Constitutional authority to tax the American people arises out of Article I, Section 8, which granted Congress the power to “lay and collect Taxes. . .to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” Under this authority, however, there were mandates in place, including a requirement for taxes to be imposed based on state population.
By all accounts and reason, the Sixteenth Amendment is an anomaly. Its text outright broadens the federal government’s power to regulate, impose, and collect taxes on the hard-earned money of Americans and grants the feds exceeding authority far outside the scope of the Constitution. The Amendment undermines not only the text of Article I, Section 8, but is an affront to the very essence of our Constitution, bedrock doctrine of a limited national government.
The constitutional revisions of the Sixteenth Amendment include: (1) adding the ambiguous phrase, “from whatever source derived,” and (2) removing the mandate that taxes must be imposed proportional to the population of the states. The resulting text favors big government and is considered the foundation of today’s out-of-control corrupt federal government. The Amendment states,
The Congress shall have 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 enumeration.
Passed by Congress in July 1909 and ratified by the states in February 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was a congressional response to a Supreme Court decision that invalidated Congress’s attempt to tax the income of citizens without regard to state’s population. The Amendment essentially overturned the SCOTUS decision by materially revising Article I of the Constitution to include the following language: “incomes, from whatever source derived…without apportionment.” This language in the Sixteenth Amendment paved the way for the current federal income tax system. Further, it catapulted governmental taxing powers of the feds to levels likely unfathomable at the time the Amendment was ratified.
The consequences of this amendment are so far-reaching that most scholars agree it forever changed the foremost traits and cardinal tendencies that distinguished our federal government from all others throughout history, from a restrained and unassuming national government to today’s authoritative, brazen, and corrupt government that has been emboldened to claim powers never conferred unto it. Unrestricted federal powers were never intended and should not have been declared or permitted, but the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment emboldened the federal government to press for more authority over citizens.
Like a dog with a bone, the federal government is willing to use any means necessary to satisfy its bottomless thirst for more power even conjuring up additional powers it never possessed, usurping the powers retained by the states and violating individual rights of liberty and freedom. The feds are relentless when it comes to their desire to swell in size and power. Illustrative of this point is the fact that the first Tax Code in America, the 1913 Revenue Act, adopted to support the Sixteenth Amendment (having just been ratified) was no more than a few hundred pages, whereas today’s Tax Code, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) has swelled to over 70,000 pages, an astounding increase in regulations.