

“Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.” – Federalist #62

 

The states were supposed to have a seat at the table. And at one time, they did, and for good reason. And it was for this reason that the Progressives then in control of our government adopted the 17th Amendment in 1913. If you haven’t noticed yet, 1913 was a terrible year for limited government and personal freedom.

Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution made explicitly clear that the U.S. Senate (one of two Houses in our Legislative branch of the federal government) would represent the individual states, and the state legislatures would vote for their Senator and send him/her to Washington to provide yet another check on the federal government.

State representation in Congress wasn’t by happenstance, and the reasoning was a point James Madison expressed in Federalist Paper # 62, where the authors of the U.S. Constitution wanted to ensure the states that were debating this proposed government that they would, in fact, retain their own rights and powers, and that the federal government would be comprised of the individual states, rather than become its own entity. The (proven) theory was that the states would remain much more vigilant and act as a watchdog over the federal government than the citizenry would, and that both the individual states and the population within those states deserved say-so in federal decision making.

The Progressives recognized that founding theory, and they didn’t like it. A relentless campaign spanning several decades came to fruition in 1913, when Progressive William Jennings Bryan (Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State) was able to announce the 17th Amendment he fought for was now law. This new Amendment revoked the right of the individual states to select their two representatives, and handed it to the citizens that they knew were more easily swayed with promises of handouts and favors.

Since 1913, we’ve progressed from a country with no income tax and relative economic stability to a country that has suffered through multiple economic busts and depressions, immoral income taxation, too many wars (both declared and undeclared), an explosion of publicly held debt, prohibition of untold amounts of foods, drinks, and substances, irresponsible monetary inflation, and a massive growth of government power, intrusion, and expense. None of this is to discredit the character of the citizens or reprehend them, but merely to highlight the fact that your state legislators spend most of their time monitoring federal actions (it’s their profession, after all), whereas the average citizen is working 40+ hours a week in a non-political careerfield, raising their kids, living their own lives, and getting their news (if they choose to do so) from a lackluster local news source, a biased cable news source, or a few headlines on a website or newspaper. That’s a freedom you have, and was absolutely expected when the Founding Fathers insisted the states are represented, as well.

It’s for these very reasons that I insist we repeal the 17th Amendment and return to each state, the right to have a voice in Washington D.C. Judging simply from the states working to repeal or nullify Obamacare, indefinite detention laws, firearm regulations, medicinal and recreational marijuana laws, etc, I’d argue that many of hot issues we hear or see everyday would be better resolved or debated at local levels (assuming the state considers it an issue at all), rather than at the federal level, where they attempt to legislate and regulate over 300 million people in one fell swoop. Had the individual states had a stronger presence in Washington D.C., when something such as the misnamed Affordable Care Act was passed in both Houses, it likely would have been defeated, and those states that do in fact support health care mandate legislation might have have enacted it as an individual state (much as Massachusetts did), rather than forcing this “one size fits all” mire on us that we’re burdened with, now.

Repealing the 17th Amendment is hardly something you’ll see, hear, or read about from the usual mainstream media outlet, but it’s a conversation we need to have, none-the-less, and a topic I’ll absolutely carry with me to Washington. My intent isn’t to make your decisions for you, but rather return the right to make your own decisions back to you. By eliminating the state’s role in the federal legislative process, your voice is now lost in a sea of over 300 million other voices shouting at a few people Washington D.C. History is proving that it doesn’t work, and we need to return to a system where your state can both represent you, and provide an additional check on a power hungry federal government.

 

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Repealing the 16th Amendment

Everyday, whether it’s at work, at home, or on the news, we all hear that our taxes are “too high,” that “nothing is certain but death and taxes,” or that certain groups “need to pay their fair share.” Why, in everyday conversation, can’t we discuss the method in which taxes are levied, and what we have to do to change this process, instead? Why must we limit conversation to “how much we’re taxed,” when we could be talking about “why we are taxed” and “how we are taxed?”

