Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Response to Hunter's Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Hunter wrote a well-thought out piece detailing some Constitutional amendments that would basically restrict and clearly define the ability of the Federal Government to wage taxes on the public. It is probably more realistic than my ideas, but I think I can do better.

The goal for constitutionalists like myself are to reduce as best as we can the powers available to Federal government in lieu of the powers afforded to the people and to the State in which they choose to reside, in effect basing all power within the people (because people can choose not to live in a state with a nanny government and high taxes).

But to take the power out of Washington and return it to the states, you have to take the money out of Washington first, which is the basis of that power. He who has the gold makes the rules, as the saying goes.

So instead of a bunch of amendments to the Constitution that more clearly define taxation powers of the federal government (a noble idea that I am not wholly against to be honest), I would prefer prohibiting the ability of the federal government to directly tax the people completely and instead direct taxation on the states.

Consider this: the power of Federal regulations lies in the fact that states which do not adopt such regulations, such as EPA regulations or FDA regulations, forfeit money from the federal government to fund various state run programs (which are also regulated at the federal level more often than not).

So if Texas, for example, wants to be able to fund federally mandated ObamaCare, Texas must follow the rules set forth by that legislation and the bureaucracy set up by it, or Texas will not get federal funding to do so. And if Texas doesn't even want to implement ObamaCare, they will lose funding to all government programs most likely.

So the problem is that the Federal government has the ability to siphon money to the states, because they have their own direct form of revenue from the general public.

How about, instead of that, states only were allowed to directly tax the people, while the federal government taxes all states at a rate set by congress (and applicable to some of Hunter's ideas about four or eight year tax legislation limits), and the federal government was prohibited from providing any type of funding to states? This would leave federal power over states in a shambles and most likely cause the elimination of the vast majority of bureaucracy in federal government, in turn reducing the amount of revenue they even need.

Think about it: why is it the federal government runs welfare programs? In reality, they don't...they regulate them and fund them, but the states are really who have to pay for them. If the states follow the federal rules for those programs, then they get the money to fund them. If they don't, they are left holding the bag.

What if, instead of federal one-size-fits all programs, we had 50 such programs regulated by state governments that are closer to home and thus more politically accountable? And as happens in a free market system with competition (50 competitors in this case), the best systems will eventually rise to the top, while failed systems will cease to exist. In the current model, any system is put forth by the federal government and there is no ability to relocate away from it.

And even in the current system, you can see competition where states have control. Consider California and Texas. It costs a lot more to live in California than in Texas, and people are running to Texas. This is because the state legislators in California don't understand basic economics, while in Texas they are trying to boost the economy. Consider if taxes were solely at the discretion of states and how that would magnify this effect. And when the federal government could only pay for defense, justice, and the legislature, how their costs would fall, while welfare and unemployment and any other such social programs, as well as OSHA and EPA and FDA and the like are handled at the state level.

The answer here is to take the money out of the federal level and put it at the state level, as was originally intended (and was originally practiced). Let the feds tax the state coffers at some 2 or 3% rate, and the states set their own taxes. The federal government should never have the ability to tax the individual or the corporation. Only the states. Otherwise, we aren't really a republic, because states have no true power without absolute tax control.


  1. Keln, this is an excellent response, and you've given me & everyone a lot to chew over. Great job, and I hope to respond more substantially when I can.

    1. Thanks. I didn't want it to sound like I disregard your ideas because I don't. But I see your ideas as more constitutional hurdles which congress will overcome eventually. Without an amendment that flat out forbids the federal government from taxing individuals, they'll find a way.

    2. I think you're probably correct, and I didn't take it the wrong way, so please have no worries on that count.

  2. I had never thought of it quite like that, Keln. It makes sense. How could something like this be enacted?

    1. It can't. It is akin to asking politicians to commit Seppuku or asking a vampire to not drink blood anymore.

      Taxes are a politician's lifeblood.