Attention Tea Party patriots, and anybody who is interested. You don't have to agree with my constructive critique of the Tea Party movement, but please consider it.
One issue that I have with my conservative, activist Tea Party family is the following. While the Constitution certainly reflects conservative political perspectives about taxes, the problem is that conservatives, including my family, evidently don't know enough constitutional basics to effectively argue their points. In other words, I see Tea Party people trying to defend their stance against high (actually illegal) federal taxes essentially from sentimental perspectives, instead of substantiating their points with specific constitutional amendments, articles, sections and clauses, along with official historical references about constitutional taxation. So I don’t shed any tears when I see Constitution-impaired Tea Party protestors being ignored by the likewise impaired liberal media.
I believe that the Tea Party movement would be a lot more effective if Tea Party activists were empowered with the constitutional basics which deal with taxes, basics that even grade school children can be taught. So I wrote what follows to give Tea Party people my analysis of Constitution-related historical facts which will hopefully facilitate their mission. Armed with this information, I hope that their voices will be more effective in their fight, not only against illegal federal taxes, but also against unwanted federal interference in their lives that often come with taxes.
Here's the basics. The unwanted federal taxes that we’re now plagued with is a consequence of the people forgetting the Founder’s division of federal and state government powers, in my opinion. This division of powers is evidenced by the 10th Amendment.
- “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Founders made this amendment to officially reserve the lion's share of government power to serve the people to the states, not the Oval Office and Congress. And with the greater power of the states in mind, note that Chief Justice Marshall had established the following case precedent, now wrongly ignored, which appropriately limits the power of the feds to lay taxes.
- "Congress is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are within the exclusive province of the States." --Chief Justice Marshall, GIBBONS V. OGDEN (1824)
So how did the country get sidetracked from its constitutional basics as evidenced by today's illegal and burdensome federal taxes? Let's address this question by considering how constitutional firewalls that were undoubtedly intended to help prevent illegal federal taxes got bypassed.
To begin with, the Founders had established the federal Senate to be the voice of the state governments in the federal government (Article I, Section 3, Clause 1). Giving the state governments their own voice is very important because, as we have already discussed, the Constitution actually gives the state governments more power to serve the people - and thus power to lay taxes - than it gives to the federal government. So the federal Senate can be regarded as a watchdog, guarding against not only federal government usurpation of state powers, but also protecting state taxes associated with those powers.
But why didn’t outraged federal Senators speak up in the 1930s, for example, when constitutionally clueless FDR wrongly usurped state powers, including the associated power to lay unique taxes, in order to establish his constitutionally unauthorized New Deal spending programs? The truth of the matter is that FDR evidently wasn't the only constitutionally inept "leader" in DC by that time. But we need to review what was likely happening in the state legislatures before 1913, the year that the 16th and 17th Amendments were ratified, in order to understand how pro-big federal government politicians had infiltrated DC by the 1930s.
Prior to 1913, more than half of the USA's population was rural. And given the technological barriers to researching anything at that time, particularly for mostly rural Americans, people were probably not being taught constitutional basics like state sovereignty. Indeed, other than possibly being required to recite the states (48 at the time), what would inspire rural American schoolchildren to ask questions about state sovereignty?
So as a consequence of prevalent word-of-mouth knowledge, if not gossip, about our basic constitutional freedoms, state sovereignty-apathetic voters were likely electing state lawmakers who were as unconcerned about state powers as the voters were. And if this was the case, then state legislatures were probably full of state sovereignty-impaired lawmakers before 1913. So when the power-hungry federal Congress proposed the 16th and 17th amendments in 1909 and 1912 respectively, the ratification of these ill-conceived, anti-state sovereignty amendments was an accident just waiting to happen.
Lets examine the 17th A. first, the amendment that gives voters the power to elect federal senators. Although the 17th A. is said to have been proposed as a "remedy" to help reduce special-interest corruption in the federal Senate, state lawmakers probably saw this proposed amendment differently. They might have reasoned that, although Congress wanted to make it easier for itself to lay taxes as evidenced by the earlier proposed 16th A., Congress now seemed willing to “compensate” the people for wider powers to lay taxes as evidenced by its proposed additional amendment that would give voters the power to elect federal senators directly. After all, that's ”taxation with representation” and what's wrong with that? (Note that the deceptive taxation with representation argument is what I got from my Tea Party activist brother when I slyly questioned his knowledge about the 16th and 17th Amendments. So you helped to inspire this essay, bro.)
So when the Frankenstein Congress proposed the 17th A., essentially bait for the states to also ratify the proposed 16th A., state sovereignty-ignorant lawmakers not surprisingly failed to make the following connection concerning the proposed 17th Amendment. They overlooked that the proposed amendment posed a serious threat to the Founder's purpose for the federal Senate, the voice of the constitutionally powerful state governments in the constitutionally humbled federal government. If you will recall, the federal Senate was one of the Founder's firewalls against federal government usurpation of state powers and associated taxes.
Getting back to my previous question as to why the federal Senate gave the green light to FDR's state sovereignty-usurping New Deal programs when it should have protected state sovereignty by blocking these programs, consider the following. When the state legislatures unthinkingly ratified the 17th A., voters not surprisingly began using their new power to elect federal senators. The problem is that they seemingly used this power to repeat their previous mistake with the state governments. In other words, they evidently began filling federal Senate seats with people who were just as indifferent to state sovereignty as the lawmakers that they had been filling state legislature seats with prior to 1913. So as a consequence of the 17th A., the federal Senate’s days as the watchdog protector of state sovereignty, including protecting state powers to lay unique taxes, were numbered.
