The income tax: Still the root of all evil

Published 13 years ago -  - 13y ago 13


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Image courtesy of Chris Potter under CC BY 2.0.

Fifty years ago Frank Chodorov’s The Income Tax: Root of All Evil was published. On every page, the case against the income tax is made so convincingly that even the most ardent supporters of the progressive income tax cannot ignore Chodorov’s compelling words.

This remarkable little book is one of the best critiques of the income tax. Chodorov, who was editor of the conservative-libertarian weekly, Human Events, when it was more libertarian than conservative, made the case against the income tax by focusing on the “original meaning” of America, namely a nation where government was supposed to protect the people’s property rights.

Even the Foreword to Chodorov’s The Income Tax: Root of All Evil, written by Utah governor J. Bracken Lee, contains gems that would never be uttered by any state chief executive today, demonstrating how contemporary government officials from both major political parties have embraced big government. And since the publication of Chodorov’s classic most states have enacted an income tax to pay for redistributionist schemes.

For example, Lee writes:

The early American…was wary of government, especially one that was out of his reach…He recognized the need of some sort of government, to keep order, to protect him in the exercise of his rights…But, he wanted it understood that the powers of that government would be clearly defined and be limited; it could not go beyond specified limits. It was in recognition of this fear of centralized power that the Founding Fathers put into the Constitution-it never would have been ratified without them-very specific restraints on the federal government.

In other matters, the early American was willing to put his faith in home government, in a government of neighbors, in a government that one could keep one’s eyes on and, if necessary, lay one’s hands on. For that reason, the United States was founded as a Union of separate and autonomous commonwealths. The states could go in for any political experiments the folks might want to try out-even socialism, for that matter-but the federal government had no such leeway. After all, there were other states nearby, and if a citizen did not like the way one state government was managing its affairs, he could move across the border; that threat of competition would keep each state from going too far in making changes or in intervening in the lives of the citizens.

The Constitution, then, kept the federal government off balance and weak. And a weak government is the corollary of a strong people. (Emphasis added)

Governor Lee’s foreword is must reading for all American who care about the future of our country. His stirring words make the current crop of governors sound like third rate political hacks.

Chodorov’s words are no less inspiring.

In the American political tradition, which claims kinship with Judeo-Christian morality, all is “evil” that violates the doctrine of natural rights, as set down in the Declaration of Independence…The American tradition rests its case squarely on the premise that the human being is endowed with rights by his very existence; that is what makes him human. Hence, any political action which attempts to violate these rights violates his human-ness, and thus becomes “evil.”

The Constitution of the United States is a manmade instrument; it has no other sanction. Yet it has won acceptance with Americans as the yardstick of political “good,” because it was conceived as a practical instrument for the prevention of transgressions of our rights, either by the government or by citizens….

The Constitution, then, is held in high esteem only because of the high esteem Americans put upon the doctrine of natural rights. Any law, political practice, or even amendment that infringes those rights is automatically deemed “unconstitutional.” The infringement is “evil.” (Emphasis in original)

With this definition of “evil” in mind, it is the purpose of this book to show that many laws and governmental practices are impregnated with it, and to trace this wholesale infringement of our rights to the power acquired by the federal government in 1913 to tax our incomes-the Sixteenth Amendment. That is the “root.”…

In the case of the practices resulting from income taxation, it will be shown that most of them are demanded or supported by large segments of society; the government merely compounds the evil. A people who are intent on getting something-for-nothing from government cannot cavil over the infringement of their rights by that government; in fact, if the price demanded for the gratuities is the relinquishment of rights, they are not averse to paying it. There is evidence enough that this trade is often made, and that the government is able to enter into it because of its income-tax revenues.

Unfortunately, Chodorov’s insight fifty years ago have been validated by a succession of Republican and Democrat administrations. If people complain about high taxes, they do not have anyone to blame but themselves. The people have allowed the federal government to tax them for so-called public goods, which have expanded exponentially since the income tax was enacted in 1913.

From the New Deal to Truman’s Fair Deal to Eisenhower’s big government Republican administration to the Great Society to Nixon’s big government Republicanism to Jimmy Carter’s expansion of the welfare state to Reagan’s “saving” of Social Security to George Bush’s welfare-warfare state administration to Clinton’s tax hikes to G.W. Bush’s welfare-warfare state polices, all the “evil” of the past seven decades was made possible because the federal government had the power to tax incomes directly.

To be fair and balanced, the Washington political elite has sold a bill of goods to the American people for decades, namely, more government spending will improve the people’s lives. And inasmuch as enough Americans believe that their elected officials are working for their best interests, federal government spending has increased to $2.3 trillion—and rising.

The key to reversing the “mind-set” of the American people is for tens of millions of Americans to read Frank Chodorov’s classic. When the people demand the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, then April 15th will be just another day of the year instead of a symbol of the “evil” income tax.

If you want to rid America of the institution that is responsible for more destruction except for war, please forward Chodorov’s e-book to as many people as possible. We can overturn the counterrevolution of 1913. All the American people need is the right “ammunition”.

 

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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