The United States Constitution supposedly guarantees every citizen equal protection of the laws but when it comes to the citizens’ paying taxes equal protection of the laws is a far cry from equal; in fact it’s unequal, unconscionable, unfair, and inequitable.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, provides that: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”
Thus, the original Constitution did not permit the government to tax commerce among some citizens at a higher rate than upon others. Taxes, duties, imposts and excises must be uniform throughout the United States.
The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified soon after the Civil War, provides that: “… nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The United States Supreme Court, in the 1954 case of Bolling v. Sharpe, held that the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees all citizens the same equal protection of the federal laws as the Fourteenth Amendment mandates against laws passed by the states.
The equal protection guarantee extends not only to laws that obviously discriminate on their face as did the laws that intentionally segregated races in public schools, but also to government action having a discriminatory purpose, effect, or application.
In other words, the federal government, including the President, Congress, and all administrative agencies, may not make or promulgate discriminatory laws, period. At least thats what the Constitution would have us believe.
Before 1913, less than 100 years ago, the federal government had absolutely no power to tax the incomes of citizens. That was a time when there was still a modicum of liberty in America.
But all that changed with the Sixteenth Amendment which provides that: “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.”
Notice that this Amendment made no provision to allow for discriminatory tax laws, so there is still no constitutional authority for the federal and state governments to tax some people at one rate while taxing other people at another while some people are levied no income tax at all.
Suppose that the federal and state governments passed tax laws which mandated that only white people were required to pay income taxes and that all people of color were not required to pay income taxes.
Suppose income taxes were imposed only upon fat people while normal sized and skinny citizens were exempted by the income tax laws. Imagine laws requiring unmarried persons to pay income taxes but not married persons; red haired citizens, but not blondes; men but not women.
Do you think such laws would pass constitutional muster? Would they deprive anyone of equal protection?
Well, of course every one of them would be unconstitutional as they would all deny some citizens of equal protection of the laws.
How is it, then, under the federal Constitution of the United States of America, that the government is allowed to tax some people at much higher rates than others, or make some people pay income taxes while leaving others alone?
I say that the Constitution does not permit it.
If one person must pay income taxes of 50% or more on earnings of $1million while another person is required to pay 20% on earnings of $100,000, that amounts to a denial of equal protection of the law as the former must pay half of his income to the government while the latter must pay only one fifth.
Republican congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland has introduced the Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act — or STACHE Act — to give people with mustaches a $250 tax break each year.
Northeastern State University Associate Professor of Accounting and Tax Policy Dr. John Yeutter recommends the tax loophole, claiming that the “social and environmental benefits to mustache growth and maintenance contribute to the growth of the economy… Given the clear link between the growing and maintenance of mustaches and incremental income … mustache maintenance costs qualify for and should be considered as a deductible expense,” he argues.
Of course, this is barely the tip of the iceberg. Politicians have been denying people equal protection of the laws in thousands of ways ever since the Sixteenth Amendment allowed governments to tax the incomes of citizens.
The American tax system is a system of unequal protection of the law.