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Showing posts from November, 2012

Why Income Taxes are What We Have

I've been reading various Facebook "memes" and blog postings complaining that the "wealthy" do not pay their "fair share" in taxes. These posts reveal a basic misunderstanding of the United States' historical approach to taxation, and the limits imposed on the government by the Constitution. The basic issue is that the taxes Congress can enact and collect are limited by the United States Constitution.

The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration. Notice what this simple, clear Amendment establishes as a Congressional power: "to lay and collect taxes on incomes." The Amendment is clear and concise. Congress can establish an income tax, in addition to its previous power to set and collect various import/export taxes. For much of this na…