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Constitution Monday: Why A Federal Income Tax

As I noted last week, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was passed by Congress February 26, 1869 and ratified on February 3, 1870. It would be forty years before another Constitutional amendment was passed by Congress and another four years after that before the 16th Amendment was added to our Constitution. And what an Amendment! Here is the text:

AMENDMENT XVI

Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.

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.

Are there 30 words in the English language that have provoked more angst, anger and cursing? I don’t think so. And yet it is highly unlikely that the United States would have become the world’s undisputed military superpower without the funds made available by the 13th Amendment.

Some have argued that the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified and therefore, there is no obligation to pay federal income taxes. I agree with the Straight Dope on this issue. Pay your taxes. Especially if you support government programs either military or civilian that are expensive.

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