Tag Archives: 16th Amendment

Cyprus Agrees To Confiscate 20% Of ‘Rich’ Depositors’ Money In Bailout Deal


It’s not a “tax.” It is government stealing money directly out of people’s bank accounts – money that was deposited AFTER taxes were already paid on it.

Socialism = theft, pure and simple.   Christians who support Socialism need to go back study what the Bible has to say about debt, envy, and theft!

The Independent reports:

An 11th-hour deal with the EU, which has saved the Cypriot economy from the brink, will see investors with more than €100,000 in the nation’s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits.

The punishing deal – which has been approved by the eurozone finance ministers – will allow the country to receive the €10bn (£8.5bn) bailout it needed before the European Central Bank pulled funding and sent the island on the path to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the single currency.

Under the new agreement, all bank deposits under €100,000 will be secured and guaranteed by the state. The country’s second-biggest bank, The Popular Bank of Cyprus – known as Laiki – will be wound down whilst holders of deposits of more than €100,000 face big losses.

Read more at The Independent

Greek Cyprus sacrifices top banks to resurrect EU bailout

Rampapalooza As Cyprus-Troika Reach Deal (Updates)

Meanwhile, Cash Exodus From Cyprus Surges Despite Bank Closures, Capital Controls

“Cyprus Is The Homage Europe Pays For The Denial Of A Systemic Crisis”

Unsecured Depositors Of The World, Unite… And Get The Hell Out Of These Countries

We Are All Cypriots Now

Cyprus Lawmakers Vote Against Stealing From Depositor’s Bank Accounts To Fund Bailout

Crisis In Cyprus: Europeans Run On ATM’s, Trying To Stop Government From Stealing Their Money

Socialism is Not Compassionate, and Why This Should Matter to Christians

We Are All Cypriots Now


This will only end well for those who are prepared to take care of themselves and their families.

Gary North warns at Tea Party Economist:

The Cyprus central bank decided to keep the banks closed until next Tuesday. The panic is building. This will build it even more.

The British media say the government is looking for Plan B. There is no Plan B.

There will be no tax on bank accounts, says the parliament.

Will there still be a bailout? The European Central Bank has said it will remove the life support tube on Monday. The head of the EuroGroup, which is a no-name committee of the eurozone’s finance ministers, said this: “I’m not sure that this package is completely gone and failed, because I don’t see many alternatives.” In short, “the Parliament had better reconsider.” Or else.

Or else what? Default? Cyprus’ departure from the eurozone? Do the Eurocrats want that? Do they want to risk a poster child for the PIIGS to imitate?

Meanwhile, panic builds. When the banks open their doors next week, they will face a true bank run. People now know: they cannot get their money. They never thought this could happen.

The central bank is playing kick the can. It is buying time. Maybe there will be a Plan B. Problem: if there is a Plan B, maybe the parliament will reject it. Then what?

A nation shuts down economically if its banks shut down. The banks can shut down in two ways: because of bank runs or by decree from the central bank. Today, the banking system has been shut down by decree.

The central bank cannot kick the can much longer. The economy will collapse without banks.

The British media are covering the story.

“We don’t have days or weeks, we have only hours to save our country,” Averof Neophytou, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Rally party, told reporters as crisis talks in Nicosia dragged on into the evening.

Disaster looms.

The country’s two main banks – Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus – face potential failure if a bailout is not secured. One official told the Associated Press that Europe and the IMF were pressing for the two banks to be wound down. The Cypriot government was said to be considering the possibility of imposing capital controls amid fears that money would flood out of the country once its banks were reopened.

But if depositors cannot send their digital money out of the country, they can still demand currency. The effect is the same: bankrupt banks.

The central bank cannot print euros. It can bail out the system only if Cyprus pulls out of the eurozone. If it does, this will send a message to the PIIGS: “Get out. We did. Save yourselves. We did.”

Read more at Tea Party Economist

Cyprus isn’t the only country facing serious fiscal consequences from unsustainable spending, unfunded liabilities and overwhelming debt.

Robert Romano explains “How the government will steal your savings under Dodd-Frank“:

The people of Cyprus care more about their life savings than propping up financial institutions that lost billions on poor investments in socialist governments’ debts. The idea that somehow they, and not the banks that made those decisions, should bear the brunt of those losses was always disconnected from reality.

Yet that is precisely the presumption the establishment has made — that rather than banks raising substantially more capital to address systemic risk, you and I should pay for bank bailouts — in response to the ongoing financial crisis that began in 2007, and has actually become the basis for such proposals considered all over the world, including the U.S.

In 2009, the G20 asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come up with ways the financial sector might supposedly contribute to its own bailouts.

The IMF study released in 2010 essentially proposed two types of taxes: a levy on financial institutions to create a pool of bailout funds, and a financial transaction tax.

Interestingly, what the IMF came up with as a suggestion had already been implemented a few months earlier by the U.S. Congress in passing the Dodd-Frank so-called financial reform legislation.

Under Dodd-Frank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is allowed to charge assessments to about 60 bank-holding and insurance companies with $50 billion or more in assets to fund what is called an “orderly liquidation fund.” Really, it’s just a bailout fund allowing the government to take over systemically risky institutions, recapitalize them, and allow them to reenter the market under new management.

The law, as well as the IMF study, presumes that the financial sector will bear these costs. But as a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of a similar bank tax proposal by the Obama Administration at the time noted, “the ultimate cost of a tax or fee is not necessarily borne by the entity that writes the check to the government. The cost of the proposed fee would ultimately be borne to varying degrees by an institution’s customers, employees, and investors, but the precise incidence among those groups is uncertain.”

Meaning, the assessments would actually be passed on to and paid for by savers and consumers of financial products through the indirect taxation of higher bank fees and other financial transaction costs. Americans for Limited Government warned lawmakers about just such an outcome prior to the legislation’s passage as an affront to private property rights.

[…]  At least in Cyprus the people’s representatives there actually had an opportunity to vote against such a levy. Whereas here, those fees are and will continue to be imposed by the banks with the blessing of government agencies — all without any vote in Congress.

It may happen sooner than anyone realizes. U.S. financial institutions are said to have as much $641 billion of exposure to financial institutions in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) according to the Congressional Research Service.

Should the Eurozone really break apart, and U.S. banks are caught in the crossfire, with the American people suddenly paying exorbitant fees for the “privilege” of conducting business electronically, they can decide for themselves whether this was a good idea.

That is, for Congress to outsource and give unlimited grant of its taxing authority to faceless bureaucrats acting in concert with an international banking cartel with the goal of bailing itself out of its own foolishness.

Read more at Net Right Daily

Deposit Taxes: Should We Prepare?

Nigel Farage Message To Europeans: “Get Your Money Out While You Can”

Steve Forbes: Here’s Why Cyprus Could Be A Disaster For All Of Us

Cyprus Lawmakers Vote Against Stealing From Depositor’s Bank Accounts To Fund Bailout

Crisis In Cyprus: Europeans Run On ATM’s, Trying To Stop Government From Stealing Their Money

Is Cyprus Deposit Levy The First Sign Of Widespread Wealth Tax?

