As you know, George Washington is considered to be the father of our country.
He presided over the constitutional convention in Philadelphia and was our first president.
Without his leadership ,and the universal respect he held, many believe there would never have been a United States of America.
While he was instrumental in creating our government, he was deeply concerned about the power that government possessed and the tendency for it to be abused.
He said “ Government is a necessary Evil” and then again :”Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
If the father of our country was concerned about the evil of government power , perhaps we should be too.
And the power to tax is the most raw form of government power that exists.
Our war of independence was fought ,In large part, over abuses of taxation.
It can punish enemies and reward friends, it can intimidate you and manipulate your behavior, it can ultimately take your property and destroy you when it is in the wrong hands.
Yet while evil , as washington said, government and taxation is also necessary.
How else will we pay for legitimate functions of our government ?
So the question before us becomes what form of taxation is the least evil ?
What form best keeps power out of the hands of government and with the individual?
Well, lets start with what the founders had to say about it.
Article 1 section 8 of the constitution states the congress has the power to tax, but that tax must be uniform throughout the united states. In other words, equal so that some could not be taxed more heavily than others. This equality under the law is a central tenant of our form of government.
Section 8 later states that no capitation or other direct tax on an individual shall be laid.
So the founders knew the ability to tax an individual or to tax unequally was an evil that would lead to the abuse of government power.
It required changing the constitution before an income tax on individuals could be instituted. The 16th amendment , passed in 1913, not only allowed taxing income from any source,
but stated that it did not have to be proportional or equal among the states.
By the way, at the time, the people where promised the income tax would be temporary, never more than 7%, and only on the most wealthy.
While the top income tax rate started at 7% in 1913, it had risen to 67% by 1917 – just 4 years later. It has gone as high as 94% (under Roosevelt) and as low as 25 % (under Coolidge) – but it has never gone away. The moral – don't give government power and expect they won't use it to the fullest.
So what evil has the mutation of this new government power wrought in the last 100 years?
First, we have created a system that taxes unequally - depending on personal income, and the political whim of the day.
The power to tax an individual is virtually unlimited and depends only on how much politicians want to take. If the government is taking 80 or 90 percent of your income, are you not in reality, an indentured servant or slave?
The motive for such inequity and theft is jealousy and revenge. The commissioner of the I.R.S in 1953 stated that the income tax system was “conceived in class hatred”. And he was exactly right.
We say, It's not fair that he has more than I do so we are going to take it from him by force. Those who want to punish producers do not see that their own liberty is lost in the bargain.
Envy ------ one of the oldest and most destructive of human emotions, and the income tax enshrines it. Is it any wonder that a progressive income tax was a major goal of the Communist party – the worlds biggest peddlers of a class hatred that empowers themselves.
The system fails also because it gives exceptions to those the government favors. It is ,by definition, unequal treatment under the law.
While get the rich may be the battle call, only some of the rich pay a high tax.
Those with good attorneys and lobbyists, the right political connections and an industry the administration in power favors, pay very little.
In 2011, G.E. Filed a 57 thousand page tax return and had profits of 14 billion. According to the New York Time, they paid no federal corporate income tax at all. U.P.S. ,by contrast, had an effective corporate tax rate of 34% that same year.
The complexity of the tax code its self makes enforcement unequal - a matter of whim, chance and some times even revenge on political enemies.
No single person could possibly know all of the tax law. It is documented that the I.R.S. Its self gives different answers to the same tax question depending on who picks up the phone.
If no one knows exactly what the law is and it can be enforced selectively - Is this not the very definition of corruption?
Beware of what often passes as tax reform.
To simplify the tax code is not a bad thing it just misses the point. A flat tax for example is just what the income tax started out as before the thousands of exceptions got written.
But getting rid of the income tax altogether returns power to the people and to the states;
Just as its institution took power from the individual and gave it to the Federal Government.
The Fair Tax replacing the income tax is a structural change that will deconstruct
illegitimate and capricious federal power. Power that has grown over the last 100 years.
The income tax targets the individual and his property with a power that is limited only by the greed of politicians.
The fair tax, taxes commerce in the form if new goods and services. When, how and if that commerce takes place is controlled by each person.
The income tax gives bureaucrats the power and reason to to inspect every aspect of a persons life that has a monetary value attached to it.
The fair allows how we make income and what property we own to remain private.
The income tax is full of exceptions and deductions the government favors.
The system can be , and is, used to manipulate us into certain behaviors and punish others.
The I.R.S. , for example, will use our tax returns to collect information on who is compliant with Obama Care in 2014 and then take the penalties from our tax returns if we do not have the approved health insurance.
The Fair tax is well ------fair. When any individual buys new goods and services they pay a tax. The more he spends, the more he pays. There is no favoritism or special treatment.
The income tax is taken from the individual by the Federal government and is apportioned back to the states if they comply with Federal mandates for the funding.
The fair tax is collected at the point of service, in the states, then forwarded to Washington for federal functions only.
And we know , as in all of life, who ever controls the purse strings has the power.
As Mr. Washington said – government is a necessary evil.
It is our job not to empower that evil beyond what is absolutely necessary to a government of and by the people.