The income tax was conceived in a cauldron of boiling class-warfare bile, promising the poor and middle class that the “rich” would finally pay their “fair share.” A progressive income tax being a central plank of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, it was created as a tool not primarily for revenue collection, but for socialist wealth redistribution (“spreading the wealth around” because “sometimes you’ve made enough money,” as Obama might say).
Yet in the drive to give government power to force their neighbors to give up their “fair share,” Americans unwittingly gave up many of their own rights, and opened the door for the great federal leviathan to enter our homes and terrorize us.
Under Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads “No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken,“ the Founding Fathers directly forbade a direct tax, of which the income tax is a form. But in that raging spirit of class warfare, with promises that the tax would not be levied on the “average Joe” but only those “rich fat cats,” Americans ratified the 16th Amendment and ushered in the Marxist income tax.
In the process, they gave up a number of constitutional rights, for themselves and future generations. As renowned economist Walter Williams points out, the Fifth Amendment protects us from self-incrimination, yet by signing the tax return we are required to testify to the accuracy of all information divulged on that form.
Likewise, the income tax violates the Fourth Amendment right for “the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures [which] shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”. If the IRS suspects for any reason that you are in violation of any provision of any one of the 75,000 pages or so of the Internal Revenue Code, it can haul you in and make you open up all of your papers, financial records, correspondence, and anything else it desires, making you prove you are innocent of tax fraud, as opposed to making government prove you are guilty (which violates the implicit idea of presumption of innocence found in the Sixth Amendment).
With the recent revelation that the IRS has been used to harass and intimidate the political opponents of Obama and the Democrat Party, requiring extensive private information in order to obtain a tax-exempt status, it is clear the IRS has also violated the central tenets of the First Amendment as well. The First Amendment secures the right of the people to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a free press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The Obama IRS has gone after those that have expressed views contrary to the administration on religious issues (pro-Israel Jewish groups, and those with religious objections to provisions of ObamaCare), on free speech and press issues (conservative media and bloggers), and those that have attempted to peaceably assemble (groups educating on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights), and those exercising their right to petition government for a redress of grievances (the TEA Party).
In 1913, when the income tax was passed, the lowest tax rate was 1 percent on income of up to $20,000 (about $465,000 in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars) with an exemption of $3,000 for single filers (about $69,750 in 2013 dollars) and $4,000 for married filers ($93,000 in 2013 dollars), and the highest was 7 percent on those with incomes of over $500,000 ($11.6 million in 2013 dollars). Americans were promised that the income tax would bite only the highest earners. Today, the lowest rate is 10 percent for those making up to $8,925 for single filers, and a top rate of 39.6 percent for those that earn $450,000 or more, an enormous increase.
As a result, the average American either has to spend dozens of hours navigating the maze that is the income tax return forms, or more likely hire a professional to do this for them, fearing that any inadvertent mistake, no matter how small or innocent, will bring upon them the wrath and bureaucratic callousness of the Internal Revenue Service and its army of agents and accountants. And considering the endless number of stories of lives destroyed by the heavy-handed IRS, people are right to fear.
Few, if any, have so accurately and succinctly captured the essence of the anti-freedom, anti-constitutional nature of the income tax better than T. Coleman Andrews, a good man who once was commissioner of the IRS. Here is what he had to say about the evil that is the income tax:
“Congress went beyond merely enacting an income tax law and repealed Article IV of the Bill of Rights, by empowering the tax collector to do the very things from which that article says we were to be secure. It opened up our homes, our papers and our effects to the prying eyes of government agents and set the stage for searches of our books and vaults and for inquiries into our private affairs whenever the tax men might decide, even though there might not be any justification beyond mere cynical suspicion.”
“The income tax is bad because it has robbed you and me of the guarantee of privacy and the respect for our property that were given to us in Article IV of the Bill of Rights. This invasion is absolute and complete as far as the amount of tax that can be assessed is concerned. Please remember that under the 16th Amendment, Congress can take 100 percent of our income anytime it wants to. As a matter of fact, right now it is imposing a tax as high as 91 percent. This is downright confiscation and cannot be defended on any other grounds.”
“The income tax ... is an instrument of vengeance ... It employs the vicious communist principle of taking from each according to his accumulation of the fruits of his labor and giving to others according to their needs, regardless of whether those needs are the result of indolence or lack of pride, self-respect, personal dignity or other attributes of men ... People cannot pull themselves up by the bootstraps anymore because the tax collector gets the boots and the straps as well.”
“The income tax is bad because it is oppressive to all and discriminates particularly against those people who prove themselves most adept at keeping the wheels of business turning and creating maximum employment and a high standard of living for their fellow men.”
“I believe that a better way to raise revenue not only can be found but must be found because I am convinced that the present system is leading us right back to the very tyranny from which those, who established this land of freedom, risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to forever free themselves.”
That was more than 50 years ago, and the size, scope and severity of the abuses laid upon the American people have only grown more brazen in the decades that followed. Will the American people finally throw off the yoke of tyranny and repeal the income tax, and in so doing restore our rights as the Founder’s envisioned? Or will Americans, numbed by one major scandal after another, simply allow this to pass largely unnoticed over the next few months? We’ll know soon enough.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is chairman of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.