10 Things That We Can Learn About Shortages And Preparation From The Economic Collapse In Greece

Cyprus Lawmakers Vote Against Stealing From Depositor’s Bank Accounts To Fund Bailout

Cavuto: What’s happening in Cyprus could happen here

View at Fox News Video

In 1913, the 16th Amendment gave the federal government the power to tax American’s earnings for the very first time.  Originally a 1% tax to pay for the war, it has ballooned into a confiscatory predator which continually siphons away your hard-earned money to feed the appetite of a government spending addiction that is never satisfied.

Since the immoral premise that government has a right to confiscate your earnings has gone unchallenged for the last 100 years, they now claim the right to steal your assets as well – property that you’ve acquired and invested in with after-tax dollars, through your own hard work an initiative.   Nowhere is this more apparent than the recently instituted 3.8% Obamacare tax on home sales.

Think what is happening in Cyprus can’t happen here?  It already is.

Fox News reports:

Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people’s bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, with not a single vote in favor.

The rejection leaves Cyprus’s bailout in question. Without external funds, the country’s banks face collapse and the government could go bankrupt. Nicosia will now have to come up with an alternative plan to raise the money: the government could try to offer a compromise bill that would be more palatable to lawmakers.

The bill, which had been amended Tuesday morning to shield small deposit holders from the deposit tax, was rejected with 36 votes against and 19 abstentions. One deputy was absent.

Read more at Fox News

Too late.  The threat has already been made.  They have officially declared that they believe that the hard-earned money in private citizens’  bank accounts are fair game for the taking, and property rights are easily dispensed with when governments overspend.   I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, and neither will most Cypriots!

The smart people will get their money out before they have another chance to try a scheme like this.

MP Nigel Farage is warning European investors to “Get Your Money Out While You Can“:

In Nigel Farage’s first TV appearance since the Cypriot wealth tax was announced, the Englishman pulls no punches. In all his years and all his experience of the desperation of the European Union’s leadership “never did [he] think they would resort to stealing money from people’s savings accounts.” The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for “once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down.” There is now “clear irreconcilable differences” between the North and the South of Europe and now that they have done this in one country, “they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere.” The message that sends to people is “get your money out while you can.” As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home. “Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone,” he concludes,“you have to be mad to do so – as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based.”

“They are propping up a Eurozone that, in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything to do so.”

Read more at Zero Hedge

As Neil Cavuto points out, what is happening in Cyprus is already happening in America…it’s just that most people don’t realize it.

Katie Pavlich notes that American’s 401K plans already top the list of assets the government is threatening to seize:

As a reminder, the United States government has been eying and researching how Americans use their 401k plans for quite some time now. Recently we saw the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggest the government help “manage” retirement plans.

[…]   In February, the Washington Times went so far as to ask “is your 401k about to be nationalized?”

The $19.4 trillion sitting in personal retirement accounts like the 401K may be too tempting an apple for a government that is quite broke, both monetarily and morally.  The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray recently mentioned these accounts in a recent interview, stating “That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in, in terms of whether and what authority we have.”

This agency, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank-Act, is very concerned about how safe your retirement savings are. They are apparently concerned that retiring baby boomers may become victims of financial scams.

If the government takes control of retirement accounts, it will not be called “nationalization.” There will most likely be an indecipherable document that provides an opt-out option (initially), but why would you want to do that? The US government only wants to ensure the safety of your retirement funds; they did after all create a new bureaucracy for that specific purpose.  And what could be a safer investment than US bonds?

Read more at Townhall

“Repair_Man_Jack” warns at Red State:

Karl Denninger…cites some reasons for being concerned that this express train intends to flatten the US in the coming years. He lays out whywe may need recourse to something like this.

In two years federal medical spending along with Social Security and interest will, on current paths, reach the total of all tax receipts. At the outside the market will realize that Congress will never address the underlying issue with medical care because they have steadfastly refused to do so…. There is about $20 trillion in US Retirement “assets.” A “small” 10% “one time” tax levy on those assets would fund the US Deficit a couple of years from now, and I will go out on a limb now and predict that exactly that will be done. Of course the “one time” aspect will be a lie too…

He goes on to explain how the test case for this has already been successful. And how the American People have already allowed the legal precedents to allow this to happen to be codified in case histories all the way up to the USSC.

the precedent has already been set, and you, the common American, sat for it.
You allowed the GM bailout to take place where the seniority of bondholders was ignored and they were screwed while the UAW was made whole. You allowed Obamacare to be passed with the Congress denoting it was a “fine” rather than a Tax, because Congress knew that a direct, unapportioned tax was unconstitutional — and then you sat again when Judge Roberts of the USSC rewrote Obamacare to be that very same unconstitutional direct Tax.

Mark my words, Obamacare has very little to do with Health Insurance. This is why nobody in government feels any particular concern over the fact that it screws health insurance up so badly. If you are in government and you want the power to run things by fiat, this law just gave you the keys to a Barchetta with a full tank of petrol.

Now some of you have quaint hang-ups stemming from a silly political dope-deal known as The American Bill of Rights. For those who knit-pick abstruse details, Amendments IV and V get really anal about this property rights jib-jab.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Not to worry Komerade Amerikan. There are apps for this as well. Kelo v. New London is a landmark case that helps put the subjects in their proper place. As long as your bank account can be construed as conferring a public benefit through public use, this lovely piece of jurisprudence would justify its seizure down to the last penny.

Bottom line: The state can steal your property, your wealth and your sustinence at any time they get pissed off enough or desperate enough to do so. You have no recourse to the law against this. The law is pathetically bastardized. Remember how that Arch-Conservative Supreme Court was poised to heroically strike down The AACA? Forget it Jake, we are all Cypriots now.

Read more at Red State

Crisis In Cyprus: Europeans Run On ATM’s, Trying To Stop Government From Stealing Their Money

Is Cyprus Deposit Levy The First Sign Of Widespread Wealth Tax?

Impact Imminent?

Cyprus ATMs Low On Cash, Credit Card Payments Refused; Medvedev Compares Europe To USSR

German Commerzbank Suggests Wealth Tax In Italy Next

Democrats Push For Government Takeover Of Private Retirement Savings

Income Tax Turns 100 Years Old


100 years of the federal government directly attacking the right to private property and to earn a living.   100 years of them skimming off the top before you even get paid what’s left of what you’ve rightfully earned.   100 years of politicians squandering your money and using it to bribe voters, expand their powers, grow the size of government and erode your liberties.

The saddest part is, there is not an American alive who can remember a time when the income tax did not exist, and therefore most do not even stop to consider whether it should exist at all.

John Hayward write at Human Events:

Sunday, February 3, is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, which makes it the one hundredth birthday of the income tax.  It has grown rather ill-tempered in its dotage.

