Friday, June 29, 2012

Unlimited Power To Tax

Congress can tax you as much as it wants - for any reason. Wouldn't the authors have included that in the original? After all, the Sixteenth Amendment was required before Congress could impose an income tax.
[Chief Justice John Roberts] argues that:

(1)  “the Constitution does not guarantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity” (as support for this proposition, he idiotically quotes Benjamin Franklin’s famous injunction that nothing is certain but death and taxes, which is apropos of nothing);

(2)  “Congress’s ability to use its taxing power to influence conduct is not without limits” (although he declines to name those limits).

In short, Congress can tax you if you do nothing; Congress can tax you to influence your conduct; Congress can tax you and tax you and tax you. What kind of tax isn’t allowed under the Constitution?
 Roberts has to reach all the way back to a 1936 case, United States v. Butler, in which a tax on processors of farm products, proceeds to be paid to farmers. The Court in that case stated that the Act was “a statutory plan to regulate and control agricultural production, a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government. The tax, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan. They are but means to an unconstitutional end.”

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