Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)
May 8, 2001 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced into the house HJR 45, being termed the Liberty Ammendment, which would not only expressly prohibit the federal government from engaging in any enterprise except as provided for in the Constitution, but would also repeal the 16th Ammendment. [That's the one that made legitimate the income tax, after the US had managed to survive without one for a century and a half]
posted by jammer (29 comments total)
Of course, in the current political climate, I suspect that this has about a single chance in Hell of ever becoming law, but it's good to know that someone's at least making an effort every now and then. In my opinion, at least. I'm sure many will differ. :)
posted by jammer at 11:26 AM on May 8, 2001

As wonderful as that would be, I'm afraid you're right; it ain't ever gonna happen. Ever.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2001

To quote a wiser man than I:

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

"Brought peace?"

"Oh, peace -- shut up!"

Umm, so... yeah. I happen to like I-95, and the FDA, and a number of other things that could only happen with an income tax. The federal government does need a lot of fixing- but you are seriously, seriously deluding yourself if you think that abolishing the federal governments right to raise money is a good idea. There are just too many things that we all take for granted that would never have occured and could not continue to occur without a funded, central, national government to do them.
If you think your life would be better without those services... my SO is in Niger with the Peace Corps. I'm sure she'd like some more company; I hear traveling by dirt road is fun.
posted by louie at 12:06 PM on May 8, 2001

Ah, but louie, there *are* ways of running those services without a blanket income tax. I strongly urge you to have a read of this story for detals on how our country ran effectively, and without an "income tax" as we now know it, until the beginning of the 20th century.
posted by jammer at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2001

Yep, give everything to the states. I seem to remember them states got along real good before during the time of the Articles of Confederacy...yep. I think New Jersey will start taxing Massachusetts and South Carolina for entrance, and vice versa.
posted by brucec at 12:15 PM on May 8, 2001

Somebody always brings up roads.
posted by thirteen at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2001


Are you seriously advocating the ranting of The John Birch Society? Do you know what they are all about?
posted by Rastafari at 12:26 PM on May 8, 2001

jammer: HAHAHA. Not to be too insulting, but that article is so full of misrepresentations, propaganda, and just outright lies that it is hard to read. I was going to try to dignify it with a response, but the more I read the less credible it gets. Please, if you are going to try to espouse a belief system, at least find sources that aren't ranting, paranoid, lunatics.
posted by louie at 12:36 PM on May 8, 2001

A politician actually doing his real job -- e.g. supporting individual rights? This has got to be a first.
posted by frednorman at 12:58 PM on May 8, 2001

Yeah, sure. Let's go back to the times where the Government has to beg and plead for money (ie Spanish-American War).
posted by toastcowboy at 1:14 PM on May 8, 2001

Good old Ron's not really a Republican, he's a Libertarian who ran as a Republican. He's enjoyable to read about, but I think the snowball would have a better chance in hell.
posted by darren at 1:29 PM on May 8, 2001

Brucec/Toast cowboy: Don't you think you are stretching your examples a bit? This is a proposed return to 50 years ago! Not the Articles of Confederacy or the Spanish-American War.

For every good you can come up with for funding a fat government I am sure I can come up with an evil to match. The government that builds the planned obsolescence riddled roads we all love is the government that can afford to sprawl us over every inch of the country. The government that does not have to beg for money to fight wars, is the government that afford secret wars anytime they feel like. Letting the government grab your income is tacit approval of everything they do. I don't know either of your politics, but either way, you are paying for the Batman costumes the cops wear when they beat up protestors, and the latest Jesus floating in urine art project garnering all the headlines. I would like a system that would think of both of those things as wasteful luxuries.
posted by thirteen at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2001


Yes, perhaps the JBS is not the best choice for the sort of article I cited, but the fact remains that that is a fairly accurate portrayal of the history of the income tax, except perhaps for some of the class envy accusations they bring in at the end.

It is a fact that, for well over a hundred years, we had no income tax in this country, and seemed to get along pretty well. It is a fact that the original income tax was tiny, and has been exploding ever since, to the great glee of Washington. It is a fact that Thomas Jefferson managed to increase national weath, and create a budget surplus, without a single dollar in income tax.

Counter with some information of your own, rather than ad hominem attacks, please, Rastafari and louie.
posted by jammer at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2001

jammer: but the country exploded economically in the decades after the income tax was passed. What facts you have to back up this matter are your own. Sure, we could do even better economically by getting the Big Money and special interests out of politics so much, by consolidating some agencies and getting rid of duplication. But Ron Paul's a dingbat. He also happens to be aligned with "Christian libertarian" groups whose ultimate goal, whether they say so or not, would seem to me to have their own privatized "Christian" fiefdoms with "Christian" money, which would be even more wildly oppressive than any government we've had in the United States. He represents the same part of the world as the former Justus Township for a very good reason.