Americans for Tax Reform commemorated the occasion by publishing a few fun facts about the income tax.  Among other interesting statistics, the initial top tax bracket was only 7 percent, and it didn’t kick in until income reached a whopping $11.6 million in 2013 dollars.  Only 358,000 people had to fill out 1040 forms at first, because the standard family deduction was an adjusted $93,000.

Over the past hundred years, the tax code has swelled from 400 pages to almost 74,000.  The top rate is 39.6 percent; add in state and local taxes, and you’ve got the government soaking up over half of every marginal dollar earned by the Evil Rich.  And the top bracket crashes down on those who earn over $450k, which is the new functional definition of a “millionaire.”  Every new tax – from the income tax itself, to the Alternative Minimum Tax and its prospective stepchild, the “Buffett Rule” – is sold as a small levy on the vast wealth of millionaires.  The AMT was only supposed to affect a couple of hundred people when it was implemented in 1969, but now it’s on the verge of grabbing 50 million taxpayers, if it’s not “fixed.”  In the early years of the income tax, Americans were likewise assured that it would only slip a few dollars from the bulging wallets of the wealthy.

Allowing the government to sink its feeding tubes into the veins of American income has fueled astonishing government growth.  That first itty bitty tax levy brought in a paltry $16.6 billion in revenue, adjusted for the past century of inflation.  Today the income tax brings in $2.7 trillion.  Government inevitably grows to fill, and exceed, the space made available for it.

[…]   The income tax is collected largely through payroll deductions, which makes the true cost of government almost completely invisible to the middle class.  Uncle Sam quietly takes his cut before the first dollar lands in an employee’s bank account.  If every worker was required to compute and pay his own taxes quarterly, in the manner of a small business, America would experience a taxpayer revolt that might sweep away a good deal of government bloat.  Imagine the fortunes of tax-cutting small-government candidates if most of the electorate had to figure up quarterly local, state, and federal tax bills, and write checks to all three authorities, a few days before each election.

Instead, the government takes big, silent bites out of everyone’s take-home pay.  The process has been made obscure and painless, in much the way that a mosquito numbs the skin of its victim before drawing blood.  We might also add the bite taken by Social Security and Medicare, programs that no young person entering the workforce today will ever get to enjoy, not in any manner resembling the benefits paid to the current retirees they are supporting.  Although taken for different purposes, that money has become fungible; it’s all part of the same river of cash, pouring into an irresponsible Leviathan that still borrows another 40 cents on top of every dollar it takes from us.  When we gave the State first claim on our income, we conceded far too much.

Then you’ve got the nauseating spectacle of Tax Day, when some people do become momentarily conscious of the immense cost of government, and grow a bit irritable… while others dance in the streets waving their tax “refunds,” which they actually regard as a “gift” from the government.  Free money!  Yay!  Thus are the citizens of this proud Republic made to dance like trained animals, as they celebrate the repayment of money the government unfairly took from them, without a penny of interest.  And then you’ve got those who receive “tax refunds” exceeding anything they paid into the system, thanks to tax credits.

Read more at Human Events

Heritage Foundation: The Income Tax Turns 100 Years Old

Government Will Take Half Your Paycheck In 2013

How about No Taxes at All?

Why the 16th Amendment Should Be Repealed

The Income Tax and Government Spending

It’s Time To Repeal the 16th Amendment

1913: A Bad Year For Our Constitution And Liberty

What’s the Limit on Congress’s Power to Tax?

If you think the abuses done in the name of the expansion of the Commerce Clause were bad, just wait until you see what congress tries to do with the new taxing powers it’s been granted in the recent Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.

The door has been opened for a MASSIVE expansion of government, funded by the unlimited power to confiscate your private property and wages at whim.   Americans are now officially tax slaves to the insatiable budget demands of thousands of unconstitutional federal agencies, programs and departments.

Julia Shaw writes at the Heritage Foundation:

The Supreme Court on Thursday introduced lawmakers to a new Obamacare.

The justices held that Congress does not have the power under the Commerce Clause to force you to buy health insurance, even though that’s what lawmakers and the President thought they were doing when they passed the law. Instead, the Court held that Congress may and did impose a mandate as part of its taxing power, even though that’s what policymakers insisted they weren’t doing.

That could put an entirely different spin on the mandate since, to put it mildly, taxes have been a big deal in American history.

The American Revolution began as a tax revolt. The issue wasn’t the amount of the taxes; it was the process by which they were levied. Specifically, the colonists objected to “taxation without representation”—Parliament levied taxes without the consent of representatives in the colonists’ local legislatures.

When drafting the Constitution, the Framers sought to rectify this issue. They gave Congress the power to levy indirect taxes and direct taxes.

The Framers did not want states, interests, or industries to use the national legislature to burden other states, interests, or industries unjustly. Therefore, the Constitution creates certain limitations on indirect taxes and direct taxes: Indirect taxes are subject to the Uniformity Clause, and direct taxes are subject to apportionment.

Indirect taxes were meant to fund the national government in ordinary circumstances. These included “Duties, Imposts, and Excises”—generally, taxes on articles of consumption. If Congress raised rates too high, then people would not purchase the taxed goods, and revenue would decrease.

Direct taxes did not have the built-in protections characteristic of indirect taxes. Direct taxes were imposed directly on individuals, who cannot shift their liability to others. To guard against abuse, direct taxes must be apportioned. The 16th Amendment empowered Congress to lay direct taxes on income without being apportioned.

For more information on Congress’s taxing power, check out ConstitutionOnline.com.

Mark Steyn: A lie makes Obamacare legal

This unconstitutional expansion of congress’ taxation powers via judicial activism is worse than the expansion of the Commerce Clause beyond all constitutional recognition, and lays the groundwork for all sorts of abuses at the expense of our liberties.

To cut off this destructive taxing power at the root, MUST repeal the 16th Amendment, and Ezra Dulis suggests another safeguard:

This can and will be used to justify endless bureaucratic absurdity–a video game tax, a swimming-without-water-wings tax, a microwave tax, a bad-shoe-insole tax, a ban on white bread tax–whatever Uncle Sam can think of. Thanks to the avarice of politicians, it has always been probable. Now, thanks to the Court, it is entirely possible.

Electoral victory and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will not be enough to end this push toward government control of healthcare. Even if the bill is repealed and replaced, the electoral winds need only change for a single Congress to pass the legislation again, citing this SCOTUS precedent. Inevitably, the agencies required to enforce the act or a variant of it will become too firmly entwined to citizens’ lives for a lasting solution through the U.S. code or executive order.

To gain ground in the fight against civic illiteracy on this scale, it will take nothing less than a Constitutional Amendment to–and I cannot believe this phrase must be written–prohibit the federal government from taxing mere human existence.

