An Equal Rights Amendment for Taxation

Nelson Hultberg

July 4, 2016

The fundamental principle of the Declaration of Independence, which undergirds our political and legal systems in this country, is that all citizens possess “equal rights under the law.” Our whole concept of rights is based upon their being equal for all citizens of the Republic. This was the guiding star of justice that spawned America and which sustained her through the first 125 years of her existence. In 1913, however, there took place a most shameful default on this concept of “equal rights” with adoption of the 16th Amendment, which allowed Congress to enact an income tax with unequal (i.e., progressive) rates.

This default by our pundits and politicians was challenged at the time by numerous outraged legal minds (in fact the great majority of the legal profession of that era). They fought the tax for the next seven years until around 1920, but due to the prevailing socialist sentiment taking over the culture at the turn of the century, their challenge did not prevail. Too many powerful voices had gotten swept up in the egalitarian vision of Karl Marx, and they decided that government’s purpose was to coercively implement such a vision. Tax policy became one of the tools with which to bring about such a leveling of society. Collectivist irrationality won the day, and it has lasted for 100 years, despite the fact that progressive tax rates are clearly unconstitutional.

The reason why progressive income tax rates are unconstitutional in America is because different classes of society are assessed different rates under such a system. This denies American citizens an equal right to the disposal of their property (i.e., their income) and thus denies them equal protection under the laws of the land.

If the State can take arbitrary (unequal) percentages of our incomes because 51% of the voters deem it desirable, then we no longer have a right to the use of our property. We have only the permission for that use, and only so long as we dutifully serve the reigning political powers. There can be no justification for such a tax system. It is contrary to everything for which America stands.

The blindfolded Goddess of Justice represents “objective law” in America, i.e., law that does not convey special privileges, law that is equal for everybody. Under our present system, however, the blindfolded Goddess of Justice has been allowed to peek. “Tell me first who you are and what you earn,” she says, “then I will tell you how the tax laws apply to you.” This is privilege and arbitrary law, the harbingers of every tyranny throughout history. It violates all the canons of justice that undergird our nation and our freedom.

Avoiding the Whims of Congress

The reason why we must mandate “equal rates” for all citizens via a constitutional amendment is that this will remove the tyranny of progressive tax rates from the whim of congressional decision. They cannot then be voted back in again four or five years later. Progressive tax rates must be banned in the Constitution! This is the only way to assure a free country for future generations.

The federal government could be financed with a flat 15% tax rate by eliminating about $300 – $400 billion of egregious waste in our present federal budget. This waste could be sunsetted over a three to four year period.

Ratifying the Amendment

Victor Hugo said, “There is nothing more powerful in history than an idea whose time has come.” The American people are ready to stop the runaway freight train of government growth and its violation of our rights. A New Equal Rights Amendment for taxes is the way to do this. And it can be presented to the state legislatures for ratification via a joint resolution from Congress or the Convention of States process that the Constitution gives us. To bring this revolution about we must follow the famous Samuel Adams’ lead and work to set “brushfires of freedom” in the minds of Congress and our fellow citizens.

In the 1850s when anti-slavery proponents were fighting to abolish slavery in America, they did not have Congress or a majority of the people on their side. But they did have “justice” and “rightness” on their side. They had the most powerful force in history on their side – MORAL TRUTH. The same force prevails today in the fight to abolish “progressive taxation.” All decent men and women know it is morally wrong to treat people differently under the law in America.

The abolitionists of the 1850s took a moral stand on “equal rights under the law.” Black people, they stated, have the same right to their freedom as white people do. Well, the identical principle exists today in regards to taxation. Productive people have the same right to their income as less productive people do. Just as the law cannot discriminate for reasons of color, neither can it discriminate for reasons of ability.

The principle of equal rights mandates equal tax rates for everyone, not just in this country but everywhere, regardless of what their status is in life. No government will ever stay limited if it has the power to confiscate wealth from productive citizens to convey free services to massive numbers of less productive citizens so as to buy votes on Election Day. This is a guarantee for relentless growth of taxes and tyranny. Reason and history prove this irrefutably. The time has come to end such political corruption and restore justice to America.

To learn how the 28th Amendment will lead to eventually abolishing the income tax and the IRS, see Ending Progressive Tax Rates in America.


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