Oohh, but he's so libertarian and cool, ain't he? Bleah.
posted by raysmj at 2:18 PM on May 8, 2001

sigh. Everyone's missing the point here: it's not going to happen. Not because of politics, or because some people "know better," or any other such reason. It's not going to happen because it would be a societal bombshell: and those kinds of things don't happen. Society's tolerance for radical change is somewhere between none and less than none. That's just not the way the world works, unfortunately for those who would hope otherwise. Every huge historical change (the rise of democracy or communism, for instance) has been as the result of centuries of evolution towards a state where such a change was necessary -- the Enlightenment and religious oppression, in the case of the foundation of America. The only reason that this measure would ever pass would be if people, on a societal level, were extremely dissatisfied with income tax, government roads, etc., and that's simply not the case. Americans on the whole are happy with the way the government is organized, and while that's true nothing will change. If you disagree, ask yourself why we still have an electoral college which arbitrarily weights the senatorial votes of citizens from different states. The answer: society doesn't care.

Radical change isn't brought about by a few men; it's the result of the evolution of sentiment in a society at large. Take it or leave it, that's the way it is.
posted by tweebiscuit at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2001

People are richer and better off (longer lifespan, more stuff) than before income tax was introduced, right?

In fact, on the available evidence, wouldn't it be better to increase income tax?
posted by andrew cooke at 2:46 PM on May 8, 2001

People were richer and living longer than they were previously when the tax was introduced too.
posted by thirteen at 3:05 PM on May 8, 2001

andrew: Also, people are, in general, richer and better off since the dodo is extinct. Killing animals obviously caused this!
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:14 PM on May 8, 2001

Every year my age goes up -- and so does the gross national product! I demand Secret Service protection.
posted by argybarg at 3:16 PM on May 8, 2001

"Someone is always bringing up roads"lolololololololo
posted by clavdivs at 6:00 PM on May 8, 2001

"taxation is a citizen's downpayment for membership of the community".

(And how else is the glorious state to pay for its executions, oh glorious libertarian fringe?)
posted by holgate at 8:50 PM on May 8, 2001

Our society has been about striking balances. One of the key ones to me has been the right mix between a pure socialistic model and a pure capitalistic. I simply think that this amendment moves us out of that balance towards the capitalistic end.

That said, I also agree w/ cleaning up the government in a way that makes it run more efficient and still accomplish current goals.
posted by toastcowboy at 9:30 PM on May 8, 2001

Jeez, if that is the downpayment, the mortgage must be a real bitch.

That really was not a very good article. I knew it was going to go downhill after I got to the mention of the "Wild West" in the second line. It was confirmed when the author seemed to think merely mentioning the arguments of subjects somehow disproved them. I get it, he does not like the idea.

I am not supposing I would very much like the men written about in the article, and if my country is not dealing fairly with yours, I would certainly support you in whatever you need to do to get yourselves a fair deal. It is your job to legislate yourselves, and I don't feel much of anything if the desires and small accomplishments of some makes your system look unattractive. Drop us from your dealings, and if there is a lesson to be learned, I am sure we will learn it, and maybe our dealings will be more fair.

I do like the sound of "glorious", your pretty words have dazzled me once again. :)
The whole thing reminds me an argument over what to have for dinner.
"I don't want to get low fat socialism again, it does not taste good, and the lines are too long. Let's get libertarian pizza, I know a place where they have glorious crust, and there is no tax."

Doesn't anybody have any appreciation for my theory that my excess taxes are what allow my government to oppress the rest of you people? My tax dollars pay for the logging roads to clear cut forests, and... I could go on.
posted by thirteen at 10:19 PM on May 8, 2001

I was responding to Holgate of course.
posted by thirteen at 10:21 PM on May 8, 2001

Well, thirteen, if you want to see whether Hobbes was right about that nasty, brutish state of nature, you're welcome to try. Just make sure you're at least half a world away from me when the game starts.

Really, you wonder why Europeans get snooty about you? We got over the whole "oppressive government" thing ages ago, simply by demanding that our governments take steps to look after us. And if your leaders weren't intent upon running "Dr. Strangelove" as a reality series on CNN, we'd be quite happy to let you all think yourselves back into the 1850s.
posted by holgate at 4:34 AM on May 9, 2001

posted by crunchland at 5:29 AM on May 9, 2001

demanding that our governments take steps to look after us
Ick. Go to bed Europe, drink your milk and don't forget to bring a coat. Actually, I do know that is the reason for all the European attitude. Do you know why Americans (and not ALL Americans, as I hate generalizations) get sick of Europe I wonder?

Last time I looked, I am nearly always on the other side of the globe. I will do my best to keep the continents separated by the ocean, but if we end up reforming Pangea somehow, I am not sure there is much I can do about it.

If you don't want the US playing such a role in your lives, I would say that you should make your government stop inviting us to all the parties. If we are being bad guests, I am sure you can throw us out without much fuss. I am quite certain the American people will not be willing to go to war with Europe because you want our troops off your land, or don't want to be drowned in our media. I would be quite thrilled to get my leader to stop playing "Dr. Strangelove", I think my ideas are the way to accomplish that end.
posted by thirteen at 8:01 AM on May 9, 2001


We need a FEW types like Paul to keep government at bay, but just a few, because most people want the government services and I doubt most people, although they certinaly want taxes to be a bit lower, want to strip to pre-16th amendment levels.

Private sectors don't do all that much better (example: UPS? HMOs? telecom companies? airlines? Maybe the government should start nationalizing some of this stuff.) And anyone who has worked one day in a corporation knows theres just as much politics there.
posted by brucec at 10:51 AM on May 9, 2001

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