Ron Paul and Thomas Jefferson vs. The Income Tax

O.K. class. Time for a pop quiz. Who said the following, Ron Paul or Thomas Jefferson?: “…, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one more thing, fellow citizens — a wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

If you said Ron Paul, you were wrong, though the passage could well have been taken from one of his speeches. (The quote was taken from Jefferson’s first inaugural speech, March 4th, 1801.)  But the speech nutshellwisely illustrates the essence of their common political philosophies.

Most telling in Jefferson’s pocket edition formula for good, and American, government is the phrase, “and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned”. In other words, the income tax is illegal under Jefferson’s conception of good government. And the only presidential candidate we currently hear calling for the abolition of that illegal income tax is Congressman Ron Paul. Therefore, a vote for Ron Paul is a vote for Thomas Jefferson, for the abolition of the income tax, and for his conception of government.

There are many problems and issues in discussing the taxation necessary for the running of the minimal functions that a Jeffersonian “Minarchist”, or believer in minimal government, would think are the few necessary. Some have called them “unavoidable collectivist necessities”, such as running the military, the contract fraud and violent criminal courts, with the ancillary jails and police, and some mechanism to teach reading to the public (since you couldn’t read the Constitution and the laws if you were illiterate), though this could easily be accomplished over the internet or in local community workshops instead of building the whole giant edifice of the public school bureaucracies, which hoover up taxpayer dollars for themselves and their employees, while leaving the students stunned with boredom and lacking the real education they need to survive in the brutal jungle of modern-day America.

One of the main taxation problems is “Which tax?” Some argue for this or that tax, an income tax but no sales tax, a sales tax but no income tax, a melange of the two, taxing only land, a graduated income tax, a flat income tax, etc. They all have advantages and disadvantages, and perhaps the most important point, at least in the “democratic” taxes, or those that affect all citizens like a sales tax or consumption tax, vs., say, a land tax that hits only landowners in society, — the most important point is the level at which the tax is set. An income tax of 1% would be much better, though less fair,than a sales tax of 15%, and a graduated income tax that went in a range of 1% to 3%, would be much better, though less fair, than a flat income tax of 25%.

It is clear from Jefferson’s phrase “and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned”, that it prohibits the income tax, though some in the constitutional law community have postulated that it merely prohibits government agents from breaking into your house while you’re munching a sandwich, and ripping it from your mouth, assuming of course that you are a laborer. Apparently those who did not work, under this conception of the law, could legally have their sandwiches ripped from their mouths, not only within the sanctity of their domiciles, but even in public places like Zuma Beach or on top of Mt. St. Helens.

However, Silverwolf does not accept this latter interpretation of the so-called “Sandwich Munchers” School of Constitutional Law. No, he feels Jefferson’s phrase clearly and simply outlaws any kind of income tax. One of the main priniciples of Natural Rights Law, whose validity was accepted in Jefferson’s day as much as we now accept as valid that the Earth is round, was that Individuals were entitled to the fruits of their labor. This is a principle which Ron Paul has repeated, again and again, over the many years he has campaigned for the Presidency.

 The income tax is unconstitutional not only because it violates Natural Rights Law, but also because it is so intrusive into our private lives that it also violates the Right to Privacy, another pivotal conception in the American Constitution. What Individual citizens do with their money should be no concern of the government as long as they don’t violate the Libertarian Non-Aggression Principle that no man or group of men may aggress against the property rights of any other man, including his physical person. So the income tax is extremely dangerous as being conducive to a Big Brother, we have a telemonitor in your living room, kind of mentality. Crushing it would be a big step in crushing and then prophylacting the Fascist State.