Read more at Breitbart

Obamacare, the Constitution, and the Taxing Power

Dangerous Precedent: Supreme Court Says Congress Can Tax For Any Reason

Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito Dissent: ‘We Cannot Rewrite the Statute to Be What It Is Not’

Justice Robert’s Decision Was Judicial Activism, Legislating From The Bench

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Dangerous Precedent: Supreme Court Says Congress Can Tax For Any Reason

The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” ~ Chief Justice John Marshall

Ben Shapiro warns at Breitbart:

[U]nder the Roberts decision, Congress can levy a tax for virtually any reason. As Chief Justice Roberts himself acknowledges in the opinion:

There may, however, be a more fundamental objection to a tax on those who lack health insurance. Even if only a tax, the payment under §5000A(b) remains a burden that the Federal Government imposes for an omission, not an act. If it is troubling to interpret the Commerce Clause as authorizing Congress to regulate those who abstain from commerce, perhaps it should be similarly troubling to permit Congress to impose a tax for not doing something.

Roberts rejects that argument. He argues that:

(1)  “the Constitution does not guarantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity” (as support for this proposition, he idiotically quotes Benjamin Franklin’s famous injunction that nothing is certain but death and taxes, which is apropos of nothing);

(2)  “Congress’s ability to use its taxing power to influence conduct is not without limits” (although he declines to name those limits).

In short, Congress can tax you if you do nothing; Congress can tax you to influence your conduct; Congress can tax you and tax you and tax you. What kind of tax isn’t allowed under the Constitution? Roberts has to reach all the way back to a 1936 case, United States v. Butler, in which a tax on processors of farm products, proceeds to be paid to farmers. The Court in that case stated that the Act was “a statutory plan to regulate and control agricultural production, a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government. The tax, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan. They are but means to an unconstitutional end.”

Read more at Breitbart

J.E. Dyer warns at Hot Air:

This is an open invitation to “tax” via whatever mandate sounds good to you.  What sort of unequal-before-the-law mandate wouldnot fit this definition of a tax?  Congress can do anything it wants, by the logic of this decision, with the judicial precedent set that levying mandates equals using the power to tax.

Let’s mandate that every adult in America with an income over $80,000 a year has to buy a Chevy Volt or pay a fine.  Make it a 5-year recurring requirement, with the vehicle selected according to the preferences of environmentalists and unions.  Use the IRS to gather the necessary data and enforce the requirement.  It’s just a tax – why not?

Why can’t Congress tell us the size of house we are allowed to buy, require us to buy it, and fine us if we don’t?  Congress would just be taxing us by doing this.  Why can’t Congress mandate that we pay for two weeks of vacation at the tourist hotspots approved by Congress, and fine us if we don’t?  Why can’t Congress order us to pay for college and fine us if we don’t?  Buy furniture, buy certain types or brands of food, use a certain minimum amount of electricity or natural gas; get tattoos, buy a minimum amount of clothing each year – or buy only a maximum amount of clothing, and use only a maximum amount of electricity or natural gas – why can’t Congress require any or all of these things via a Tax-Mandate?

This is a very serious question.  If nothing in the US Constitution or legal precedent can be held to stop Congress from levying an unequally applied health-insurance purchase mandate, then what could stop Congress from levying any other unequally applied purchase mandate?  The same things that would stop a lawn-care or makeup purchase mandate should have knocked down the health-insurance purchase mandate.

Read more at Hot Air

Senator Mitch McConnell points out that Obamacare never would have passed if Democrats had been honest about the fact that it was a major tax increase.

Brent Bozell from Newsbusters remarks, “the incredible irony here is that in upholding Obamacare, Roberts et. al. have formally also declared Obama to be a monumental liar.”

Geoffrey P.Hunt points out at American Thinker that “The Power to Tax is the Power to Destroy“:

The Supreme Court, ruling substance over form in denying the mandate as a commodity purchase but accepting it as a tax, is now beyond reproach given the 16th Amendment.

This interpretation is a splash of acid in the face for limited government libertarians. If any activity mandated by Congress accompanied by a money transaction can be construed as a tax, despite its commerce clause proscriptions, there is no limit to the power of the federal government over our lives.

Repeal of ObamaCare would fix the immediate horrifying consequences of this Supreme Court ruling. Yet what are the odds of both a Senate takeover by Republicans and a Romney victory? Even so, permanent damage has been inflicted on this nation. Any future Congress with enough votes to override vetoes or with a like-minded president can now force US citizens to purchase anything at any time, under the guise of a tax. Congress has an unlimited power to confiscate resources-any and all– from us by simply calling it a tax.

Which is why conservatives can never compromise on their political exhortations for limited taxation. There are now no restraints on how Congress may hook up vacuum hoses to our wallets, our assets, our future earnings, and prospects for life and liberty.

Read more at American Thinker 

Ezra Dulis recommends at Breitbart:

Electoral victory and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will not be enough to end this push toward government control of healthcare. Even if the bill is repealed and replaced, the electoral winds need only change for a single Congress to pass the legislation again, citing this SCOTUS precedent. Inevitably, the agencies required to enforce the act or a variant of it will become too firmly entwined to citizens’ lives for a lasting solution through the U.S. code or executive order.

To gain ground in the fight against civic illiteracy on this scale, it will take nothing less than a Constitutional Amendment to–and I cannot believe this phrase must be written–prohibit the federal government from taxing mere human existence.

Read more at Breitbart

Palin — Beyond Death Panels: ObamaCare Officially Largest Tax Hike in History

How The Power To Tax Destroys

We Are Not Locking You Up for Disobedience; We Are Locking You Up for Failing to Pay the Tax on Disobedience

Supreme Court Rules Mandate Is A Tax, Obamacare Constitutional

Why the 16th Amendment Should Be Repealed

The Income Tax and Government Spending

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Senate Passes Bill to Let IRS Take Passports From Tardy Taxpayers

More Power for the IRS: When Will the Taxman Come for You?

View on YouTube

The IRS has WAAYY to much power as it is, to violate the 4th Amendment and seize private property without due process.  Now they want the unconstitutional power to restrict freedom of movement, as well!

Henry J. Reske reports at Newsmax:

 A Senate amendment to the highway bill that would give the IRS the power to lift the passports of American citizens who owe more than $50,000 in back taxes is drawing heat on the House side of the Capitol as an abridgement of due process rights.

The measure, included in the two-year, $100 billion bill, sailed through the Senate with little notice on a bipartisan 74-22 vote. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, tried to kill the amendment in the Senate Finance Committee markup of the highway bill — to no avail.

The passport provision is reportedly the brainchild of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. However, e-mails and phone messages about the issue to Reid’s staff have gone unanswered.

According to Senate Finance Committee background information, if the IRS certifies that a person has “seriously delinquent taxes,” defined as in excess of $50,000, the secretary of state can determine “whether to issue, deny, renew or revoke a passport.”

The proposal, if adopted by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, would go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

House Judiciary Committee member Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said the measure endangers due process rights and empowers the IRS to administratively restrict travel rights without a judicial hearing.

“Everyone is entitled to their day in court,” he said. “Tax evasion is inexcusable, but this provision would enable the IRS to administratively deny an American’s ability to travel without first being found guilty of any crime in a court of law.

“We have in place, certain constitutional protections for every American citizen, and the right to fair trial is central among them. Be warned, if this provision is included in the final passage, we have given the IRS a grip over our constitutionally protected due process rights.”

