Tags: Amendment | Would | Repeal | Income | Tax

Amendment Would Repeal Income Tax

Friday, 11 May 2001 12:00 AM

Last month, NewsMax.com covered a demonstration outside IRS headquarters, with protesters arguing that the 16th Amendment creating the current tax code was never legally adopted.

Without saying so, some of the demonstrators seemed to indicate they may have been protesting in the wrong place. Most of the hapless bureaucrats at the IRS honestly believe they’re just doing their jobs. It is Congress that has refused to tackle the arguments against the legitimacy of the tax code. And if Congress is willing to allow an agency to have more power than the Constitution intended, one should not be surprised if the agency uses it.

That’s where Congressman Paul comes in. He says the 16th Amendment "has enabled government to expand far beyond its proper limits, invade our privacy, and penalize our every endeavor. The Founding Fathers never intended an income tax, and they certainly would be dismayed to know that Americans today give more than third of their income to the federal government.”

Years ago, Utah Gov. J. Bracken Lee used his high-profile position to rail against the 16th Amendment as "the worst thing that’s ever happened to this country” and believed that its repeal could have helped avert both world wars, as well as the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. (See "Let ‘Em Holler” by Dennis L. Lythgoe, 1982, Utah State Historical Society.)

Lee did more than carry on a rhetorical war against the IRS. He withheld part of his income tax not already collected or which he never saw (because of the withholding tax) to contest the right of the government to use taxpayers’ money in foreign aid. He went by the book and put the money in a bank with instructions that it was to be removed only by a court order.

To make a long story short, he ultimately lost the case, but it won him nationwide acclaim from Americans who began encouraging him to run for president.

That never happened. Lee was one of the few politicians never inhibited about saying exactly what was on his mind, and was willing to take his hits at the polls, if it came to that.

But he won some and lost some. His fight against the income tax continued in later years after he became mayor of Salt Lake City.

He addressed all his IRS correspondence to "Snoopers and Looters,” and it was always delivered "right to their door.”

At the time of his withholding his tax money, vandals decorated the Governor’s Mansion with signs such as "Pay Up, Brack,” the governor shrugged it off by calling it a "very good paint job — well above average.”

Lee likely paid in other ways too. He claimed to have been audited every year for decades.

This story of a politician covered by this writer in his early years as a reporter is recalled now because in reading Congressman Paul’s press release on his current proposal, he is making the exact same arguments that Lee used to make.

"America existed for nearly 140 years without an income tax,” Paul says, "The federal government adhered to its strictly enumerated constitutional functions during that time, operating with modest excise revenues. When Congress introduced the 16th Amendment, it opened the door to the era of big government. This amendment would close that door.”

In sending the measure to the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over any proposal to amend the Constitution, Paul follows up with a letter to his colleagues in which he is saying the Liberty Amendment is an attempt to eliminate the system altogether, forcing Congress to find a fair way to collect limited federal revenues.

It is presumed that if the Paul amendment ever succeeded, congressional left-wingers would have to find another vehicle for their class warfare. Though it would be difficult to talk about "tax cuts for the rich” when there’s no tax to cut, at least not as we currently know it, the ever-resourceful left would find a way.

Just wipe the slate clean and start all over. That’s the Texas lawmaker’s point. Somewhere, Brack Lee, who lived until 1996 when he died at the ripe old age of 97, must be smiling.

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Last month, NewsMax.com covered a demonstration outside IRS headquarters, with protesters arguing that the 16th Amendment creating the current tax code was never legally adopted. Without saying so, some of the demonstrators seemed to indicate they may have been protesting...
Amendment,Would,Repeal,Income,Tax
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2001-00-11
Friday, 11 May 2001 12:00 AM
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