On February 3, 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified. Here is the text of the amendment itself:

“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.”

This amendment has had a dramatic effect on the nature and power of the Federal Government. The founding Fathers of the United States were vehemently opposed to the type of direct tax permitted by the sixteenth amendment. Evidence for this opposition is found within the Constitution itself:

Article 1, Section 2: “Direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states…according to their respective numbers.”

Article 1, Section 9: “No capitation [tax of so much per person regardless of circumstances] or other direct tax shall be laid except in proportion to the census or other enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

First it is important to distinguish between direct and indirect taxes. Cleon Skousen, a noted Constitutional scholar distinguishes between the two:

Taxes such as duties, imposts, and excise taxes [sales tax] are taxes on “things”, not on states and not on individuals. These are what we call “indirect taxes, since they can be passed on to the person who is the final purchaser of the goods and thereby pay the tax “indirectly.” Indirect taxes are much less painful to collect than direct taxes, since direct taxes are levied directly against individuals and their personal property and cannot be passed on to anyone else” (The Making of America, p. 372)

The Sixteenth amendment superseded theses two clauses and directly opposes the intent of the founding fathers. Originally, the amount of direct taxes that could be collected from any state was tied directly to its share of the national population. This means that if the government attempted to collect income taxes from real estate, dividends, or personal income (as it does now), it would be considered unconstitutional because it was not apportioned among the states. In other words, if California had 10% of the country’s population it would pay 10% of the total income tax collected by the nation as a whole. Population in the Constitution was used for tax purposes, and representation purposes in government. Hence the famous saying “no taxation without representation.”

Thomas Jefferson once wrote: “The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.” The Sixteenth Amendment was created to allow income taxation without any regard to representation or more importantly personal property. Income taxes imply the denial of private property, and in that are different in principal from all other taxes.

Frank Chodorov, explains the position of the government:

“The government says to the citizen: ‘Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself if for us to decide“ (Income Tax: The Root of All Evil, p. 8)

A government of the people, by the people and for the people, now, because of the 16th amendment, is a government against the people. There is now no limit to the governmental confiscation of a person’s personal property.

Chodorov continues:

“In short, when [the 16th amendment] became part of the constitution, in 1913, the absolute right of property in the United States was violated. That of course is the essence of socialism. Whatever else socialism is, or is claimed to be, its first tenet is the denial of private property.” (p. 9)

Would it shock you to learn that the first two of the “10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto” are:

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

  1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

According to the Communist Manifesto, these were prior conditions for a transition from capitalism to communism! Straight from the words of Marx and Engels!

A progressive income tax sows the seeds of class warfare and civil strife. In an article written by Scott A. Hodge of the Tax Foundation, titled “Tyranny of California’s Nonpayers”, he sums up the inequality pervasive in our tax system:

“…A steeply progressive income tax system [] places the lion’s share of the burden on those deemed “rich” while exempting millions of lower-income citizens from taxation entirely. Such a system threatens our democracy because it splits America into two classes – a large class that feels no pain from big government and whose appetite is endless, and a smaller class that feels all the pain and is powerless to stop the cycle of taxing and spending. These are the seeds of social discontent.” [1]

As a Christian, I believe in obeying and sustaining the law. I do not advocate withholding money from the IRS. Our system of government allows us to petition, and use non violent means to change laws. If you are a believer in Christ and his teachings, and you support income taxation, how do you reconcile the following commandments?

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:29)

“Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15)

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, …nor anything that is thy neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17)

If you support income taxation, you support using government power to steal from those who produce to those who do not. Taking something from someone without their consent is theft. Using the threat of force against such a person is coercion. They are not Judeo-Christian principles. They are not principles of peace loving human beings.

The only time such a direct income tax was allowed in the Constitution was in a dire emergency. Cleon Skousen expounds:

“It was recognized, …that in case of war or dire emergency it would be necessary to impose direct taxes on individuals and their property. Experience had demonstrated that direct taxes are deeply resented by the people, especially those of considerable wealth, who find large quantities of their personal assets being expropriated whereas others will be giving up far less. Direct taxes are always perceived as being unfair to the individual no matter how carefully they are collected.” (The Making of America, p. 372)

If you are opposed to war, you must logically be opposed to income taxation. Think of it this way, if the only time the government imposed a direct tax on people was to fight a war, how many wars would the people of the United States be in favor of. If all of a sudden people had 20% to 50% of their paychecks being expropriated by the government to fight a war, the conditions of the war would have to be very dire for public support. The nation would almost have to be in the process of being invaded before such a tax would be tolerated.

Whether you are for or against the war in Iraq, think of the following question: Would the people of the United States be in favor of, and support the current war, if as a condition to declaring war against Iraq, each working man and woman would have to have 30% more of their income removed from their paychecks? Would the United States have been involved in so many wars over the last fifty years if this circumstance was applied.

Such a tax policy, as originally intended in the Constitution was another way to promote peace and end war. Such a tax policy would only permit wars in self defense, and self defense alone.

The effect this amendment has had in our nation and in your own personal life could, and has filled volumes of books. I plan to continue discussing this issue for a long time. If you get a chance, I highly recommend that you read this book, available for free: Income Tax: The Root of All Evil, by Frank Chodorov. Click on the following link:

Income Tax: The Root of All Evil

[1] Tyranny of California's Nonpayers


Anonymous said...

In the law of consecration, those who have, are asked to give what they have(property), to those who do not. Is the word "asked", the key in that law??

Gabriel said...

You are correct, the word "asked" is key to understanding the meaning behind the law of consecration and the principle of liberty or freedom of choice.

The Law of Consecration is a voluntary law. Income taxation is not a voluntary law because of the threat of force against me if I choose to not pay my taxes.

There are a lot of people who attempt to claim the moral high ground by claiming they gladly pay their income taxes. I gladly pay my income taxes too if it means not having my wages garnished, my bank accounts frozen, and my personal assets seized!

While there is a lot more to the Law of Consecration, the basic (and fundamental) difference between income redistribution and consecration is that one is voluntary, the other is enforced through coercion.