Read more on Newsmax.com

IRS Might Have Stalinist Powers Under New Law

Why the 16th Amendment Should Be Repealed

The Income Tax Really Is Evil

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The Income Tax Really Is Evil

The income tax, like property taxes, are a direct assault on the basic unalienable right of private property.

J. Bracken Lee writes at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute:

This was, to be sure, “the home of the free and the land of the brave.” Americans were free simply because the government was too weak to intervene in the private affairs of the people — it did not have the money to do so — and they were brave because a free people is always venturesome. The obligation of freedom is a willingness to stand on your own feet.

The early American wanted it that way. He was wary of government, especially one that was out of his reach. He had just rid himself of a faraway and self-sufficient political establishment and he was not going to tolerate anything like it in his newly founded country. He recognized the need of some sort of government, to keep order, to protect him in the exercise of his rights, and to look after his interests in foreign lands. But he wanted it understood that the powers of that government would be clearly defined and be limited; it could not go beyond specified limits. It was in recognition of this fear of centralized power that the Founding Fathers put into the Constitution — it never would have been ratified without them — very specific restraints on the federal government.

In other matters, the early American was willing to put his faith in home government, in a government of neighbors, in a government that one could keep one’s eyes on and, if necessary, lay one’s hands on. For that reason, the United States was founded as a Union of separate and autonomous commonwealths. The states could go in for any political experiments the folks might want to try out — even socialism, for that matter — but the federal government had no such leeway. After all, there were other states nearby, and if a citizen did not like the way one state government was managing its affairs, he could move across the border; that threat of competition would keep each state from going too far in making changes or in intervening in the lives of the citizens.

The Constitution, then, kept the federal government off balance and weak. And a weak government is the corollary of a strong people.

The Sixteenth Amendment changed all that. In the first place, by enabling the federal government to put its hands into the pockets and pay envelopes of the people, it drew their allegiance away from their local governments. It made them citizens of the United States rather than of their respective states. Theft loyalty followed theft money, which was now taken from them not by their local representatives, over whom they had some control, but by the representatives of the other forty-seven states. They became subject to the will of the central government, and their state of subjection was emphasized by every increase in the income tax levies.

The state governments likewise lost more and more of their autonomy. Not only was their source of revenue being dried up by federal preemption, so that they had less and less for the social services a government should provide, but they were compelled in their extremity to apply to the central authorities for help. In so doing they necessarily gave up some of their independence. They found it difficult to stand up to the institution from which they had to beg grants-in-aid. Furthermore, the federal government was in position to demand subservience from the state governments as a condition for subventions. It has now become politically wise for governors, legislators, and congressmen to “play ball” with the central government; they have been reduced to being procurement officers for the citizens who elect them. The economic power which the federal government secured by the Sixteenth Amendment enabled it to bribe the state governments, as well as the citizens, into submission to its will.

In that way, the whole spirit of the Union and of its Constitution has been liquidated. Income taxation has made of the United States as completely centralized a nation as any that went before it; the very kind of establishment the Founding Fathers abhorred was set up by this simple change in the tax laws. This is no longer the “home of the free,” and what bravery remains is traceable to a tradition that is fast losing ground.

For those of us who still believe that freedom is best, the way is clear: we must concentrate on the correction of the mistake of 1913. The Sixteenth Amendment must be repealed. Nothing less will do. For it is only because it has this enormous revenue that the federal government is able to institute procedures that violate the individual’s right to himself and his property; enforcement agencies must be paid. With the repeal of the amendment, the socialistic measures visited upon us these past thirty years will vanish.

The purchase of elections with federal money will no longer be possible. And the power and dignity of the home governments will be restored.

Read more at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute

The Right To Earn A Living

How about No Taxes at All?

Why the 16th Amendment Should Be Repealed

The Income Tax and Government Spending

It’s Time To Repeal the 16th Amendment

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Who Benefits From Cronyism In The Tax Code?

View on YouTube

From EconomicFreedom.org:

How is our tax code influenced by special interests?

Randall Holcombe, Professor of Economics explains how cronyism in the tax code can benefit special interest groups, and he discusses how we can address this cronyism by reducing the spending power of the government.

“If you really want to understand the nature of our tax code, don’t ask yourself, ‘Why aren’t these provisions in the public interest?’ That’s not how taxes are passed. Ask yourself, ‘Who benefits from these taxes, and how much political power do they have?'” — Professor Randall Holcombe

H/T Mike Kubinec

Why There is ‘Too Much’ Money in Elections

How about No Taxes at All?

Why the 16th Amendment Should Be Repealed

The Income Tax and Government Spending

DOJ Threatens To Withhold Federal Funding From Alabama If It Enforces Immigration Law

There’s a reason why our founders didn’t give the federal government the authority to subsidize or directly tax. Since the 16th Amendment, federal money has been consistently used to bribe, control and usurp the powers of the sovereign states.   This is just the latest disgusting example.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Department of Justice is sending every law enforcement agency in Alabama a reminder letter. The missives, mailed out Friday, are intended to warn local sheriffs and police chiefs to tread carefully when enforcing a key provision of that state’s controversial immigration law. About 156 agencies in Alabama receive federal funding that could be put in jeopardy if they are found to violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under the new state law, police are required to arrest anyone they believe to be in the United States illegally. The law means police are essentially checking the immigration status of anyone pulled over during a routine traffic stop.

So far, that provision appears to be causing some serious headaches for local and state officials. Last month, a Japanese employee on a temporary assignment at a Honda plant was cited when he was stopped by police at a routine roadblock even though the employee provided officers with a valid international driver’s license and his Japanese passport. And a German executive with Mercedes-Benz was arrested after a traffic stop. The man provided police with his German identification. The man was later released after he was able to provide authorities a copy of his passport and a driver’s license.

It’s little wonder that some local officials aren’t happy with the new rules. Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson told the Wall Street Journal that he was worried that enforcing the new provision was intruding on his agency’s resources for something “that is really the job of the federal government.”

Read more at the LA Times

H/T Weasel Zippers

Democrats join DOJ suit against Alabama immigration law

Obama Slashed Spending on Border Security – Leaving 1,300 Miles of Mexico Border Unfenced

ICE Headquarters Ordered Agents Not to Arrest Illegals – Including Fugitives

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Left Tries an End-Run Around the Electoral College

Our constitution was designed with checks and balances for a reason, and the Electoral College is important to prevent the tyranny of the majority over the minority.

Dr. Paul Moreno observes at Big Government:

Liberals have concocted yet another method to get around the founders’ Constitution. They plan to elect the President in 2012 on the basis of the national popular vote, rather than by a majority of the electoral college.

Although earlier progressive innovations have confused the process, the Constitution is quite clear that the President is chosen by electors, appointed by each state “in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct.” Like the bicameral Congress, the presidency was infused with federalism—the states as states would have a role to play in the choice of the chief executive.