So not only has the 16th A. ultimately made it easier for the Constitution-ignoring feds to lay constitutionally unauthorized taxes, the 17th A. completes the cycle of illegal federal taxation and spending in the following way. The 17th A. practically insures that federal senate seats remain filled with state-power apathetic lawmakers who all too easily vote yes on bills which use 16th A.-facilitated illegal federal taxes to fund likewise constitutionally unauthorized federal spending programs; the stimulus package, proposed healthcare, etc.
In fact, since the 1930s the federal Senate has arguably been nothing more than an extension of the House of Representatives where promoting legislation which condones constitutionally unauthorized federal taxation and spending is concerned. In other words, we effectively have a one-house federal Congress in this aspect, something definitely not in the Founder’s constitutional blueprint of the federal government.
The bottom line is that the 16th and 17th Amendments have turned out to be a Trojan horse from the corrupt feds to the naive states that has ultimately helped to make it more difficult for the people and their state lawmakers to challenge federal taxation and spending based on constitutionally nonexistent federal government powers.
Again, such spending was evidenced by FDR’s big-shot spender policies in the 1930s. And federal spending is now spinning insanely out of control under the misguided Obama Administration, Obama unthinkingly walking in FDR's misguided socialist footsteps.
Ignorance begs tyranny. Tyranny then fosters more ignorance.
What a mess! :^(
So while it is commendable that Tea Party patriots are at least trying to keep the spirit of the Boston Tea Party alive by protesting high taxes, high taxes actually just the tip of the iceberg of rampant federal government corruption, please consider this. As I mentioned earlier, I feel that if Tea Party activists were informed of the above theory then they may be empowered to put more vitality into their Tea Party movement by supporting the only real option that we have concerning the 16th and 17th Amendments, in my opinion.
One remedy to this waking nightmare, the corrupt federal government ‘s ongoing destruction of state sovereignty and robbing of the taxpayers, is this. The voters need to be brought up to speed with the federal government's illegal usurping of state powers and elect pro-state power leaders to the federal and state governments in 2010 who will do the following. Pro-state power leaders need to repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments. Again, these ill-conceived amendments are the source of power for the corrupt Democratic Party which has been ruining the country since the days of FDR, these deceptive amendments making it too easy for Constitution-ignoring Democrats to lay and spend tax dollars based on constitutionally nonexistent federal government powers.
And once the 16th A. has been repealed and the federal income tax eliminated, the state governments can finance the feds with higher state taxes. The reason for this is as follows. The states can use their greater constitutional powers to serve the people to fight a downhill battle with the feds, eliminating constitutionally unauthorized federal taxes, keeping as many tax dollars in a given state as possible. (Did you hear that California?)
And when state government "leaders" show their voters that they are more interested in protecting the welfare of the federal government than that of their own state, then they can look for another job.
As a side note to the folly of the 16th and 17th Amendments, I’ll mention another constitutional firewall against high taxes that thieves in lawmaker’s clothing are currently trying to bypass. More specifically, let’s consider what these flakey amendments have in common with today’s misguided movement to "modernize" the Electoral College. The common ground is that the state sovereignty-clueless Democrats leading the Electoral College movement are evidently wanting even more backdoor access to the “all powerful” Oval Office, their side-door entrance to the "self-help" US Treasury, then they've already got with the 16th and 17th amendments.
In fact, noting that the five states (including Illinois) currently leading the Electoral College reform movement are blue states, the thieves running these states probably couldn’t care less that much of the money in the US Treasury that they're constantly trying to steal in the name of funding for their states were taxes illegally laid on their voters by their Constitution-ignoring Democratic colleagues in the federal government. So consider that while blue state lawmakers are claiming to want to “reform” the Electoral College, what they really want, in my opinion, is to have "drive-thru" access to the US Treasury, compliments of "their" Oval Office.
Again, as a consequence of their inexcusable ignorance of state sovereignty (ignorance of the law is no excuse), state lawmakers evidently do not understand that they have always been able to use their greater state powers to serve the people to stop the feds from stealing constitutionally unauthorized federal taxes from the taxpayers, keeping these tax dollars in the respective states; we’re suffering the consequences of dealing with idiot thieves disguised as lawmakers. California wouldn’t be going down the tubes, in my opinion, if California state thieves...umm...lawmakers understood state sovereignty.
As a final side note to constitutionally unauthorized federal taxation, I support fair and flat tax plans for the following reason. Such tax initiatives are at least a step in the right direction, in my opinion. However, the problem is, that until illegal federal taxes are done away with, what’s the point in paying illegal federal taxes, flat or fair?
Getting back to the Tea Party movement, the bottom line is that the phony powers of the Oval Office and Congress need to be destroyed. These are powers which have been politically delegated to the feds by Constitution-ignoring special interest groups since before 1913, as opposed to the limited powers actually delegated to the feds by the Constitution. Again, repealing the ill-conceived 16th and 17th Amendments would be a giant step in this direction, in my opinion. Did you hear that Tea Party patriots?