What If? 16th Amendment

What if we repealed the 16th Amendment and went back to the Framers’ original formula for taxing? What would that look like?

The 16th Amendment

The original revenue-raising solution in Article I Section 2 and Section 9 made things really simple. The federal government could collect taxes from the states according to their populations. But exactly how those funds were collected inside state boundaries was up to the individual states to decide.

The federal government was allowed to raise funds in other ways such as excise and consumption taxes, tariffs, etc., but the states had power to decide for their own people.

What are some of the changes we would see if the Framers ‘original system was reinstated, meaning there was no 16th amendment?

No 16th Amendment

First, we wouldn’t have any more drawn out, overly dramatized, playground bully showdowns of ridiculous give-and-take as we did for President Trump’s common sense 2017 Tax cut bill. The giant majority of those issues would be decided by each of the states.

Second, everyone would be paying their fair share for a change, and the states could protect their most vulnerable citizens from the federal tax collectors.

Third, the argument would turn from “What’s in it for me?” to “How do we reduce federal spending?”

Fourth, the states could handle taxation however their constituents desired. New York could tax its wealthiest citizens at 92% and penalize heavy soda drinkers. California could continue to finance all the sanctuary cities their state welfare system could support (no more federal food stamps or welfare). Florida and others could continue their no-state-income-tax policies. And, the states could decide at what point the poor and non-citizens become shielded from paying any tax at all.

April 15th

There would be no more heart-attack panic stresses every April 15, at least not from the IRS and its lordly auditors.

We could elect local leaders according to their tax-plan strategies instead of relying on that great black hole of incomprehensible decision-making by strangers in D.C.

There would be more intense pressure on state governments to streamline expenses and priorities.

The Proper Role of our Federal Government and the 16th Amendment

And finally, the entire taxing argument would shift to where it belongs: What is the proper role of our federal government, and how do we put that horse back into its economically responsible barn”

If the federal government’s $4.147 trillion expenses for 2016 were divided proportionally, here’s the tab each state would bear, according to a state’s population.

 

State or Territory

 

Population est. 2010

 

Percent of total U.S. pop. 2016

 

Amount owed for 2016 budget of $4.147 trillion.

 

 

 

 

$4,147,000,000,000

 

California

 

39,250,017

 

12.1500%

 

$503,860,500,000

 

Texas

 

27,862,596

 

8.6200%

 

$357,471,400,000

 

Florida

 

20,612,439

 

6.3800%

 

$264,578,600,000

 

New York

 

19,745,289

 

6.1100%

 

$253,381,700,000

 

Illinois

 

12,801,539

 

3.9600%

 

$164,221,200,000

 

Pennsylvania

 

12,784,227

 

3.9600%

 

$164,221,200,000

 

Ohio

 

11,614,373

 

3.5900%

 

$148,877,300,000

 

Georgia

 

10,310,371

 

3.1900%

 

$132,289,300,000

 

North Carolina

 

10,146,788

 

3.1400%

 

$130,215,800,000

 

Michigan

 

9,928,300

 

3.0700%

 

$127,312,900,000

 

New Jersey

 

8,944,469

 

2.7700%

 

$114,871,900,000

 

Virginia

 

8,411,808

 

2.6000%

 

$107,822,000,000

 

Washington

 

7,288,000

 

2.2600%

 

$93,722,200,000

 

Arizona

 

6,931,071

 

2.1500%

 

$89,160,500,000

 

Mass

 

6,811,779

 

2.1100%

 

$87,501,700,000

 

Tennessee

 

6,651,194

 

2.0600%

 

$85,428,200,000

 

Indiana

 

6,633,053

 

2.0500%

 

$85,013,500,000

 

Missouri

 

6,093,000

 

1.8900%

 

$78,378,300,000

 

Maryland

 

6,016,447

 

1.8600%

 

$77,134,200,000

 

Wisconsin

 

5,778,708

 

1.7900%

 

$74,231,300,000

 

Colorado

 

5,540,545

 

1.7200%

 

$71,328,400,000

 

Minnesota

 

5,519,952

 

1.7100%

 

$70,913,700,000

 

South Carolina

 

4,961,119

 

1.5400%

 

$63,863,800,000

 

Alabama

 

4,863,300

 

1.5100%

 

$62,619,700,000

 

Louisiana

 

4,681,666

 

1.4500%

 

$60,131,500,000

 

Kentucky

 

4,436,974

 

1.3700%

 

$56,813,900,000

 

Oregon

 

4,093,465

 

1.2700%

 

$52,666,900,000

 

Oklahoma

 

3,923,561

 

1.2100%

 

$50,178,700,000

 

Connecticut

 

3,576,452

 

1.1100%

 

$46,031,700,000

 

Puerto Rico

 

3,411,307

 

1.0600%

 

$43,958,200,000

 

Iowa

 

3,134,693

 

0.9700%

 

$40,225,900,000

 

Utah

 

3,051,217

 

0.9400%

 

$38,981,800,000

 

Mississippi

 

2,988,726

 

0.9300%

 

$38,567,100,000

 

Arkansas

 

2,988,248

 

0.9300%

 

$38,567,100,000

 

Nevada

 

2,940,058

 

0.9100%

 

$37,737,700,000

 

Kansas

 

2,907,289

 

0.9000%

 

$37,323,000,000

 

New Mexico

 

2,081,015

 

0.6400%

 

$26,540,800,000

 

Nebraska

 

1,907,116

 

0.5900%

 

$24,467,300,000

 

West Virgina

 

1,831,102

 

0.5700%

 

$23,637,900,000

 

Idaho

 

1,683,140

 

0.5200%

 

$21,564,400,000

 

Hawaii

 

1,428,557

 

0.4400%

 

$18,246,800,000

 

New Hampshire

 

1,334,795

 

0.4100%

 

$17,002,700,000

 

Maine

 

1,331,479

 

0.4100%

 

$17,002,700,000

 

Rhode Island

 

1,056,426

 

0.3300%

 

$13,685,100,000

 

Montana

 

1,042,520

 

0.3200%

 

$13,270,400,000

 

Delaware

 

952,065

 

0.3000%

 

$12,441,000,000

 

South Dakota

 

865,454

 

0.2700%

 

$11,196,900,000

 

North Dakota

 

757,952

 

0.2400%

 

$9,952,800,000

 

Alaska

 

741,894

 

0.2300%

 

$9,538,100,000

 

District of Colombia

 

681,170

 

0.2100%

 

$8,708,700,000

 

Vermont

 

624,594

 

0.1900%

 

$7,879,300,000

 

Wyoming

 

585,501

 

0.1800%

 

$7,464,600,000

 

Guam

 

161,785

 

0.0600%

 

$2,488,200,000

 

U.S. Virgin Islands

 

103,574

 

0.0400%

 

$1,658,800,000

 

American Samoa

 

54,343

 

0.0100%

 

$414,700,000

With such an invoice “due in 30 days” landing at the door of your state legislature, how long would your legislators survive in office if they didn’t pressure all governments at all levels to reduce spending–starting, no doubt, at the federal level?

******************

Paul B. Skousen is a former Reagan White House intelligence officer, and author of How to Read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and The Naked Socialist.

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