A trio of Congressmen wants to repeal the 16th Amendment – an amendment that rarely makes headlines but deserves attention, particularly during the Thanksgiving season when we give thanks and look back at America’s history.
The law pertains to the tax system and perhaps most importantly – the IRS. Adopted in 1913, the amendment gives Congress the power to collect income taxes. For the first 137 years of America’s history, there was no tax on a person’s wages.
Republican Oklahoma Representative Jim Bridenstine is leading the charge to repeal and replace the 16th Amendment. The primary goal: to abolish the IRS. The GOP lawmaker contends that the Fourth Amendment is essentially negated by the 16th Amendment. The Fourth Amendment “protect the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, paper, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Representative Bridenstine, Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis, and Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie introduced House Joint Resolution 104 and start the process necessary to repeal and replace the 16th Amendment. They face an uphill battle, of course, but they say their cause is right.
The 16th Amendment should be repealed, and the IRS should be eliminated. Viable alternative plans for raising revenue fairly to support constitutionally enumerated functions of the federal government have been proposed. As long as the 16th Amendment is in place and lobbyists dominate Washington, these alternatives will never be considered. The income tax code has become too complex for citizens to understand, and the annual time and expense required to comply with the income tax code has become intolerably burdensome.
The Congressmen do not feel that abolishing the 16th Amendment would be a difficult or complicated process if the American people get behind it. House Joint Resolution 104 would eliminate the gift and estate taxes, taxes on investment earnings, and both personal and corporate income taxes. After the legislation gains approval there would be a two-year time period in which a new revenue system is crafted.
Bridenstine and his supporter also believe that personal and corporate income taxes amount to a “punitive tax” on Americans and discourages innovation, investment, “risk-taking and job formation.” The Congressman also stated that the current IRS tax code is unfair and is subjected to “endless manipulation” by those attempting to grab a political advantage. The bill is supported by Americans for Fair Taxation, Americans for Limited Government, Free Market America, Tea Party Patriots, and the Competitive Governance Action group.
Tea Party Patriots representative Jenny Beth Martin had this to say about the plan to abolish the IRS and the abuses of power the tax system has generated:
That’s why both parties claim to favor so-called tax reform. But their “reform” bills are just political double talk. The way to fix the broken tax system is to repeal the 16th Amendment which created it in the first place.
The Repeal 16 website was created to educate voters about the movement and as a venue to recruit volunteers to work at the grassroots level to ensure success.
An excerpt from the Repeal 16 website reads:
The data collected by the IRS is intrusive. If you’re concerned about the NSA collecting your phone calls, consider that every April 15 you hand over to the IRS data about how much money you make, where you make it, who you give it to, what you spend it on, your children and dependents, and so on. Concentrating so much power in a single agency [the IRS] is a bad design. The IRS has great discretion over how tax law is enforced – discretion that has been abused under multiple administrations, and both parties. The Tea Party suppression scandal is just the latest example of abuse. The current tax code is an incumbent’s delight. The link between the tax code, lobbying activity, political fundraising, and incumbent protection is both clear and dangerous to the nation’s future.
The authors and supporters of House Joint Resolution 104 say it is not necessary to know what will replace an income tax before repealing the amendment and abolishing the IRS. According to the Repeal 16 website, taking care of the “root problem” is the most important part of the equation. The website noted that before the 18th Amendment was repealed, ending prohibition, the federal government had not yet decided how to regulate alcohol.