Since 1913, the federal government has possessed the “legal” ability to extract money from the income that every working American earns through skill, sweat, talent, and sacrifice. The amount is decided by law, and your representation that you vote for and fund (with that income they extract from your paycheck) is complicit in this theft.

Article 1, Section’s 2, 8, and 9 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly prohibits direct taxation by the federal government. During the Civil War, this restraint was disregarded by the federal government when it was used to fund the war, but otherwise the restriction on direct, federal taxation was recognized and upheld by our judicial system. In 1894, the federal government instituted an income tax which was soon struck down by the Supreme Court as being “unconstitutional.” Nearly two decades later though, as a progressive wave swept through all levels of government within the U.S., Republicans and Democrats alike (no surprise there) adopted the 16th Amendment, which permits the federal government to directly tax the income of the individual.

It is with this very Amendment that our federal government annually siphons trillions of dollars off the income of working individuals (from every class), created a tax code that totals 74,000 pages, and justified the existence of the our fraudulent, corrupt Internal Revenue Service. The loopholes are endless, the code is so complicated that even our own Treasury Secretary can’t get it right, billions of dollars are spent funding the IRS, billions more are spent paying someone to help you figure it out, thousands of people are penalized or prosecuted annually for trying to find a way to keep the money they earned, and the government still wants more from you.

The 16th Amendment, though adopted via legal procedure, is immoral, and is the antithesis to the philosophy that each individual has a right to his or her own property. The paycheck you earn from your employer or the income you receive from performing a service or providing a product is the result of an agreement or contract between two consenting parties, and if it were anyone but the federal government stepping into the process to extract whatever percentage they deemed necessary, it would be a crime. A government that is responsible to no one but the public, takes your money, and throws you in prison if you boycott the process.

So what do we do? What is the alternative?

We absolutely must repeal the 16th Amendment and abolish the IRS. Taxation is a necessary evil to fund the government’s few legitimate roles, but to do so by coercion and in an involuntary fashion should remain illegal, as it was originally prohibited by the Constitution. The alternative would have to come in the form of a sales tax (and not a VAT), which, while still not optimal, allows you the ability to deposit your entire paycheck, and funding the government is based solely on voluntary purchases you make with the money in your possession. There’s no IRS, the tax code is about as small as this blog, and there’s no representative government stealing your money by threat or force.

I recently viewed a meme that made the valid point (as many do) that if you had to sit down every week and write a check to the IRS for amount they “conveniently” withhold from your paycheck and mail it in yourself, you would be a lot more concerned with how your money is being wasted in Washington. Shortly after reading that, I read a recent article in the Washington Examiner stating that 90% of incumbents facing re-election this year will retain their seats (and many will do so without even campaigning). It’s not shocking, because it happens every election year.

It’s an ugly fact that I know I have working against me, but it doesn’t have to be this way. A person cannot be “irate” about IRS scandals, “upset” about tax increases or the money withheld from their paycheck, or “incensed” about the money they owe the IRS or their tax professional every April, and continue to vote for the same politicians that never author, co-sponsor, or vote for legislation to repeal the income tax or abolish the IRS, and continue to push for or vote for income tax increases on any class of Americans. You can do something about it.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

In this installment of “Why Aren’t We Talking About This?”, we’ll look at the “Authorization for use of Military Force” resolutions passed in 2001 and 2002.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Shortly after the heart wrenching terrorist attacks America suffered on September 11, 2001, our federal legislature passed a resolution permitting the president to engage those responsible for the 9/11 attacks with military force. Honorable enough, and the 9/11 attacks certainly justified a violent response. Whether or not “war” should have been declared is worthy of debate, as it may have been possible to take a “law enforcement” approach to hunting, capturing, or killing Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda operatives directly responsible for planning and staging the attacks, but history proves that our approach was that of an invading force, waging a war against the Taliban government that harbored the Al Qaeda organization hiding in Afghanistan. In either scenario, 9/11 was not an event we should have taken lying down, and had I been a member of Congress at that time, I would have supported specified measures to act.

