Eliminate the income tax?: Our invasive and tyrannical tax system
In 1913 the American people supposedly agreed to encumber themselves with a progressive personal income tax. I use the word “supposedly” because recent research conclusively proves that the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution was never properly ratified.1 Therefore, Americans have been taxed illegally since 1914 through a progressive personal income tax that was “sold” to them under the guise of “soak the rich” socialist philosophy. Ordinary working people in the early 1900’s “bought into” the idea of a progressive income tax because they were told that large corporations and rich people would pay the new tax and that low-income workers would be excluded from the tax roles. They were excluded at first, but over the years the tax burden increasingly fell upon the hard-working middle class. And this has caused the current problem of widespread taxpayer resistance.
Today 25% of taxpayers, according to IRS estimates, have become non-filers who refuse to submit and sign1040 income tax reports. Interestingly, the IRS now audits more taxpayers who file and sign their 1040 income “confessions” than citizens who evade the income tax. My point in bringing this information is not to encourage individuals to join the growing tax rebellion, but rather to inform you about a grass roots movement that is rapidly growing and is destined to have a great impact on our lives. It is because of this growing tax resistance that politicians and bureaucrats at the federal level are searching for a new taxing scheme which they hope citizens will readily accept. Two tax proposals are: a national sales tax (value-added tax) or a flat-rate income tax of approximately 17%.
Now is an appropriate time for all citizens, especially Christians, to do their homework in order to be enlightened biblically in understanding God’s plan for supporting the role of civil government in society, as well as to understand the limits of taxing power imposed by the United States Constitution. Sadly, too few citizens, and especially too few Christians, have concerned themselves with this all-important issue. As a result, they have been too willing to “render unto Caesar” whatever Caesar claims to be his rather than only what is really Caesar’s! What we must do is search both Scripture and the Constitution so each person can properly evaluate the legitimate taxing power of civil authorities. This issue is much too important to “leave to the experts” because the “experts” have a natural bias which favors unlimited taxation.
Previously I have written about 1913, the “black, black year of the Republic,” and how it practically guaranteed the growth of a strong centralized and potentially tyrannical government in Washington, D.C., (the 16thAmendment gave us the personal income tax; the 17th Amendment gave us the direct election of Senators; and te Federal Reserve Act gave us unlimited fiat-money creation). It is high time for Americans to do some serious thinking and intelligent planning if we hope to bequeath more freedom and economic prosperity to our children than our parents bequeathed to us.
How Does Tyranny Come About?
Tyranny occurs in two ways: 1) When civil rulers come to power illegally, or 2) When civil rulers arrogate powers to themselves that go beyond the limited powers granted by the Constitution. In either case a fearful or complacent citizenry allows such tyranny to come about.
Both methods of imposing tyranny have been used throughout history. But the greatest undermining of liberty and stealing of citizens’ wealth has been achieved by twisting and stretching the meaning of the Constitution beyond its clear meaning and original intent. The Franklin D. Roosevelt administration was adept at this deceptive practice, so were the early Federalists under George Washington, but recent presidential administrations, and the present George W. Bush administration have far exceeded the degree of tyranny by even FDR’s Fascist/Marxist administration.
The Federalists, over the opposition of the Anti-Federalists, stretched the clear meaning of the Constitution when they chartered the First and Second Banks of the United States, imposed protective tariffs, and embarked on programs of “internal improvements.” Modern politicians have followed the second method of imposing tyranny by instituting various “wealth transfer” programs like social security, welfare payments for the poor, subsidies to business firms, foreign aid to other countries, tax-supported education, grants to college students, etc., and the erection of various business-control agencies (FDA, ICC, FTC, EPA, FRB, FDIC, etc.) which always end up enhancing the income of special-interest groups at taxpayers’ expense.
A recent and more subtle method of imposing tyranny on the people is by involving our country in foreign wars and military invasions without a formal declaration of war by the Congress, as required by the Constitution ( Korean War, Vietnam War, War on Kosovo, First War on Iraq, our military invasion of Somalia, War on Afghanistan, Second War on Iraq, continued occupation by U.S. troops to impose a Western type of “democracy” on the Iraqi people, and now our recent threats against Iran regarding that country’s efforts to build nuclear plants to generate electric power.
