The only way to be sure

Amendment XVI is how it started: a nation-wide tax on income, ratified February 13, 1913. Simple, short, to the point, it reads in its entirety:

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.

There have been murmurs, mostly from the tax-and-spend crowd, about instituting a Value Added Tax, or VAT. Mitch Daniels, the very smart and very successful Indiana governor, has, according to this from the left-leaning Politico, apparently dismayed some conservatives by joining this flirtation with a VAT.

In theory, if we were starting without the income tax, a VAT might make eminent good sense. But we are not in that situation. Any VAT will result in us having both it and an income tax. Our elected officials are like crack whores with respect to taxes: once they get a taste, they just can’t stop.

Two points: First, most nations that introduce the VAT increase it over time. Second, the Congress that is seated next January may vote to reduce or reform the income tax, but this is hardly any guarantee that future Congresses will keep those fixes.

The only way to be sure? Just as in Aliens, do the equivalent to the income tax: repeal Amendment XVI.


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