This morning, as I was pondering possible subjects for my next column, across the TV screen came a news report about how the president is considering an executive action to raise corporate and other taxes. That report set off alarms as such an action would be in direct conflict with the responsibilities and authorities defined in the Constitution.
Article 1., Section 7 of the Constitution begins with these words, "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills."
That same section goes on to say that if the president approves the bill ". . .he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have been originated . . ." That continues on to the procedures necessary for the House of Representatives to reconsider, and possibly vote to override, the president's veto.
If the President is permitted to independently impose a change in the tax laws, or any other kind of law, the consequences of such an action would be enormous as it would destroy the Separation of Powers and take a quantum leap into a dictatorship.
Originally, when budgets were approved, each state was taxed for its proportionate share of that budget, based on its resident population. On February 3, 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, changing from essentially billing the states, to billing the individuals. It reads, "The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or remuneration."
The Sixteenth Amendment essentially took away the power of the states to challenge the federal budget. It became much easier for the federal government to expand its bureaucracy by raising taxes on individuals and businesses. Previously, the collective power of the states had some muscle and could challenge federal growth or usurpation of rights given to the states by the Tenth Amendment. That challenge potential was severely diluted as the new amendment unleashed the full power and resources of the federal government against individual citizens.
Another negative impact to our form of government came two months later when the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified, on April 8, 1913. Up until that time, two senators from each state were ". . . appointed by the legislatures thereof". While this amendment may seem noble, what it did was create the "professional politician". Every one of the longest serving senators in our history have come after that amendment was ratified.
The other negative impact is that direct election took away any semblance of control over the Senate by the states. Previously, changes in local and statewide elections could result in a change in the Senate appointments. Senators more closely represented the then current attitudes of their states. Once Senators were not tied or committed to their home state legislature, the need to raise money for the next election from a variety of "special interests" came to the forefront. Ergo, the tenured "professional politician" and the never-ending fund raising.
The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments opened up the proverbial Pandora's Box, resulting in unfettered growth of federal bureaucracies. In his book, "The New Road to Serfdom", Daniel Hannon, a member of the British Parliament warned of being ruled by the "non-elected". He used the formation of the European Union as an example of how bureaucrats, who are shielded from the public and not subject to election, are able to make rules that citizens must obey, but they, the bureaucrats, are not accountable for the consequences of their decisions.
To give you an example of how we, too, are being ruled by the non-elected, here is a look at the PPACA (aka Obamacare). The law itself contains 381,517 words. While that is an incredibly large number of words to absorb, just imagine what employers, individuals, and insurers must go through to be sure to comply with the "regulations" that have been written concerning that law. Are you ready? The number of words in the "regulations" amount to 11,588,500, 30 times more words than in the law itself.
Now, if that isn't absurd enough, it has been reported that the president has arbitrarily made over 27 changes to the law. Mind you, the Supreme Court decided the law was "legal", because it was, essentially . . . a tax. As noted above, any changes to a "tax law" needs to be originated in the House of Representatives. In order to eliminate being ruled by the non-elected, we, the people, should insist that regulations that have the force of law, should have to go through the same rigorous process as the law upon which it was founded . . . passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.
The only way to restore the integrity our founders intended for our government, is to ratify two new amendments to essentially restore the original federal tax apportionment to the individual states, and to return the appointment of senators to the state legislatures. To not do so leaves us with a Hobson's choice battle between being ruled by a dictatorship or a bureaucracy. Neither is acceptable.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
- Category: Letters
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