The issue of direct v. indirect taxes has been debated in Congress beginning not long after the constitutional ink had dried. From page 1898 of The Annals of Congress (the 4th Congress, 1797) Representative Williams from New York was recorded as reminding Congress of the Roman example of direct v. indirect taxation.
"History, Mr. W. said, informed them of the annihilation of nations by means of direct taxation. He referred gentlemen to the situation of the Roman Empire in its innocence, and asked them whether they had any direct taxes? No. Indirect taxes and taxes upon the luxuries and spices from the Indies were their sources of revenue but, as soon as they changed their system to direct taxation, it operated to their ruin; their children were sold as slaves, and the Roman Empire fell from its splendor. Shall we then follow this system? He trusted not."
By the late 1800s and up until the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913 the people of this country demanded their legislators levy an income tax on accumulated wealth. This was because families such as the Camegies and the Morgans were virtually untaxed and controlling national politics with their vast and ever-increasing fortunes. By reading the Congressional Record, House and Senate documents, newspapers, magazines, law journal articles of the time and the writings of the people who were intimately involved in the development of the 16th Amendment, we will find that the intent was to tax the annual profit from unincorporated businesses and the net annual income from personal property. Wages and salaries from labor were not considered income within the original meaning and intent of the 16th Amendment.
Taxes on labor, as currently collected by the IRS as an "income" tax, cannot be described as anything other than a direct tax.
Senator Norris Brown from Nebraska, the man who wrote the 16th Amendment, defined clearly what income was and what the income tax was intended to accomplish. Not once did Sen. Brown mention that Congress intended to pass an amendment that would grant the federal government a new power to directly tax the wages or salaries of working people.
These comments are from the forward to the book, Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?
Read this book to discover how our civil leaders have defrauded you and the rest of the hard working people of this great nation of their hard-earned wages. They have squandered the money on social programs that have fostered laziness and bred criminals -- all for the sake of political power. You need to read the rest of the story -- Order your copy of the book today!
Much of the information presented in this work is taken directly from Congressional Record, court case opinions and court files. The information has been provided in this format to give the reader a new perspective on the income tax, based upon the intent of those who debated the issue at the time the 16th Amendment was offered for ratification. The author sees himself as only a messenger bringing forward information from established legal authorities.
The reader should realize that defending one's rights is risky, especially against big government. The right to pursue happiness has been denied to many Americans who have found themselves destitute after entanglements with the tax collector. How the reader uses the information in this book, either directly or indirectly, is not the responsibility of the author.
"There is no art which one government sooner learns of another, than that of draining money from the pockets of the people." Adam Smith (1776), Wealth of Nations, pg. 532 (Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York 1991)
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©2000 - 2005, Phil Hart