The current tax code is now four million words long, more than four times longer than the collected works of Shakespeare, and six to seven times longer than the Bible. It requires 25 volumes to contain it, and takes up nine feet of shelf space.
According to Forbes, it takes Americans over six billion hours to comply with its filing requirements. That’s the equivalent of 8,758 lifetimes. In people years, not dog years.
This monstrosity is based entirely on the 16th Amendment, which authorizes Congress “to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.”
Now the 16th Amendment had to be ratified by the American people. How in the world did the framers of this misbegotten gargantua convince the American people to do this to themselves?
Easy. They lied to us.
They told us “income” meant one thing when they convinced us to vote for it, then they changed its definition when it went into effect and nailed us all to the wall.
The American people were led to believe that the “income” that would be taxed under this amendment was what we today call “unearned income,” that is, profit from investments, dividends, interest, capital gains, and net income from business and corporate earnings.
The term “income” did not apply to wages and salaries. That was considered “earned income,” income received from labor, and not “unearned income,” the money fat cats made from investments and their corporations. What we call “unearned income” was the target of the 16th Amendment.
The American people were told that the income tax provision would apply only to the top one percent of wage earners, and would sock them with a one percent tax on income. The rest of America – you know, the ones that had to vote for this thing – were told we would be left alone. None of this would apply to us.
Prior to the passage of the 16th Amendment, virtually the sole source of income to the federal government came from tariffs collected on imported goods. That itself was a profound limitation on the size and reach of the federal government. In 1910, for instance, the budget for the entire federal government was $1.042 billion dollars. You read that right. The entire federal budget in 1910 was one billion dollars.
Now ordinary Americans complained that tariffs burdened them but gave a built-in profit margin to American manufacturers. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that production costs for manufactured items were the same in the U.S. as, let’s say, Europe. If importers had to pay, for example a five percent tariff on everything it wanted to sell in the United States, than U.S. manufacturers could raise their prices four percent – pure, unadulterated profit for them – and still undercut international competition.