Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kennedy--Tax Cut Champion-Part I

Nancy Tengler

Like an old man, history has a tendency to repeat itself. Let's hope it does again. Soon.

Especially when it comes to taxes.

Our Founder’s fretted over taxes. They rebelled against them. They fought over them, debated them and eventually wrote a Constitution that all but ignored them. In short, taxes worried them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 10: "The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets."

Madison’s concern over the temptation to misappropriate the property of the few by the many was based on a sound and comprehensive reading of history and furthered through the actual experience of the colonists at the hands of British Parliament.

Central to everything that the Founders believed, the core principles that influenced the architecture of our government, was the overriding certainty that man cannot be trusted with power. Lord Acton, the British historian and moralist who wrote in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” captured the essence of the assumption that guided the authors of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers over 100 years before. The Framer’s were suspicious of power, knew that it would corrupt the most noble mind and they further believed the tendency toward corruption was most profound when it involved power over the property of others. This made the issue of direct taxation problematic.

The Founders in their collective wisdom placed the emphasis on indirect taxation as the source of revenue. This would provide a reliable source of income without the potential pitfalls of the majority re-appropriating the property of the minority.

That is until the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913. It didn't take long (about 50 years) for the marginal tax rate to rise to 91% . And that's where Kennedy came in.

Tomorrow--the Kennedy tax cuts and prosperity.

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