Finally, the (graduated) income tax is extremely detrimental to national GDP, not including its graduated disincentive motivations that cause the wealthy to make less, and thus pay less tax, than they would if there were a flat income tax. Its detriment comes in the form of the vast amount of time wasted having to fill out income tax forms, study the laws, and comply correctly with them, while at the same time the taxpayer must support the vast bureaucracy of the IRS. The time and income wasted complying with these laws, and the amount of capital that flows to accountants, tax lawyers, and government bureaucrats, –all that capital could be going into capital goods equipment loans and production, or some other condition that will increase the quality or lower the price of consumer goods, or improve the life of the consumer.

Much of this problem of waste of time and law study could be bypassed by a flat income tax with no deductions, and, though still unconstitutional and something Libertarian Capitalists should oppose, it would still be a great improvement, liberating Americans from many hours of involuntary drudgery imposed by government, piled on top of the drudgery of their own daily labor.

A sales, or consumption, tax has its own problems. It hits hardest the poorest, so progressives and those on the left should be wary of it. It is fair, though, in the aspect of affecting everyone equally, with none getting exemptions. It does however throw the whole burden of collecting the tax on the backs of businessmen, and the small businessman especially will be hurt since he must do much additional labor in collecting and handing over the correct amounts, a task that will affect no other citizens. Since large firms can absorb these costs much more easily than the individual wildcat businessman, it will tend to wipe out the competition of the little guys challenging the big guys, something the large corporations have always loved.

Silverwolf’s own ideas for a fitting taxation revolve around an excise tax on products entering America from countries that do not adhere roughly to a Jeffersonian Constitution and Bill of Rights, i.e. Fascist dictatorships, using Fascist in a broad sense. For example, products from Fiji, Red China, and Syria would have a hefty excise tax thrown on them, products from Denmark, Canada, and Australia would not. Also, since the left is saying we should tax the wealthy, and since the Supreme Court has upheld the legal absurdity that Corporations are Individuals, and have the same rights as Individuals, a infamous ruling that must be overturned some day soon in the Court, —- if Corporations are Individuals, then they could be taxed as current individuals are, and Silverwolf would propose some kind of Income Tax, perhaps in the range of 1-5% on corporations whose net profit exceeded $5 million/yr, even if the personal income tax were abolished. This would truly be taxing the wealthy since these include many many multi-billion dollar corporations, and their huge corporate accounting departments could deal with the tax, instead of the single minimum-wage worker whose life is spent drudging for the Democrats and their welfare agendas. However, we should realize that even with this tax, the consumer will end up paying most of it in the form of higher prices for consumer goods, since the corporation will merely pass most or all of the tax on to the buyer through higher prices. Still, the savings in time, labor, and dissipated energy for the American Individual would be enormous.

It is time to bring America up to the level of Jefferson’s dream of good government, and one of the main keys to realizing that dream into reality is to abolish the individual income tax. This would necessitate drastic cuts in the overseas military, and the national government bureaucracies. These savings could cushion the cuts in welfare spending which could be phased out over 5-10 years, with major charities offering emergency care and affordable catastrophic medical coverage, and perhaps a residue government program, funded by the minimal taxes we’d have, taking care of any overflow the charities could not deal with.

So when you go into that polling booth next year, vote not only to liberate yourselves from the income tax, not only to put Ron Paul into the White House, but also to bring about Jefferson’s beautiful conception of good government: that government is best that governs least.

Let’s close the circle of our felicities.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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2 Responses to “Ron Paul and Thomas Jefferson vs. The Income Tax”

  1. Mike W. Says:

    Excellent point. Our government has increased spending beyond a reasonable level and has failed to pay for it.

    Who pays for what we do spend is a different question.There’s the following, also from Jefferson, advocating a progressive tax, in a letter to James Madison in 1785:

    “Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. ”

    Amazing to read today, isn’t it? You can read the whole thing here:
    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=967

    • lobobreed Says:

      Mike W. — Thanks for the comment and the quote. Sorry I didn’t approve your comment sooner, but wordpress has suddenly changed their sidebar from words to symbols and evidently no longer informs you that a comment has come in since your last login, so I didn’t realize you’d commented until just now. — Silverwolf

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