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)

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