The dialectical process followed by our political leaders has been, first to incite unrest in a country or area of their interest, and then to send troops to “solve” the chaotic problem our own political leaders have created. Most Americans have difficulty in discerning this devious dialectical process because they have been mentally and emotionally conditioned by government propaganda, the managed news media, and miseducation. Therefore, they are unable to recognize the clear signs of tyranny when tyranny stares them in the face!
Truly, we have a real need to regain control of our federal government by drastically reducing the flow of tax funds to Washington, D.C.! This can best be done by eliminating the federal government’s ability to impose a direct income tax on citizens and to create unlimited amounts of fiat money through the Federal Reserve Bank.
Questions to Ponder
Some questions to ponder come to mind:
1. What kind of tax would be biblical, constitutional, economic, and politically acceptable? What would not?
2. What level of taxation would be biblical, constitutional, and politically acceptable? At what level does taxation become excessive?
3. Is the income tax unconstitutional? Was the 16th Amendment properly ratified? If not, what is the clear duty of citizens, and especially the duty of Christians?
4. Should the goal of any new tax be aimed at preserving the current level of income for the federal government? Or is the amount of taxes paid to the federal government the key problem in our loss of individual freedom and self-responsibility in America?
5. Should we return to the freedom-generating system of taxation originally designed by our founding fathers under the Articles of Confederation?
6. Before attempting to answer any of the above questions, is there not a need to answer this question from a biblical and constitutional perspective: What is the proper role of civil government in society?
Tax Proposals Now on the Table
Either a national sales tax or a flat personal income tax can be designed to maintain the present level of income flowing to the federal government. But, let me pose a question: Is either of these proposals a real solution to the problem of entrusting too much power at the federal level? The basic problem with either of these proposed taxes is that they are pay-as-you-go taxes, thus citizens don’t feel as much pain by paying taxes bit-by-bit as when they pay a once-per-year lump-sum tax. The beauty of a lump-sum head tax is that people would quickly rebel if it were raised above a minimal amount! And this is good! The underlying question to be answered is this: Who owns the income generated by the citizens? Does it belong to the people, or does it belong to the ruling authorities? The answer is obvious, but God gives people the kind of government their sinful hearts cry out for. If they put their trust in rulers instead of God’s word, tyrants will appear on the scene and enslave them. When the prophet Samuel enquired of God concerning the Old Testament Israelites’ request for “a king like other nations,” the Lord replied:
. . . Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
I Samuel 8:7
Nowhere does the Bible, which is full of warnings that we not to place our trust in civil rulers,2 give the slightest indication that the civil authority has any right to impose whatever level of taxation the rulers wish. Nor does the United States Constitution, if it is read according to its original intent.
Furthermore, neither a national sales tax nor a flat tax would do away with the dreaded IRS and its constant threat of imposing audits on citizens, thus undermining their constitutional protection of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. Under the present IRS regime, citizens are forced to “undress” financially every year to divulge the most personal financial transactions in the smallest detail under the constant threat of perjury and to defend themselves against every imaginable accusation made by covetous taxing agents. And, to make matters worse, the burden of proving their innocence rests on citizens rather than the proof of guilt resting on the IRS. This contrary-to-law situation naturally creates fear, resentment, and hate in the hearts of law-abiding citizens, first, because anyone can make an honest mistake, and, second, because they realize that they must repeatedly expose themselves every year at tax time to government tax agents who are growing ever more tyrannical and voraciously hungry to consume citizens’ hard-earned income and accumulated wealth.
Such an invasive and tyrannical tax system has led to unconstitutional legislation that illegally empowers federal agents to secretly inspect bank accounts without citizens’ knowledge and to seize their funds without even having to first convict them of wrong-doing. In addition, recent unconstitutional legislation under the mis-named “Patriot Act” (shades of Orwellian language!) requires citizens to reveal to federal authorities what is in their bank safety-deposit boxes. And the same legislation, under the false guise of “terrorist protection,” requires gold and silver dealers to inform the federal government about citizens’ ownership of gold and silver. Question: Why do civil rulers want to know what is in our bank safety deposit boxes? And why are civil rulers so fearful for citizens to own gold and silver?3
Answers to Above Questions
1. The first questions to answer are the last two posed: Civil rulers who have become tyrannical want to know what is in citizens’ safe deposit boxes, and are fearful when citizens own gold and silver, for the same reason. (Remember FDR’s “executive order” that confiscated American citizens’ gold in 1933! And do you remember the real silver coins that used to jingle in your pockets?) 4 Tyrants actually fear citizens who are wealthy and economically independent! They would rather have citizens to be impoverished and be dependent on the handouts and largess distributed by political rulers because such a populace can be more easily controlled and manipulated! Only a free people have a currency composed of gold and silver!
