JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly news video update for Aug. 31 - Sept. 6, 2015.
In this week's Analysis Behind the News video, JBS CEO Art Thompson discusses how none of the Republican candidates for president is talking about repealing the 16th (income tax) and 17th (direct election of senators) Amendments that were ratified in 1913; how the 16th amendment gave the federal government power over individuals; how the 17th amendment destroyed one of the key checks and balances within our system of federalism by taking away the power of each state legislature to appoint two senators to represent its state in the U.S. Senate; and how we must start the process of repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments by waging an “educational war” to point out why this must be done.
What the Constitution Means by 'Duties, Imposts, and Excises' —
And 'Taxes' (Direct or Otherwise)
Robert G. Natelson
The Independence Institute
May 4, 2015
This Article recreates the original definitions of the U.S. Constitution’s terms “tax,” “direct tax,” “duty,” “impost,” “excise,” and “tonnage.” It draws on a greater range of Founding-Era sources than accessed heretofore, including eighteenth-century treatises, tax statutes, and literary source, and it corrects several errors made by courts and previous commentators. It concludes that the distinction between direct and indirect taxes was widely understood during the Founding Era, and that the term “direct tax” was more expansive than commonly realized.
The Article identifies the reasons the Constitution required that direct taxes be apportioned among the states by population. It concludes that the Constitution’s “three-fifths” formula was a response to certain economic facts about slavery, but that the underlying decision to apportion had little or nothing to do with slavery.
Finally, the Article reviews the Supreme Court’s holding that the Affordable Care Act’s penalty for not acquiring insurance is a tax but not a direct tax, and concludes that if the penalty was a tax, it was direct.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 63
Keywords: constitutional law, Taxation Clause, original intent, original understanding, original meaning, excise, tonnage, duty, tax, Obamacare, ACA, PPACA, NFIB v. Sebelius, direct tax, indirect tax
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K34
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Date posted: March 4, 2015 ; Last revised: May 20, 2015