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On Congress’ Power To Tax

May 31, 2012 by  

Senate Republicans are softening their “hard-line stance against raising tax revenues to slash the deficit, with a number of Republicans willing to go further than their party’s standard-bearer in the face of a looming showdown over the budget,” Politico reported yesterday.

In English, this means tax increases are on the horizon. This is not surprising. Cutting government and returning it to its Constitutional mandates does not compute for the Washington, D.C., criminal class. So government grows. And to pay for it all, Americans are fed the illusion that they must pay for its growth.

The Founders were very concerned about the prospects of giving Congress the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…”

In fact, the primary opposition to the general welfare clause (which, it turns out, is the most abused clause in the Constitution) came not from the clause itself, but the power given Congress for taxing for the “general welfare.”

Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts was one of many who spoke against it when he said, “The legislature could not be trusted with such a power. It might ruin the country. It might be exercised partially, raising one and depressing another part of it.”

The power was a source of contention during the State ratifying conventions as well. Samuel Spencer of North Carolina said the power was “too extensive, as it embraces all possible powers of taxation and gives up to Congress every possible article of taxation that can ever happen.” Abraham White of Massachusetts said, “In giving this power, we give up every thing; and Congress, with the purse-strings in their hands, will use the sword with a witness.” William Bodman of Massachusetts questioned “whether it was necessary to give Congress the power to do harm, in order to enable them to do good.”

Massachusetts’s Samuel Thompson summed it up thusly: “It has been said that there was no such danger here. I will suppose they were to attempt the experiment, after we have given them all our money, established them in a federal town, given them the power of coining money and raising a standing army, and to establish their arbitrary government; what resources have the people left?”

Supporters of the giving Congress taxing power ridiculed their opponents as fearmongers. During the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention, James Wilson said, “It has been common with the gentlemen on this subject, to present us with frightful pictures. We are told of the hosts of taxgathers that will swarm through the land; and whenever taxes are mentioned, military force seems to be an attending idea. I think I may venture to predict that the taxes of the general government, if any shall be laid, will be more equitable, and much less expensive, than those imposed by state governments.”

Who turned out to be correct?

Source: The Founding Fathers Guide To The Constitution, by Brion McClanahan.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • David in MA

    As simple as I am I understand
    that raising taxes is NOT the answer,
    the answer is STOP SPENDING!

  • http://google gary gerke

    This year the people are watching, the RINO’S vote for higher taxs they will be voted out!!!!

  • Steve E

    I love the Black Market. It is the only true defense against Congress.

  • Kemp

    Our problem is this — once the votes are in and counted and a winner is sworn in,the gloves come off and we end up with another power hungry dictator wantabee such as we have now.we have no recourse .
    Whoever we elect will have a free reghn to do what ever they wantto do.

  • Buck

    I will not be satisfied until ALL unconstitutional cabinets , departments , commissions and committees are eliminated . Upon arriving at this goal we would find ALL taxes reduced by at least two thirds and the recovered freedoms would make what we do pay acceptable .

  • Hank Siegfried

    Will the 53% of Americans who pay taxes ever wake up and stand up against those in our Congress and White House who want to raise our taxes to SPEND more on government lprograms and expansion of Federal Government? VOTE THESE PEOPLE OUT OF OFFICE IN OUR NEXT ELECTION!!!!!!!!!

  • ladybug

    This petition has been signed by over 38 thousand people and that is only the tip of the Obama iceberg. He is destroying our country. He is trying to make it a nanny state, and burying us in debt, He isn’t fit to be president because he doesn’t believe in the Constitution and I don’t believe he is eligible. People are waking up to the devious ways of the man. Too bad congress is too lily-livered to stand up to him and impeach him.

    Anybody with common sense knows that if congress is allowed to raise taxes they will just spend more. Any talk of smaller government and reducing the deficit will be ignored by Obama, congress and the people with their hands out to get what Obama thinks is their fair share. We are becoming a gimmee country. Greece is our model.


    Soften your stand against unfair taxation and no reciprocal spending and entitlement cuts to a embellished government is asking for the term limits we need and want to restructure the way we let elected officials and appointees hold office…this needs to be in place now but we’ll get there…


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