Author Topic: Taxation and the Constitution  (Read 9995 times)

Offline penrod

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Re: Taxation and the Constitution
« Reply #60 on: March 09, 2014, 11:24:20 AM »

 Conservatives often speak of the left as having waged a "war-on-achievement" but, having been a part of the left for quite a number of years, in their thinking it's a "war-on-greed". They see greed as a consequence of selfishness. Many progressives abhor selfishness. In fact, this is what I didn't like about free-market enterprise in my progressive years. I considered it a selfish, greed-centered, Social Darwinist, "nice-guys-finish-last" economy of capitalist bad boys and I looked to the government to protect the underdog from capitalist bullies. Nowadays, I see greed as a unfortunate consequence of the free-market. I see the existence of hate speech is an unfortunate consequence of a free society, where everyone should have the right to speak freely; greed is also an unfortunate consequence of a free society where everyone should pursue success regardless of what motivates them. But I value a free society and so I will tolerate hate speech even if I condemn it. I believe that everyone should be able to pursue success and become wealthy even if I don't care for greed as a motivation.

I think it's possible that they could've. If they had similar knowledge to what we had today, I think they would've liked it. Had they known about the income tax and the desire of progressives to implement it as part of their "war-on-greed", they might have liked it or at least have been very sympathetic to it.

If you are speaking of the Founders I doubt it. They did not want this big over bloated Federal Government. Hence no need for adsorbent taxation.

Though the authenticity of this speech may be in doubt but not its message. It should be required reading in high school. As should Atlas Shrugged :)

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."


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