Sixteenth Amendment

Written by Michael Badnarik

Conventional wisdom asserts that nothing is certain but death and taxes, however this ancient rubric is being challenged more frequently, and more aggressively with each passing day. While no one doubts that the IRS will use intimidation and force to collect the income tax, there are serious doubts being raised as to whether or not Americans are required to pay this onerous tax.

Let’s look at some easily verified facts about our nation’s history. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. The Sixteenth Amendment, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve Bank all came into existence in 1913. This means that our young republic managed to survive without an income tax for 137 years with no ill effects. In fact, I’ve read that our government had a huge money surplus during that period.

Since 1913 the Federal Reserve has continually inflated our economy by printing money “out of thin air”, making the money already in circulation worth less than before. If you found a way to print twenty dollar bills on a special printer, you would eventually be convicted of counterfeiting – one of only three crimes explicitly listed in the Constitution. How does your printing money out of thin air differ from the Federal Reserve doing the same thing on a massive scale? Except for the volume of money printed, there is no difference at all. The Federal Reserve exercises a monopoly on counterfeiting, but that is obviously not a power Congress was authorized to give.

Article 1, Section 8, clause 1 says “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence (sic) and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”. Notice that taxes are included in the first list, but not the second. Taxes refers to direct taxes, whereas duties, imposts and excises are indirect taxes.

Article 1, Section 2, clause 3 states that “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers”. This clause is an example of the “checks and balances” written into the Constitution. California’s population is 10% of the United States population, so they are entitled to 10% of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, which rounds up to forty-four. If California were to falsify their census numbers in an effort to gain more representation, the state would also increase its federal debt because representatives AND direct taxes are apportioned to the state by the same census figures.

The only topic mentioned twice in the Constitution is the subject of direct taxes. Article 1, Section 9, clause 4 states “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken”. Many people believe this clause was nullified by the Sixteenth Amendment which reads, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” The Supreme Court has dismissed that argument as fraudulent.

In a decision called Brushaber v Union Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court ruled that “We are of opinion, however, that the confusion is not inherent, but rather arises from the conclusion that the 16th Amendment provides for a hitherto unknown power of taxation” which they held to be an “erroneous assumption”. They go on to say that the income tax as it is currently enforced, “is void for want of apportionment”.

If you are someone who still believes that you are required by law to pay a federal income tax, then your worldview will be completely shattered when you read Bill Benson’s two volume book, “The Law That Never Was”.1 This book contains documented proof that the Sixteenth Amendment was never properly ratified by three quarters of the states as required by the Constitution!

Perhaps the most disturbing fact about the validity of our income tax system is that the Department of Justice (sic) refuses to address direct questions in public. We the People Foundation2 was created to exercise our right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances”. A long list of legal questions was compiled, and after months of persistent badgering, the IRS reluctantly agreed to answer these questions publicly on camera. That meeting was scheduled for late September, 2001. Unfortunately, the tragic events in New York preempted that meeting, and the government has stubbornly refused to schedule another. If there really is a law that requires Americans to pay a significant percentage of their annual salaries to “good, old, Uncle Sam”, the government should simply show us the law. The government is supposed to work for us, isn’t it?

Assuming these speculations are true, what are “We the People” supposed to do about it? There have already been many Americans who have refused to comply with IRS demands, and were willing to go to jail – or even die – to defend their beliefs. However, the first thing a recently enraged patriot should do is to get all the facts. Please DO NOT use this article as your basis for not filing a 1040 form. Start by watching Aaron Russo’s documentary, “America: From Freedom to Fascism”3, which can be viewed on the Internet. Then insist that all your family and friends watch the video, too. Instead of fighting this battle alone, it is safer and more effective to join with others who share your views. There is only one Presidential candidate in 2008 that wants to eliminate the IRS. 4 Supporting Ron Paul’s campaign is a peaceful way to restore our Constitutional republic. Of course, if that doesn’t work we can always revive a tried-and-true method that involves tar and feathers.


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