The power to tax ... and revolt
By Mark Alexander
On December 16th, 1773, "radicals" from Boston, members of a secret organization of American Patriots called the Sons of Liberty, boarded three East India Company ships and threw into Boston Harbor 342 chests of tea.
This iconic event, in protest of oppressive British taxation and tyrannical rule, became known as the Boston Tea Party. Resistance to the Crown had been mounting over enforcement of the 1764 Sugar Act, 1765 Stamp Act and 1767 Townshend Act, which led to the Boston Massacre and gave rise to the slogan, "No taxation without representation."
The 1773 Tea Act and resulting Tea Party protest galvanized the Colonial movement opposing British parliamentary acts, which violated the natural, charter and constitutional rights of the colonists. In response to the rebellion, the British enacted additional punitive measures, labeled the "Intolerable Acts," in hopes of suppressing the burgeoning insurrection. Far from accomplishing their desired outcome, however, the Crown's countermeasures led colonists to convene the First Continental Congress on September 5th, 1774, in Philadelphia.
Near midnight on April 18th, 1775, Paul Revere departed Charlestown (near Boston) for Lexington and Concord in order to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other Sons of Liberty that the British army was marching to arrest them and seize their weapons caches. While Revere was captured after reaching Lexington, his friend, Samuel Prescott, was able to evade the Red Coats and took word to the militiamen at Concord. In the early dawn of that first Patriots' Day, April 19th, Captain John Parker, commander of the Lexington militia, ordered, "Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they want a war let it begin here." That it did -- American Minutemen fired the "shot heard round the world," as immortalized by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, confronting British Regulars on Lexington Green and at Concord's Old North Bridge. Thus, by the time the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10th, 1775, the young nation was in open war for liberty and independence, which would not be won until a full decade later.
Today, the tax burden borne by most Americans, even those who pay no direct federal taxes but at the least pay a great hidden cost in federal regulation, is far greater than that which incited our Founders to revolution. Thus, some 221 years after the ratification of our Constitution, Americans are once again at a crossroads with oppressive centralized government -- a point at which we must choose to turn up toward liberty or down toward tyranny and anarchy.
Those at the helm of the federal government, by way of generations of overreaching executive orders, legislative malfeasance and judicial diktat, have abandoned their sacred oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Although our Constitution provides the People with an authentic means for amendment as prescribed in Article V, successive generations of leftists have, by way of legislation, regulation and activist courts, altered that august founding convention well beyond any semblance of its original intent.
Consequently, they have undermined constitutional Rule of Law, supplanting it with the rule of men.
They have done so in order to win the allegiance of special interest constituencies, which then ensure perpetual re-election of their sponsors in return for political and economic agendas structured on Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collectivism.
How have leftist politicians succeeded in this assault? They accomplished this through direct taxation on an ever-smaller number of Americans for the benefit of an ever-larger number of Americans -- "progressive taxation" and "social justice" as the Left so self-righteously calls it. So, shouldn't those who have more give to those who have less?
Well, yes, in my humble opinion, but individuals should rightly be left to decide how best to use their resources for the benefit of others. And in this respect, Americans are the most generous people on earth and from any time of human history.
However, Barack Hussein Obama, an ideological Marxist, believes that government should be the ultimate arbiter for the redistribution of wealth. Indeed, he said as much on the campaign trail in 2008. Obama claims our economy is "out of balance," and our tax policies "badly skewed."
To resolve this, he says we need a "tax policy making sure that everybody benefits, fair distribution, a restoration of balance in our tax code, money allocated fairly..."
By this, of course, he means "redistribution."
It's not enough that 20 percent of Americans are already forced to fund 80 percent of the cost of bloated government largess; if Obama can saddle them with 100 percent of this cost, then he could anoint himself king.
Never mind that progressive taxation constitutes, in effect, a "Bill of Attainder" as outlawed by Article I, Section 9, of our Constitution. Who in Washington these days pays that venerable old parchment any mind?
As devoted socialist George Bernard Shaw acknowledged, "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul," which is the template for a bloodless socialist revolution.
Free enterprise "doesn't require much thought or ingenuity"?
Only in the distorted worldview of a "community organizer" and lifelong adherent of Marxist doctrine could such an absurd assertion originate.
The current debacle of progressive taxation is the result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's class-warfare decree: "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle."
We beg to differ. Roosevelt's "principle" was no more American than Obama's. Roosevelt was merely paraphrasing Karl Marx, whose maxim declared, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
At the time Marx was formulating his collectivist manifesto, classical liberal Claude Frederic Bastiat, a prominent 19th-century political economist, wrote, "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. ... Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve. But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn't belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another... Then abolish that law without delay; No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic."
Now, according to Heritage Foundation's Index of Dependence on Government, "Despite the famed 1996 Welfare Reform Act and the more recent welfare adjustments in 2006, 60.8 million Americans remain dependent on the government for their daily housing, food, and health care. Starting in 2016, Social Security will not collect enough in taxes to pay all of the promised benefits -- which is a problem for all workers, but especially for the roughly half of the American workforce that has no other retirement program. Add in spiraling academic grants, flat-out farm socialism, and the swelling ranks of Americans who believe themselves entitled to public-sector benefits for which they pay few or no taxes -- and Americans must ask themselves whether they are near a tipping point in the nature of their government." (Also see How the Tax Code is Expanding Government.)
Perversely, almost half of all American workers pay no income tax per the current tax code scheme, though under the Obama plot many now qualify for a tax refund.
Once a majority of Americans can be "protected" from a tax burden, they will ignore the constitutional, moral and civic implications of "progressive taxation."
The fact is that the only way to ensure fiscal accountability at the federal level is to directly spread the cost of government to a much broader number of taxpayers so all Americans "feel the pain." Of course, the Left understands that in order to escape any fiscal accountability, they need only ensure that the cost of government is borne by a targeted minority of income earners.
Obama is now poised to propose the implementation of a supplemental value-added tax, a national sales tax. Though this would seemingly spread the cost of government to all Americans (precisely what liberals want to avoid), Obama's VAT coupled with the myriad proposed exempt products and "rebates" to the "poor," would most assuredly be yet another avenue for the central government to use the tax code to bludgeon a minority of consumers in order to expand its authority and constituencies.
Vladimir Lenin asserted, "The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation."
If I could emphasize but one point, it would be this: The Left has bankrupted the nation and the bill for freeloading on others is coming due. It will most certainly be paid back in the currency of liberty.
The time is at hand when we must inquire with a unified voice: "If there is no constitutional authority for most laws and regulations enacted by Congress and enforced by the central government, then by what authority do those entities lay and collect taxes to fund such laws and regulations?"
Two centuries later, Ronald Reagan similarly affirmed, "There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. ... You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."
Which will it be?
The cause of, and necessity for, the American Revolution was the violation of fundamental rights, those to which Americans and all peoples are entitled by the Laws of Nature and Nature's God.
Unjust taxation was the catalyst for the first American Revolution. Today, once again, our fundamental rights are being violated by unjust taxation for purposes not authorized by our Constitution.
There is a groundswell of protest across the nation, which is far more powerful than what Obama dismissed as "malcontents" who are "waving their little teabags."
Millions of American Patriots are, "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, mutually pledging to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor," in our endeavor to restore our Constitution's integrity and the Rule of Law.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!