Indeed, the framers expected that, after George Washington, few men would have sufficient stature to command an electoral college majority. Thus the President would be chosen by the House of Representatives, by a special method in which each state delegation would cast one vote. But in time, the political parties produced a system in which the popular vote majority almost always was the electoral vote majority.

More important, the founders wanted to make sure that the President could not claim to embody the people. The presidential election would not be a plebiscite, of the kind that produced Caesar, Napoleon, or other demagogic dictators.

In short, the Electoral College would keep the President a constitutional president—limited and balanced by the other levels and branches of the constitutional system.


This system has frustrated big-government liberals who envisioned the President as the head of a European-style centralized bureaucratic state. Proposals to abolish the Electoral College perennially arose. Today, they arise from Democrats who still believe that George W. Bush stole the 2000 election.

But a legitimate constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College would be all but impossible. The less populous states derive more electoral power from the fact that electors are apportioned on the basis of total congressional representation—the number of representatives (derived from population) plus the number of senators (derived from state equality). At the extremes, California has over twelve percent of the nation’s population, but only about ten percent of the electoral vote; Wyoming has 0.18% of the population but 0.56% of the electoral vote. Overall, about eighteen states suffer slightly reduced electoral college power, while about thirty-two gain electoral college voting strength.

So the current scheme is the “National Popular Vote Initiative.” It aims to have a number of states with an electoral college majority agree to cast their electoral votes to whomever wins a national popular vote majority. To date, eight states and the District of Columbia, having 132 electoral votes—about half the required total—have signed on. California and Illinois are the largest.

The principal problem is that this effort to circumvent the Constitution’s electoral college provision, and to evade the Constitution’s amendment provision, is itself unconstitutional.

As Pepperdine University Professor Derek Muller points out in the Election Law Journal, the National Popular Vote Initiative is an interstate compact. Article I, section 10 of the Constitution says that “No state shall, without the consent of Congress… enter into any agreement or compact with another state.”

NPVI advocates deny that their gambit is an interstate compact requiring congressional consent. They rely on Supreme Court rulings that hold that the compacts clause “cannot be read literally.” They claim that the compact clause was only intended to prevent the states from usurping powers that belong to the United States.

But, as Muller points out, the smaller, non-compacting states lose political power by this compact, and certainly have an interest in stopping it. The NPVI says that “Because there would undoubtedly be time-consuming litigation about this aspect of the compact, National Popular Vote is working to introduce a bill in Congress for congressional consent.” The likelihood of congressional consent before the 2012 election differs insignificantly from zero.

The Supreme Court has never considered an interstate compact that concerned voting before, and the NPVI could send us into another electoral crisis like that of 2000—like many other progressive initiatives, exacerbating the problem it proposed to solve. Does anyone really believe that California or New York would abide by its pledge if a Republican won the national popular vote? Would not they suddenly develop constitutional scruples and renege? The NPVI would be unenforceable.

The National Popular Vote movement dislikes the fact that a president can achieve an electoral vote majority with a popular vote minority. This happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. (It is worth remarking that many Democrats expected Al Gore to carry Florida and win an electoral college majority with a popular minority—and that the early calls of a Gore victory probably depressed Bush’s popular vote.) One can make a fair case along this line. But that does not alter the fact that the Constitution provides for it. And this Constitution still represents the consent of the sovereign people of the United States until amended, as George Washington put it, by some “explicit and authentic act.”

Protecting the Electoral College from the National Popular Vote Scheme

‘Progressive’ Republicans willing to consider dismantling Electoral College

The Obama Campaign Team’s Electoral College Obsession

Electoral College Attack Leads to Voter Fraud

Electoral Collage: Next part of the constitution to go

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Protecting the Electoral College from the National Popular Vote Scheme

Eliminating the Electoral College is their next strategy for “fundamentally transforming America” into a direct Democracy instead of a Constitutional Republic – and they’re halfway there.

Hans von Spakovsky writes at the Heritage Foundation:

The “National Popular Vote” plan (NPV) is a scheme that would effectively abolish the Electoral College without going through the formal (and politically difficult) process of amending the Constitution. The NPV proposes an interstate compact in which participating states agree in advance to automatically allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote (the highest vote getter, even if only a plurality), disregarding the popular vote results in their states.

The NPV supposedly would go into effect as soon as “states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes” needed to win an election (270 votes) join the purported compact. This would give the voters of as few as 11 states control over the outcome of presidential elections and give the most populous states a controlling majority of the Electoral College.

Unfortunately, eight state legislatures and the District of Columbia have agreed to participate in this politically dubious, unconstitutional, and dangerous cartel. The NPV is already 49 percent of the way to the goal of 270 electoral votes and forcing even nonparticipating states into this drastic change in the Electoral College.

The NPV compact is not only unconstitutional, but it is also bad public policy that would undermine the protections of the Electoral College. It would diminish the influence of smaller states and rural areas of the country; lead to more recounts, contentious fights over provisional ballots, and conflicts over the results of presidential elections; and encourage voter fraud. It could also radicalize American politics and lead to Presidents who are elected with very small pluralities, or who failed to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It strikes directly at the Founders’ view of federalism and a representative republic that balances popular sovereignty with structural protections for state governments and minority interests.

As part of its “Preserve the Constitution” series, the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation is going to have a presentation on the NPV on Friday, October 28. We will be discussing the original purposes of the Electoral College and their relevance today, as well as the effect the NPV would have on our system of electing the President.

I will be joining Trent England, vice president of policy at the Freedom Foundation, as well as Michael Uhlmann of the Department of Politics and Policy at Claremont Graduate School in California, to talk about this very important issue. The event will be hosted and moderated by Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan.

‘Progressive’ Republicans willing to consider dismantling Electoral College

The Obama Campaign Team’s Electoral College Obsession

Electoral College Attack Leads to Voter Fraud

Electoral Collage: Next part of the constitution to go

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Herman Cain: 9 responses to 9 false attacks on 9-9-9

Herman Cain defends his plan at World Net Daily:

Do you know why candidates for office tend to be reluctant to propose detailed plans? Because they know the plans will be flyspecked and picked apart by just about everyone. Inviting criticism doesn’t help you to get votes.

But fear of criticism prevents you from conceiving solutions to problems. So even if avoidance of criticism helps in propelling you to an election victory, how are you supposed to effectively govern? How are you supposed to fix the problems you told everyone you were going to fix?

That’s why I’m happy to see so much criticism of the 9-9-9 plan I’ve proposed. It shows that people are thinking seriously about a substantive idea. When people stop obsessing over “gaffes” and campaign strategy, and start honing in on fixing the country’s economic problems, we are getting somewhere.

This is not to say, of course, I’m going to leave poorly founded criticisms of the plan unanswered. Certain objections to the plan are circulating in the usual places, driven by the same kind of thinking that has left us with a stagnant economy, $14 trillionindebtand mounting entitlement obligations. These criticisms deserve responses, and here they are:

Claim No. 1: The 9 percentsalestax, which is one-third of the formula, is regressive and hurts the poor, many of whom pay nofederalincometaxesnow.

