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Taxes Taken by Force, Not Law

Rick Rajter

It never ceases to amaze me at just how mangled our interpretation of the U.S. Constitution has become. In a short rebuttal of Justin Wong’s article [Against Special Interests, Nov. 9], Ben Gelb [Flawed Premise, Nov. 16] manages to quickly and effectively show just how confused most Americans are with the country’s most sacred and important founding document. Though Ben has every right to say what he believes, it would be a disservice to you, the reader, to immediately take his word as fact.

Let me start off small. Ben is correct in that the U.S. Constitution’s preamble does allow the government to “promote the general welfare.” Many people mistakenly switch “promote the general” (building bridges, highways, infrastructure) with “provide” (social welfare). The phrases are synonymous in our heads and lead many to get a false sense of required entitlement programs from the government. Furthermore, Congress is allowed to promote the general welfare by making all laws necessary and proper as long as they are within the confines of their powers. Those powers are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. Any power not specifically listed in this section is reserved to the state as per Article 10 in the Bill of Rights.

But can’t we just repeal the 10th Amendment and get on with it? No! One of the biggest misconceptions about the Bill of Rights is that they are “amendments.” They are not! They are declaratory articles. The end of the Bill of Rights Preamble reads “The conventions of a number of the States... expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.” Think of it this way. We the People gave the constitution its power. So did the Bill of Rights give us our rights? Nope, we declared them. Saying the Bill of Rights gives us rights is like “borrowing” our car back from a friend to whom we loaned it.

Ben ends his article on a sad note. “American democracy is imperfect.” Not only is democracy imperfect, it sucks! The founding fathers abhorred democracy, which they called “tyranny of the majority” or “mob rule.” In an absolute democracy, you have no rights if the majority decides you don’t or shouldn’t have them. If the majority wants to take your land and divide it up for the benefit of the state, it does! If 4 million straight people want to ban 2 million homosexuals from marrying because gay marriage makes them feel uncomfortable, the two-thirds majority rules! If the entire lower and middle classes want to vote for more of Bill Gates’ wealth, they can! How can that not be seen as theft?

Luckily, we don’t live in a democracy. We the people have a Constitutional Republic. Don’t believe me? Recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I’ve done so at least 1,000 plus times in my public education and never once did I say “and to the democracy, for which it stands.” Still, that’s just a silly song, so it doesn’t really count, right? Go to, download the U.S. Constitution, and run a search for the word “democracy.” You won’t find it. You will find in Article 4 Section 4 the United States Government guaranteeing that each state will have a republican (the type, not the political party) form of government.

So what’s the big deal, then? What is the fundamental difference between a democracy and a republic? In a democracy, the majority can grant and take away the rights of the few. In a republic, the rights of the few cannot be voted away, because they can’t even be voted on (in theory).

Now, if we don’t stand up for our rights, do we have them? No. If I have freedom of speech, but you scare me into not using it, do I actually have freedom of speech? Apparently not, because it seems I need your permission. Likewise, if the government has no legal right to tax your income, but you don’t question it, you then cede your right to your personal property.

I’ve been careful to this point to avoid the 16th amendment, which supposedly gave Congress to right to start taxing “income” in 1913 (yet we survived 120 years without it?). This next statement is going to cause most people to go in a complete state of disbelief, but you must get over the initial shock and read it over and over again. Most Americans have no legal obligation to pay income taxes. Do I have the facts to back up such a bold claim? Read on, search for yourself, and make your own judgments.

A few years of the 16th amendment’s passage, there were numerous court cases that challenged its constitutionality. The U.S. Supreme court cases of Brushaber v. Union Pacific and Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. in 1916 stated that the sixteenth amendment conferred no new power of taxation. This decision, based on my search, has not been overturned.

So why are people going to jail for tax evasion if the IRS has no right to collect income tax? A convoluted tax code, FUD, and U.S. citizens not knowing their actual rights are just a few of many reasons that come to mind. But surely any American can go look at the IRS tax code for themselves and just point at the law in black and white. The problem is, it isn’t there. We, as Americans, just assume it’s there because we’ve been told that since we got our first paycheck and wondered why what we are paid and what we actually get are two very different numbers.

Of course I’m completely full of it, but are you not curious to see for yourself? Do a Google search on Gaylon Harrell; the man acquitted from income tax evasion charges when the IRS failed to show the law (and he’s not the only one). How about the video of the IRS commissioner, Mark Everson, getting asked in a public forum to show the law that specifically states that citizens owe an income tax? What was his answer? “I’ve been paying my taxes ever since I had my first job...” (link That’s all fine and dandy, but why does he evade the question if it’s so obvious they have the authority? There are also a countless number of books out there from people who have legally not paid their income tax for 10 plus years, because they legally don’t have to. The site is a great starting point.

With all that said, I have to caution everybody to follow this advice. Why? The legal system has the cards stacked against you. Plus, for most people, the hassle of fighting for your liberty is far too much work. It’s much easier to just pay the IRS and go on with your life.

I’ll end with my favorite George Washington quote. “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Government is force. Taxes on income are theft. I just can’t see how this is a “flawed premise.”

Rick Rajter is a graduate student at MIT.