The Patriot Post
By Mark Alexander
The Fallacy of the Left’s ‘Fairness’ Doctrine
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” –John Adams, 1787
Barack Hussein Obama centered his recent State of Disunion campaign speech on the worn socialist refrain of “fairness.”
“We can go in two directions,” Obama said. “One is towards less opportunity and less fairness. Or we can fight for … building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.”
His subsequent 2012 stump speeches include a variation of these words at his most recent whistle stop in Michigan: “I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules.”
Let’s briefly review our nation’s history in regard to Liberty, taxation and “fairness.”
The first American Revolution was galvanized by a Tea Party protest against a small three pence tax surcharge on imported tea.
Our Founders were uniformly concerned about government power to lay and collect taxes and, accordingly, enumerated specific limitations on taxing and spending.
James Madison addressed the issue of unlimited spending, and his words are applicable today: “It has been [said], that the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare.” Rejecting that “misconstruction” of our Constitution, Madison went on to write, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one.”
To ensure that federal taxation would be limited to these constraints, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of our Constitution (the “Taxing and Spending Clause”), as duly ratified in 1789, defined the “Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises,” but Section 8 required that such, “Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” This, in effect, limited the power of Congress to impose direct taxes on individuals, as further outlined in Section 9: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”
That Constitutional limitation survived until 1861, when the first income tax was imposed to defray costs of the War Between the States. That three-percent tax on incomes over $800 was sold as an emergency war measure. In 1894, congressional Democrats tested the Constitution, passing a peacetime tax of two percent on income above $4,000. A year later, that tariff was overturned by the Supreme Court as not complying with the limitations set forth in Article 1.
However, the greatest historical injury to economic Liberty was dealt in the presidential campaign of 1912, when the father of Democratic Socialism, Woodrow Wilson, was elected on his mastery of class warfare rhetoric, as outlined in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto in the mid-19th century. He used Marx’s populist redistribution theme, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” to gain passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, which stated, “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.”
The top tax rate levied under the new Amendment was just seven percent on incomes above $500,000 (about $12 million in 2012 dollars).
But the ability to impose direct taxes gave rise to a century of class warfare political rhetoric that would be anathema to our Founders and the Liberty they fought so hard to secure for their posterity.
Two decades later, Franklin Roosevelt gained acceptance of his New Deal programs via his refined classist rhetoric — and American socialist propaganda has been the bookmarked page in the political playbook of all Democrat presidents since.
Though the contrast between, and debate about, Leftist Tyranny versus Essential Liberty was boldly reinvigorated by Ronald Reagan during his two terms of office, never before the election of Barack Hussein Obama in 2008 have so many Americans fully recognized the cumulative manifestation of collectivist socialism.
A second Tea Party protest has been brewing since Obama took office, demanding tax reform — but no such reformation will succeed unless accompanied by tax conformation, ensuring that taxes collected are only for expenditures authorized by our Constitution.
Laying the groundwork for his 2012 re-election bid, Obama’s SOTU was devoid of any free-market economic remedies, and every “solution” was predicated upon government engineering via intervention, regulation or redistribution — consistent with his perfected version of Wilson’s and Roosevelt’s Democratic Socialist platform.
Anticipating that his opponent in the general election will be Mitt Romney, an easy-to-target “rich Republican,” Obama has rallied his own stable of uber-wealthy Leftists in support of his “Wall Street v Main Street” disinformation campaign.
In his SOTU, Obama declared, “You can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”
To further advance his classist “divide and conquer” strategy, he trotted out Debbie Bosanek, the secretary of billionaire Obamaphile Warren Buffett, as a prop for invoking the Buffet Rule — “If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.”
“Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?” asked Obama. Predictably, our Class-Warrior-in-Chief has refused to tell the American people how much Ms. Bosanek is paid in order to be taxed at a higher rate than her boss. Forbes Magazine, however, uses current IRS tax tables to estimate that she makes “well above $200,000 annually.” Clearly, Ms. Bosanek isn’t just any old secretary.
“Facts,” as John Adams noted, “are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
The fact is that Warren Buffet, like Mitt Romney and other “wealthy Americans,” pays much more than the much-maligned “15 percent” on capital gains. Before being taxed on his profits, the corporations producing them are already taxed at 35 percent — the highest corporate tax rate in the world. So, in effect, these vilified wealthy Americans are already paying more than 50 percent in taxes, far above the 30 percent rate of Obama’s beloved “Buffett Rule,” and far, far above his “15 percent” claim.
Here in our humble editorial shop, we call Obama’s deceptive prevarication, The Big Lie.
Now, Obama might make a pitch for fairness if the top 25 percent of income earners were paying a lower percentage of the nation’s tax bill than the percentage of national income they earn. But the top 25 percent are currently paying 87 percent of that bill while earning 65 percent of that income.
However, populist rhetoric trumps facts, where there is not enough “common sense” to prevail. As George Bernard Shaw said, “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
Moreover, the real tragedy is that Obama’s senseless sycophants don’t comprehend the great error of his “fairness” rhetoric. The capital Obama proposed to remove from the economy in the form of even more disproportionate taxes (for expenditures not authorized by our Constitution) will decrease the available pool of capital for economic expansion, job creation and higher standards of living for ALL working Americans.
Obama’s “fairness” farce to raise taxes and shrink capital is the last component of his macroeconomic agenda to break the back of free enterprise, in order to achieve his objective of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” from a nation guided by Rule of Law as supported by economic Liberty, to one subdued by the rule of men under the oppression of Democratic Socialism.
In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall famously observed, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”
Should Obama gain a second term, he is virtually assured “an unlimited power to tax” beyond the limits free enterprise can bear. The outcome of the next election will be either a sunrise or sunset on Liberty.
While Leftists may have the constitutional authority to levy direct taxes on income, they do not have the authority to levy such taxes for expenditures not expressly authorized by our Constitution — though they have done so with impunity for generations.
In 1794, as recorded in the Annals of Congress, James Madison declared, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents…”
To this day, no constitutional articulation of such spending power exists, and challenging that authority exposes the Achilles’ heel of the generations of socialist programs espoused by Obama and his Leftist cadres.
So, can an “establishment Republican” defeat Obama with a “tax reform” platform?
No — unless he centers the debate on the fact that our Constitution provides no authority for the expenditures Obama proposes, charges him with violating his “sacred oath” to “support and defend,” and vigorously makes the case that Obama has offended American Liberty in the process.
The next Republican presidential candidate must not only defeat Obama’s rhetoric with Rule of Law defining the role of government, but if he succeeds, he must devote his administration, first and foremost, to real tax reform and implementation of either a flat tax or national sales tax.
As far as the “Buffett Rule” is concerned, Buffett and his secretary, and all American taxpayers, are being overtaxed for illegal expenditures.