Response: This claim ignores some important aspects of the plan. One is that we eliminate the 15 percent payroll tax, which allows for no deductions at all – not even forcharitablecontributions. Some critics have argued that the poor still come out behind because employers pay much of the payroll tax. That demonstrates a basic misunderstanding about how compensation works in the business world. An employer decides to accept a certain cost-of-employment for each employee, and the employer’s share of the payroll tax is part of that cost. It comes out of your compensation whether you realize it or not. Also, a flat tax is not – by definition – a regressive tax. Everyone pays the same rate. And it is not an added tax, but a replacement tax, whose total burden is determined by the consumer’s spending decisions.

Finally, the best way to help the poor is by spurring economic growth, which the currenttaxcodewill never do, and which the 9-9-9 plan is specifically designed to do.

Claim No. 2: Creating a new tax is merely setting the stage for higher rates on all taxes, as untrustworthy politicians will surely raise them.

Response: First of all, that is not a criticism of the 9-9-9 plan. It is a criticism of politicians. If you don’t want the rates raised, don’t elect politicians who will raise them. Even if we repealed the 16th Amendment and eliminated theincometax, as some demand in return for establishing a consumption tax, politicians could raise that rate, too. What’s far more important here is the fact that the very simple, flat-rate structure of the 9-9-9 plan, which allows no deductions, loopholes orexemptions(with the exception of charitable contributions for the income tax), is a far more growth-friendly tax structure than the mangled mess of rates, taxes, exemptions and ill-conceived incentives we have today. It virtually eliminates the massive compliance costs of the current tax code, and it restrains the size of government.

By taking away the politicians’ gateway drug of loopholes and deductions, we make it much more difficult for them to mess with the tax code. Having said that, any plan could be criticized for what it would look like if someone messed it up. The plan as I’m proposing it is a huge improvement over the status quo.

Claim No. 3: The plan redistributes wealth from the poor to the rich.

Response: It does no such thing. It is fair and neutral, taxing everything once and nothing twice. What’s more, we are getting ready to propose empowerment zones for economically struggling areas in which the rates will be even lower. That will allow the poor to benefit even more from the plan than they already would.

Claim No. 4: The plan should have included a pre-bate to offset the sales tax.

Response: The last thing we need is to establish another federal entitlement, which the proposed pre-bate would quickly become. And it’s not necessary. The consumption tax replaces ones already embedded in prices. It’s not the prices that would increase, but the visibility of the taxes being paid. Right now, money is deducted from your paycheck and you never see it, so it doesn’t feel like you paid a tax. But you did. With the 9-9-9 plan, you feel it, and I suspect a good many people who clamor for higher taxes will start to feel differently as a result. But they won’t be paying more than before. They’ll just be more aware of it.

Claim No. 5: The business tax represents a new tax on labor.

Response: Paul Krugman of the New York Times makes this claim because we do not allow businesses to deduct the cost of labor from their taxable revenue. But the claim is bogus for several reasons. First, we are reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 9 percent, so the tradeoff is a much lower rate paid on more of a company’s income. Second, we treat capital and labor the same, both with the corporate tax and with the income tax. That is fair and neutral. What’s more, the current system taxes both capital investment by business andcapitalgainsby individuals. That’s a double tax, and the 9-9-9 plan eliminates it.

Claim No. 6: The numbers don’t add up. The 9-9-9 tax wouldn’t generate enough revenue.

Response: Several groups apparently “ran the numbers” and came to this conclusion, including Bloomberg News and the Center for American Progress. Our report, which they do not appear to have read, demonstrates that it generates the same revenue as the current tax code, and our methodology is visible for anyone to see. Those who are making this claim should release their scoring so their methodology is as visible as ours.

Claim No. 7: The 9-9-9 plan is a really an 18 percent value-added tax plus a 9 percent income tax.

Response: That’s an argument? That some might be able to give it a disagreeable label? What we have done is split the incidence of the tax so it is harder to evade – since you’d have to dodge two taxes, not just one, to save the 18 percent. And by eliminating loopholes we’ve made that virtually impossible to do anyway. I don’t really care what people call it. What matters is how it works.

Claim No. 8: Some people (like Herman Cain) who may live off capital gains, would pay no income taxes. Is that fair?

Response: First, one of the benefits of the 9-9-9 plan is that, even if someone doesn’t pay much or any of one of the taxes, he or she is still likely affected by the other two. More to the point, though, everyone has the same opportunity to work hard, earn capital and put that capital at risk. Whatever I have earned has come from hard work, good decisions (and some bad ones), a willingness to take risks and a constant honing of strategy. Nothing is stopping anyone else from doing the same thing. I realize many are being told there are no opportunities available to them, but that is not true and I wish people – for their own sakes – would stop listening to such doom and gloom and come to understand all the opportunity that truly exists, and learn how to access it.

Claim No. 9: It won’t pass.

Response: Politicians propose things that can pass. Problem-solvers propose things that can work. One of the worst instincts of Washington types is to judge an idea not on its substantive merits, but on their perception of its political viability. I do not underestimate the challenge of getting any good idea through Congress, but I have said all along that if you propose a good idea, and the people understand the idea, they will pressure Congress to pass it.

So there. I welcome the robust discussion and the many questions that are being raised about the 9-9-9 plan. Asked and answered. What else do you want to know?

Republicans: Dismiss the Herman Cain Tax Plan at Your Peril

Is Herman Cain’s ’9-9-9′ Tax Reform Plan Unconstitutional?

Herman Cain: 9-9-9 is pro-growth, pro-jobs

Mark Levin: I can support Cain’s 999 plan if we repeal 16th amendment

Should conservatives back the 9-9-9 plan?

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Republicans: Dismiss the Herman Cain Tax Plan at Your Peril

Larry Kudlow has some sage words of advice for Herman Cain’s Republican critics:

Herman Cain is the only GOP presidential candidate who wants to kill the tax code. That’s right. Put a knife in it. Junk the entire system. And people are cheering as he rises in the polls in his quest for the nomination.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is not perfect. But then again, the good should never be the enemy of the perfect.

Congressman Paul Ryan gives the plan a thumbs-up. Supply-side mentor Art Laffer tells me it would be “far, far better than the current system.” And Chris Chocola, president of the free-market Club for Growth, calls it “a truly revolutionary tax reform that would amount to a massive job-creating tax cut on investments, savings, and income.”

As the world now knows, 9-9-9 translates to a 9 percent income-tax rate, a 9 percent value-added net sales tax rate on business, and a 9 percent national sales tax overall. Like many conservatives, I am troubled by the national-sales-tax piece. It reminds me too much of Europe. It could start low and then build on top of the other taxes. But I totally support the first two nines on personal income and business. In my view, these are vast improvements.

For his part, Cain argues that the sales-tax nine would pick up revenue and help to lower the rate for everybody, especially the middle class. His economic adviser Rich Lowrie told me in a CNBC interview that the sales tax is a replacement tax, not an add-on tax like you’d find at the state level. This is a key point. Lowrie said, “All we are doing is pulling out taxes that are invisible. We’re cutting the rates. We’re putting them back in at lower rates.”

