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Friday, April 24, 2009

How To Repeal That Which Was Never Ratified

American Scofflaw

In response to an unprecedented expansion of federal power, citizens have held hundreds of "tea party" rallies around the country, and various states are considering "sovereignty resolutions" invoking the Constitution's Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

While well-intentioned, such symbolic resolutions are not likely to have the slightest impact on the federal courts, which long ago adopted a virtually unlimited construction of Congressional power. But state legislatures have a real power under the Constitution by which to resist the growth of federal power: They can petition Congress for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.

What sort of language would restore a healthy balance between federal and state power while protecting the liberties of the people?

One simple proposal would be to repeal the 16th Amendment enacted in 1913 but never properly ratified. This single change would strike at the heart of unlimited federal power and end the costly and intrusive tax code. Congress could then replace the income tax with a "uniform" national sales or "excise" tax (as stated in Article I, section 8) that would be paid by everyone residing in the country as they consumed, and would automatically render savings and capital appreciation free of tax. There is precedent for repealing an amendment. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment that had empowered Congress to prohibit the sale of alcohol.

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