By “specified,” I mean that any declaration or authorization to commit U.S. troops to combat must specify how, when, where, and how long these forces are utilized. What we received, instead, was the “Authorization to use Military Force” in 2001. It sounds innocuous enough, right? The issue with the resolution, though, is found in the first sentence of Section 2, which reads:

 

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

 

Note that nowhere in this 60 word sentence (nor anywhere else in this short bill) was a time restriction given for use of force, nor a sunset date for the bill, nor a geographic restriction on where this action may take place. It is a very open-ended piece of legislation, essentially leaving the president very little restriction on where he may commit our troops to action. I italicized he in that sentence, because the resolution explicitly states “he determines…,” so the facetious side of me wonders if the resolution dies (or takes a four year sabbatical) when a woman presides over the Executive Branch.

Anyways…

The very fact that the bill places so little restriction on how, when, and where the president can commit U.S. troops and assets to wage this “War on Terror” has been noted by, and exercised by both our former Republican president, George W. Bush, and our current Nobel Peace Prize winner, Democrat Barack Obama. Despite popular rhetoric about one being a warmonger and the other being the “peace candidate,” the fact of the matter is that both are responsible for the thousands of U.S. troops killed, tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed, the destruction of private and public property, the infringement of the sovereignty of other nations, the indefinite detention and torture of both the peccant and the innocent, the profiteering, and the trillions of dollars spent on the “cause” under the guise of this resolution. The bill, as scrupulous as it may have seemed at the time, is nothing more than carte blanche for war at one person’s discretion.

President Obama (and the legislature that seems largely complicit in the matter) has only mentioned repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMF (which authorized the Iraq War and has no sunset provision) at opportune moments, while continuing to cite both resolutions to permit a global drone war, indefinite detention, enhanced interrogation, invading or bombing countries like Libya and Syria, funding, training, and supporting terrorist organizations and governments that we either were fighting or will be fighting, and more. The 2002 AUMF, in fact, is what would permit President Obama to wage an aerial campaign or commit “boots on the ground” in Iraq if he determines the situation warrants it. While a Republican Senator has in fact presented a bill to repeal the 2002 AUMF, the Democrats comprising the majority have not acted on it, and here we are.

Your representatives must be held accountable on this issue, and every effort must be made to repeal these obsolete authorizations to wage war at a single person’s discretion. In order to prevent further violence and bloodshed, global American resentment, and public debt, these authorizations must be repealed at all costs, and any commitment of U.S. troops and assets to battle must first require a formal declaration through our legislature, and never be permitted to pass without a timeline or sunset provision.

Both parties can continue to point fingers and blame “the other team’s president,” but the fact of the matter is, a two party majority spanning over a decade, and two presidents, have been completely complicit in our global warfare campaign, and it must stop. While I pledge to author or sponsor legislation that repeals obsolete blank checks for war as a U.S. Representative and will fight to ensure that all appropriate avenues are taken before our young men and women are sent around the world to engage in violent warfare, I would be but one of nearly 500 other representatives with weight on the matter (the majority of which seem either derelict in their duties as keepers of our Republic, or complicit in the act, and continue to retain their seats with little difficulty). It is absolutely the duty of each and every American to ensure their representative represents them and upholds their oath. War, whether necessary or not, does not come without death and destruction, and requires every avenue of consideration. The helm of death and destruction does not reside in one person, regardless of what a malfeasant, dated resolution declares.

When Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying A republic, if you can keep it” outside of Independence Hall after the deliberations on the new Constitution in 1787 to a curious woman waiting in the crowd, he meant exactly that; it’s your government, and you’re responsible for keeping it.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

 

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

In this installment of “Why Aren’t We Talking About This?”, we’ll look at the proposition that we abolish the Department of Education.

 

It is beyond time we return to the idea of abolishing the federal Department of Education (ED). After decades of opposition, former President Jimmy Carter, with support from the NEA, signed into law a bill creating a federal Department of Education in 1979, making it an executive department. In the subsequent presidential election, then candidate Ronald Reagan pledged to abolish the new department, and the proposal soon became a plank in the Republican Party’s platform.

