The list of illegal, immoral and/or unconstitutional actions (and mistakes) of our Federal government that should be corrected continues.
3. Repeal the 16th Amendment – There is a movement afoot to have the States request the federal government call an Article V Constitutional Convention – ostentatiously to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). Conservatives who believe it is the only way to stop the growth in federal programs and spending that will eventually bankrupt our nation have allied with liberals who have a different agenda.
Once convened, a Constitutional Convention has unlimited authority to change the form of our federal government, including the ratification process for a new Constitution. Many liberal organizations are waiting in the wings with proposed amendments to take away the freedoms and liberties protected in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights (free speech, freedom of religion, right to peaceful assembly, right to bear arms, right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, right to a speedy and public trial, right to trial by a jury, protection against unreasonable bail and fines, etc.) Another objective is to remove the protection of the 10th Amendment which limits the federal government to those activities listed in Article I, Section 8 and Clauses 1 through 18 of our current Constitution.
Our Founding Fathers recognized the federal government would try to grow and expand (it is a natural human trait.) But that would require additional revenue. They therefore limited the federal government to levying only indirect taxes – duties, impost and excises. Those sources have natural limits. If raised above their natural limit, consumers would seek alternative goods not taxed. Total federal income would then decrease.
The Constitution of our Founders stipulated federal deficits had to be apportioned among the States in accordance with the last census. Any Senator who voted for deficits and forced his State legislators to raise taxes would face recall or fail to be re-appointed. Representatives, (elected every two years) would similarly be dissuaded from authorizing deficits.
We made a great mistake in 1913 by ratifying the 16th Amendment and giving the federal government direct taxing (without limits) authority. Let’s recognize the wisdom of our Founders and repeal the 16th Amendment. Put the genie back in the bottle before it destroys us.
It is mostly liberals who say it can’t be done. They desire a Constitutional Convention for a chance to change our form of government. Their balanced budget amendments (there are several versions) contain loopholes that allow unbalanced budgets if… or when…. Business as usual would resume in Congress soon after an Article V Convention.
Why gamble with our freedoms while trying to balance the budget? Repeal the 16th Amendment and force our Federal government to downsize to a level and authority supportable by indirect taxes. If we can’t repeal the 16th Amendment, how could we pass a truly effective BBA?
Our Founding Fathers’ vision of the federal government was to provide for the common defense and general welfare of its inhabitants. Services rendered would be of equal benefit to rich and poor alike. As such, it was considered immoral to tax the rich more for the same services enjoyed by all inhabitants. That is why the federal government was limited to indirect taxes – taxes paid by everyone.
To be continued …
Al Kuchinka is a local resident and columnist.