Article 1 section 2 clause 3 establishes that all taxation must be collected by direct apportionment to the States through a census of the population.
“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers… The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”
This section of the Constitution secured to the people the ultimate power and protection against an unlimited central government by putting the States in control of the federal purse through the consent of the people. Government is easier controlled at the local level. James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, reminded the Constitutional delegates in 1788, the power of the purse is historically the “most effectual” and complete power of the people to control government. Therefore, keeping that essential power at the State level gave the people greater control to prevent misappropriation of funds on the federal level.
“This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure… finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government.” Fed #58
Thanks to a bipartisan move, endorsed and encouraged by two Republican Presidents and Republican Congressmen, this essential check and balance was stripped from the people, creating an uncontrollable central government limited only by its own whims and desires.
The history of our independence from Great Britain proves this essential truth; taxation was to be left to the control of the people. Our founders saw the power to tax as a direct and unlimited power to oppress.
“But if our Trade may be taxed why not our Lands? Why not the Produce of our Lands and every thing we possess or make use of? This we apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern and tax ourselves…are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary slaves?” Samuel Adams May 15, 1764
Adams knew an axiomatic truth: if the central government could assume the power to lay taxes on whatever they choose, they would soon over take the common Rights of the people, thus creating an unlimited government, and subjecting the people to complete despotism. The designers of our Constitutional Republic wanted to ensure that this history would not repeat in the new, independent America. They knew that if the central government could take money directly from our pockets, not only would we have no immediate recourse but it would be theft. Therefore it is ridiculous to even assert that our founders would have endorsed or even tolerated our current form of income tax.
“I think the Parliament of Great Britain hath no more Right to put their hands into my Pocket, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into your’s, for money…” George Washington
It is only through this direct theft that our current government has been able to grow exponentially. If the people were still in control of taxation through the protective mechanism of apportionment to the States there would be no funding for the multitude of federal offices that plague the Liberties of the People. The States would naturally refuse to supply the federal government with the money demanded for services that are not authorized by the Constitution. This was to serve as the ultimate check and balance on federal power.
“when all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another…If the States look with apathy on this silent descent of their government into the gulf which is to swallow all, we have only to weep over the human character formed uncontrollable but by a rod of iron…” Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson also knew the power to control the purse of government was an essential Right of the people and continually asserted that a refusal to pay taxes was not treason or sedition but a mechanism of petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.
“That this privilege of giving or of withholding our monies, is an important barrier against the undue exertion of prerogative, which if left altogether without control, may be exercised to our great oppression; and all history shews how efficacious is its intercession from redress of grievances, and re-establishment of rights, and how improvident it would be to part with so powerful a mediator.” Thomas Jefferson to Lord North 1775
Since we have failed to teach the facts that led to our independence from Great Britain, the American people have been brainwashed into believing that income tax is actually “fair” when the complete opposite is true. It is because of the established income tax and the inability of the people to remove their consent to spending that we have the overgrowth in government that we have. James Madison has explained that this power in the hands of the people is to ultimately and “finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government.” Fed #58
Our designers of our Constitutional Republic were no strangers to government overgrowth, the Declaration of Independence lists government overgrowth as a symptom of “complete despotism.”
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
It is absurd to assert that these people would seek to remedy a problem that required the most drastic measure of separation from their government by creating the opportunity for their newly designed government to exercise a power they deemed despotic!
Read Direct Taxation Part 1 Here
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