Then…it became unpopular to propose eliminating the newly created department. Instead, as results have suffered year after year, the power, bureaucracy, and expense of ED grew in the guise of combating our suffering education standards. Democrats and Republican’s both have proposed or enacted legislation that grows the scope and intrusion of ED into state, local, and household affairs. The states, for their part in it, have consistently stood idly by holding a hand out, and only balk when they’re forced to comply with the burdensome dictates handed down by the ED. There are always strings attached when the federal government redistributes your money.

Consider, too, that the Department of Education currently operates on an annual budget of $80 billion. The ED has no school, and teaches no student. It’s simply a department that receives $80 billion of tax payer money every year, and disperses that money through 150 programs proclaimed to improve education conditions in the U.S. That’s $80 billion that would be best allocated by the individual communities, counties, and states.That’s $80 billion that has done nothing to improve math, reading, and science scores when viewing data beginning in 1970. The department’s budget has increased by nearly $70 billion since 1980, with no increase in performance or standards.

Everyday we are reminded by politicians, bureaucrats, and talking heads that education is a vital piece of our economic recovery puzzle. But seldom will a single one of them mention or recommend abolishing the Department of Education that stands in our way. If we want to improve the education conditions in the U.S., it’s beyond time we return the decision-making process and money back to the parents and communities, and away from a select few that want to set standards for every house and community in the country. Abolishing the Department of Education not only allows us to reallocate billions of dollars back into local schools and communities (where they can best decide where and how to spend it), but fix our broken education system as well. Abolishing the Department of Education isn’t some caveman approach to pinching pennies, but rather a pro-education approach designed to empower the parents and return the U.S. to its former prominence.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

 

“Why Are You Doing This?”

Over the course of the last week, I have been repeatedly asked, “why are you doing this?” “What made you decide to do this?” And, “How long have you been thinking about doing this?” In my mind, the answer to this is really an easy one. I can’t watch local or national news, read a paper, read an online article or editorial, talk to friends and family, or even read a proposed bill or the roll call to a bill without getting the urge to want to do something about the event that’s unfolding. The specific, individual reasons are really too numerous to list, but I have three reasons right off the top of my head that give this campaign its purpose:

 

1) It goes without saying that I live within the district I want to represent. I’ve spent more than enough time following my opponent’s voting record, press releases, and social media posts to know that there’s a better way of doing things, and a better person for the job. He represents me, and he represents you, and he’s doing an inadequate job at it.

2) Politics has always been an interest of mine. In middle school I was constantly reading books about Nixon and Kennedy. By high school I was flooding my schedule with history, government, and civics classes (in-between vocational classes, of course), while every other class played second fiddle (and my grades reflected that). Spending the summers with my grandparents played no small part in my influence, either.

In college, I’ve spent every semester seeking out economics, philosophy, and political science courses, and spend the majority of my “free time” using Audible or my Kindle to burn through book after book on economics, modern military history, politics, homeschooling, and philosophy. I’m sure that sounds boring to many, but I equate this to reading, eating, sleeping, and breathing a topic such as hunting; eventually, you’re going to put the book down and go hunting.

3) My experience in the military is without a doubt a major contributing factor towards my decision to serve you. I spent the better part of the previous decade getting a firsthand look at not only the atrocity that is our foreign policy by frequenting nearly 40 countries, meeting with dignitaries, military personnel, and average citizens around the world, and serving multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also dealing with the inefficient, wasteful, bureaucratic mess that is our Defense Department. It’s irritating to listen to both sides of the aisle pretend to debate foreign policy and defense spending, to say the least.

 

All of these factors and more have made a tremendous impact on my choice to serve you. I can’t sit here and point fingers or pitch a fit about the ruckus that is our federal government, and never do a thing about it. Yes, I’ve voted, but when your “choices” are regularly limited to a couple of candidates that, fundamentally, aren’t all that different, what impact was it that I was having? One day, I’d like to be able to look my kids in the eyes and tell them that I did all I could do to help them. One day, I hope they look back at this and consider it an example for them to follow. And one day, I hope they are not burdened with the same false choices every election cycle that we are encumbered with.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)