Lowrie is referring to the payroll tax, which in the Cain plan will go from 15 to 9 percent. That constitutes a net tax cut and a good deal more transparency regarding costs and prices that are embedded in the current code. I’m not sure I buy into this point entirely, but it’s an interesting argument.

Liberals oppose the sales tax because they say its regressivity will hurt middle- and low-income people. But the Cain plan partially deals with this by exempting everybody below the poverty line. Cain also states that sales of existing goods would be exempt. I have no knowledge, however, of the treatment of services, and I am somewhat skeptical about enforcement complexity overall.

Nevertheless, a mammoth drop in marginal tax rates for individuals (35 to 9 percent, or 18 percent including the sales tax) and for businesses (also 35 to 9 percent) would supply an incredibly strong economy-wide growth incentive.

Lowrie argued further that the 9-9-9 plan will add $2 trillion to U.S. GDP, create six million jobs, increase business investment by a third, and lift wages by 10 percent. “And if you fold all that growth together,” said Lowrie, “federal revenues go up by 15 percent.”

I’m still a flat-tax guy, and I can’t vouch for these numbers. But I can vouch for the proposition that greater marginal incentives will drive economic growth into high gear. I know there are many skeptics on this. But as always, I point to the Harding-Coolidge-Mellon tax cuts of the 1920s, the John F. Kennedy tax cuts of the 1960s, and the Ronald Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s.

Remember, too, that the Cain tax plan would eliminate the double-tax on saving and investment by removing capital gains, estates, and dividends from the tax code. All this would throw off strong economic incentives.

Given the current economic malaise, which in large part can be traced to the weakened balance-sheets and net-worths of families suffering from the multi-year slump in stock prices and home values, increasing returns to saving and investment through a much lower marginal tax rate will boost asset values. Just what the doctor ordered.

As for businesses, not only would they get a globally super-competitive 9 percent tax rate, but they’d receive 100 percent expensing for new purchases of capital equipment.

Former Treasury hands Gary and Aldona Robbins priced out the Cain plan on a static basis and discovered it to be revenue neutral. Essentially they found a $26 trillion tax base yielding $2.3 trillion in revenue for a 9.1 percent overall rate. Hence, 9-9-9.

In essence, the Cain plan combines the flat tax (with its single marginal rate) and the fair tax (which uses the national sales tax). I don’t know if this is really possible. But in terms of first principles, throwing out the tax code, lowering marginal tax rates, getting rid of the carve-outs and deductions that make the current code impossible to understand, and providing an economic-growth tonic to heal our current funk, it makes a lot of sense.

That Herman Cain is rising in the polls is no surprise.

Cain Now Leads GOP Pack

Is Herman Cain’s ’9-9-9′ Tax Reform Plan Unconstitutional?

Herman Cain: 9-9-9 is pro-growth, pro-jobs

Mark Levin: I can support Cain’s 999 plan if we repeal 16th amendment

Should conservatives back the 9-9-9 plan?

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Is Herman Cain’s ‘9-9-9’ Tax Reform Plan Unconstitutional?

9-9-9: A Vision for Economic Growth

View on YouTube

Cain could alter his 9-9-9 plan to eliminate any constitutional conflicts. Will he?

Ken Klukowski points out some possible flaws in Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan:

Herman Cain’s signature 9-9-9 proposal has two problems. First, it’s unconstitutional, and second, it’s not conservative because it transforms Washington from the head of a federal republic into a centralized ruling authority.

Cain proposes scrapping the current tax code, and replacing it with a 9 percent personal income tax, 9 percent corporate income tax, and 9 percent national sales tax.

After an unspecified period of time, the income and corporate taxes would be dropped, and everyone would pay a 30 percent (not 23 percent, as some claim) sales tax.

Cain is right that the federal tax system requires fundamental overhaul and he’s not the first Republican presidential candidate to propose doing so. But the third part of this formula — 9 percent sales tax — would include taxing state and local governments, which spend many billions of dollars every year in purchases.

But it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to tax state governments. States are sovereign, coequal with the federal government. Taxing states therefore violates the 10th Amendment.

In its seminal 1819 case McCullough v. Maryland, the Supreme Court famously declared “that the power to tax involves the power to destroy.” If the federal government can tax the states when performing core functions, then the federal government can destroy the states.

Some federal taxation overlaps state activity. And two Supreme Court cases (from 1946 and 1985) can be read as authorizing Cain’s proposal.

But the 1985 case, Garcia v. San Antonio Metro. Transit, was a 5 to 4 liberal decision eviscerating the 10th Amendment, and which the 26 states in the Obamacare litigation are asking the Supreme Court to overrule.

In dissent, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote, “The true essence of federalism is that the states as states have legitimate interests which the National Government is bound to respect … this Court cannot abdicate its constitutional responsibility to oversee the Federal Government’s [not violating the autonomy of] the States.”

Justice William Rehnquist added in dissent that Garcia would eventually be overruled because respecting state sovereignty, “will, I am confident, in time again command the support of a majority of this Court.”

Even if Cain modifies 9-9-9 to exclude states — instead increasing taxes on people and businesses — another aspect is unconstitutional. Cain says 9-9-9 can’t later become 12-12-12 because he’ll require the bill to specify that tax increases require a two-thirds vote in Congress.

Article I of the Constitution provides that legislation needs only 50 percent plus 1 to pass. Requiring two-thirds is unconstitutional. Any federal judge will strike it down in a heartbeat.

Even if it were constitutional, 9-9-9 is not conservative. Under the “fair tax” concept that Cain supports, in order to prevent the sales tax from becoming a crushing burden on low-income Americans, the federal government would issue “prebate” checks. These are monthly checks to all citizens to cover basic necessities.

Nothing is more antithetical to small government and federalism than relying upon the national government for your daily bread. It creates a permanent welfare state, in which every American becomes conditioned that it’s the proper role of government to provide for your food, clothes and housing.

In short, it turns a limited federal government into an inescapable centralized authority that citizens must depend upon, literally, for their daily bread.

Constitutional conservatism embraces the Founders’ system of government, key to which is that the federal government has only limited jurisdiction in the specific powers granted by the Constitution.

Contrast the big-government collectivism of prebate checks with Gov. Rick Perry’s pledge to make the federal government “as inconsequential in your lives” as possible. Conservatives believe in getting Washington out of your daily lives, not making you forever dependent on Washington.

Cain is bold and charismatic — a happy warrior.

But 9-9-9 doesn’t work. Noting that 9-9-9 is 6-6-6 upside down, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., quipped, “The devil is in the details.”

Republicans need constitutional conservative solutions. Holding 9-9-9 to that standard, Cain’s central proposal is neither constitutional, nor conservative.

Herman Cain explains his economic plan with salt shakers

Herman Cain: 9-9-9 is pro-growth, pro-jobs

Mark Levin: I can support Cain’s 999 plan if we repeal 16th amendment

Look Before You Leap on Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan

Should conservatives back the 9-9-9 plan?

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