2. Theologian R. J. Rushdoony explains that there are only two biblically mandated taxes: First, a yearly head-tax (Ex. 30:11-15),which was a small lump-sum tax paid in a central place to maintain the central civil authority in its limited military and court functions. Second, a tithe that was “holy unto the Lord” and which was not paid in a central place (Lev. 27:32) because it went to priests and Levites who were scattered throughout the nation to meet the ecclesiastical and social functions of society.
The important distinction to see is this: The civil authority has control of the very small head- tax, but the individual controls the use of the tithe which is used for “education, welfare, the church, and all other godly social functions,” and that “A society so ordered will of necessity have a small bureaucracy and a strong people.” “The head tax is thus the support of the civil order, and the tithe is the support of the social order.”5
This point causes us to conclude that we should evaluate, by the light of Scripture, both our present taxing practices and the U.S. Constitution that we are legally supposed to be operating under. Then we should make both our practice and the Constitution to conform to Scriptural precepts because God’s higher law supercedes both any man-made constitution or practice.
3. No tax above a tithe (ten percent of income) is therefore either biblical or constitutional.
4. If you refer to The Law That Never Was, you will discover that America’s present income tax was never properly ratified. The courts, when confronted with this fact say, “It’s a political matter,” while politicians reply, “It’s a matter for the courts to handle.” What, then, is our duty? I suggest that the answer can be found in my book, Reclaiming the American Dream by Reconstructing the American Republic,6 which explains the biblical and historical principle of governmental interposition through which God, in his mercy to restore freedom to his people, periodically raises up intermediate civil magistrates who then interpose themselves between tyrannical rulers and the oppressed people. We can observe this biblical principle in action right now by the increasing number of cities, towns, counties, and other civil jurisdictions that are going on record as opposing the so-called “Patriot Acts” for being contrary to the law of our country (i.e., tyrannical). Recently (March, 2005) both houses of the State of Utah voted overwhelmingly to oppose the tyrannical Patriot Acts, and many towns and villages in the State of Vermont did the same. This is governmental interposition being enacted right before our eyes. Civic leaders in every state should emulate these actions to restore personal freedom in our Republic!
5. The degree of tyranny that now exists in our American Republic (Note: We are not a “democracy!”) is the result of unlimited taxation (16th Amendment) coupled with the open-ended power of our political rulers to create fiat credit money through a central bank (the Federal Reserve Bank).7 The first is overt taxation, while the second provides the federal government in Washington, D.C., an insidious form of hidden taxation which is difficult for people to understand. Both forms of imposing a tax on citizens need to be eliminated. Also, if freedom is to be regained in our country, the total level of tax income flowing to our central government, must be very drastically reduced so that the flow of and control of citizens’ purchasing power will once again rest in the hands of the very citizens who have produced the income and wealth.
6. The Christian gentlemen who founded our nation under the Articles of Confederation provided a very sound and workable means of supporting the necessary functions of our central government through a system called “requisitions” that were paid by the states (which established the Constitution. Patrick Henry is recorded as saying, “I love those requisitions!” because he understood the danger to liberty derived from the direct taxation of citizens.
The system of “requisitions” effectively insulated citizens as individuals from the grasp of covetous civil rulers at the national level. Contrary to what is taught in history and political science textbooks today, the system of taxation through requisitions that existed under the Articles of Confederation worked perfectly to protect the individual liberty of the people by inhibiting the growth of an over-powerful central government. So, yes, to restore the freedom and economic independence of citizens as individuals in America, we sorely need to return to the once-rejected (but better) system of requisitions paid by the states. This would be much healthier economically and politically than retaining the invasive personal income tax or by adopting one of the flawed new tax proposals which are designed. to maintain the present outrageous level of revenue that now supports an obese central government that has, in many respects, become tyrannical by invading every aspect of people’s lives.
An old French proverb comes to mind, “Government is a watchdog to be fed, not a cow to be milked,” for indeed, with the help of the personal income tax, our federal government has gradually grown to become a vicious vehicle for transferring massive amounts of income and wealth from some citizens to other citizens – a formalized system of “legalized theft.” The growing resistance of patriotic Americans at the grass-roots level against paying such an oppressive tax is their natural response to an obviously immoral system of taxation.
God’s word says:
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”