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What Is Our Fair Share?

Written by | May 25th, 2012

Over the last three years, we have heard some people in our country talk incessantly about wealthy people needing to pay their (so-called) fair share. But, what really is our Fair Share?

In The United States Constitution, our Founders wrote these words:

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3:
“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…”

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4:
“No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census…”

Our Founders, when creating The U.S. Constitution, in Philadelphia, in 1787, largely agreed that, all direct taxation should be in direct proportion to our Representation, in The House of Representatives, in Congress; as it only stood to reason that, no one should be taxed without having proper Representation; neither should they have considerable  Representation, if their requisite, or proportional, amount of taxes were not paid to The Federal Government.

Below, are some words, by two men, who actually participated in those debates:

“All money to be raised for supplying the public treasury by direct taxation shall be assessed on the inhabitants of the several states according to the number of their representatives respectively in the first branch, … according to the general principle that taxation and representation ought to go together.” – Elbridge Gerry

“In one respect, the establishment of a common measure for representation and taxation will have a very salutary effect. As the accuracy of the census to be obtained by the Congress will necessarily depend, in a considerable degree on the disposition, if not on the co-operation, of the States, it is of great importance that the States should feel as little bias as possible, to swell or to reduce the amount of their numbers. Were their share of representation alone to be governed by this rule, they would have an interest in exaggerating their inhabitants. Were the rule to decide their share of taxation alone, a contrary temptation would prevail. By extending the rule to both objects, the States will have opposite interests, which will control and balance each other, and produce the requisite impartiality.” – James Madison

Clearly, the Founders were attempting to create a system that was truly equitable, and impartial. And, while subsequent taxes may not have always been agreed upon by the several states, each person was required to truly pay their “fair share” of Direct taxation, so that The Federal Government could provide the services that were enumerated to them by our Founders. This system was also a great mechanism to prevent Government officials from arbitrarily punishing or rewarding certain persons, or states, based on some political agenda; which, sadly, is what we have become accustomed to, in our lifetimes, since the inception of The Federal Income Tax, with the (1913) ratification of The 16th Amendment.

The 16th Amendment, basically, flipped the Founder’s original concept of Direct Taxation on it’s head; as it included these words: “…without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

This debate, however, goes well beyond just tax policy. How can any politician, or citizen, make such a determination as to what is someone’s fair share of income? There are many different variables involved, when someone has earned, or acquired, wealth. For example, some people have inherited wealth; others may have won the lottery, or hit the jackpot, at a casino. But, for the majority of people who have acquired wealth in our country, it is due to very hard work, very long hours, and their ability to take very big risks, with their own money, or borrowed money, which they have promised to pay back, with interest.

It is very disconcerting, and, at times, infuriating, to hear American politicians, and some of our own citizenry, trying to “impose” their own moral, and arbitrary, beliefs, onto fellow citizens. Often times, you hear things like, “it must be nice to have all that money,” when someone is referring to a successful business owner; but, if you ask that same person, “how would you like to have all of the same responsibility as that person”? The answer, generally, is “no thank you”! OK, fine, that is understandable. However, if you think that person should be forfeiting their (so-called) fair share of their income to Government, then, why are you unwilling to take on your fair share of their responsibility?

And, as much as I may enjoy these things, it can be asked, “why do people who play sports, or make movies, and music, often make so much money”? Why is that fair? How have they helped us to put fuel in our cars, food in our refrigerators, or clothes on our bodies? What is “fair” is not something that can be, or should be, determined by Government. Fair is determined by “consumer choice.” If a person is willing to pay top dollars to see a concert, or go to a ball game, then, that is “their choice.” And, as long as entertainers can bring in the spectators, then they can demand such salaries, and contracts.

Also, if a person is required to give their (so-called) Fair share of their income to Government, then, going back to the Founder’s original model, perhaps such people should then get their Fair share of Representation, in Washington D.C. In other words, taxation being directly proportional to your Representation. Conversely, if someone is paying zero in Federal income taxes, wouldn’t it only stand to reason that they should have zero Representation in Congress? 

And, if there is one true purpose for our Federal Government, it is their job to protect, and guarantee, Individual (Constitutional) rights, not to provide Equal things.

Posted also at Conservative Daily News

Further Reading:
Congress in implementing the 16th amendment

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6 thoughts on “What Is Our Fair Share?

  1. Lbrty77

    Thanks for pointing that out about any direct taxation having to be proportional to representation. I’ve read these clauses before while reading through the constitution, but didn’t pause and think through its ramifications. I’m still learning when it comes to every clause in the constitution. With your help Mark, perhaps I’ll be an expert someday. :)

  2. Jackie Durkee

    This is a hard one for me, in that, I am one of the ones that doesn’t pay any federal income tax. Not necessarily by my choice. I file my taxes the way I’m supposed to every year and they send me a check even though I have not paid anything.

    This just goes to show just how the people in Washington has messed up the entire economy of the United States.

    1.  They have messed up by creating the Federal Reserve bank that now prints money out of nothing, which has caused our inflation to run rampant. Once upon a time, a husband could be the sole bread winner in a family and make enough money and be considered at least middle class. Now, if there is only one person working, you are considered poor and can barely make ends meet and that is without paying any taxes. And even if you could afford to save money, it would not be worth it, considering they pay next to nothing in interest at the banks.

    2.  They have messed up by creating this massive complicated taxation department that has tried to compensate the horrible cost of living by giving some Americans money who cannot even afford to pay taxes if they had to. Then try to make up for it by over-taxing those who do make a lot of money.  This causes business owners to have to make up for the over-taxation by raising the prices of their products and services and reducing the number of their workers which just serves to increase the distance between the haves and have nots.  Then many of the have nots ignorantly believe the garbage government puts out that it is all due to greedy business owners and the wealthy.

    3. Then to top it off, the government spends way more than it takes in, which any person with half a brain should realize that you only go broke that way.

    My question is, will we ever be able to change Washington?  I’m not much of an optimist in this area. I only seeing things get worse and worse until the whole thing collapses.

    1. markross Post author

      Thank you for the insightful comment! I agree with just about everything you said.

      I am sure that a lot of what you mentioned is, the unintended consequences of some very bad legislation; but, I am also pretty sure that, a lot of the root causes, such as the Federal Income Tax, and The Federal Reserve, were done by design.

      The design was to make people, increasingly, more and more dependent on The Federal Government, and to allow the Federal Government to grow, exponentially, and to morph into something that was almost polar opposite to what the Founders had established. 

      In regards to being able to change Washington: I, too, am very skeptical! Especially when our citizenry seems hell-bent on continuing to elect these two, God-Forsaken, Constitution-be-dammed, Parties!

      1. Jackie Durkee

        All I can say to that is Amen and Amen. You are so very correct. What better way to set up a tryanny than to make slaves of the citizenry. And I feel very much like a slave and it makes me too angry! I do feel it is a very sinister design, and not just stupid people in power.

        1. markross Post author

          At the very least, we have allowed, and continue to allow ourselves to be slaves to this two-party tyranny! But, I do agree, for sure, that, there is something much bigger going on.


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