May 22, 2019

ALL I’VE GOT’S THIS SUNNY AFTERNOON: In Wake Of Federal Tax Reform, Blue States Scramble To Hide High Taxes. “Democrats insist richer people need to pay more taxes. When that becomes slightly more true because of a Republican initiative, they hide income.”

Any analysis of the federal income-taxing power must begin with the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which is brief but sweeping: “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.” While Article I always gave Congress the power to impose direct taxes, the Sixteenth Amendment removed the constitutional restrictions on that power that made its exercise practically impossible.

That power, with the pre-1916 restrictions removed, is as broad as it gets. If you have income, the federal government can tax it. From the beginning, courts have recognized the sweeping nature of the Sixteenth Amendment and, in 1955, clarified further just how broad the amendment is in the landmark case of Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass Co. In that case, the upheld the Internal Revenue Code’s definition of income as being truly “all-inclusive.”

To admit this does not require an endorsement of high taxes, or indeed of any taxes at all. To say that the government can tax all income does not mean you think they should tax all income. It is only to admit a fact that, until recently, Democrats were especially fond of acknowledging: the government has the power to tax your income.

Well, they’re hypocrites.

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