Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column
May 4, 1998
Liberty must be our goal
Liberty Amendment abolishes income and death taxes

May is an important month. This is the time of year when the average American stops working to pay their federal taxes.

Around the latter half of the month, the average American marks "Freedom from Federal Tax Day," which does not mean any of us are yet working for ourselves. Far from it. In fact, once we stop working to pay off our federal taxes, we start working to pay for the cost of federal regulations and state and local taxes. It is not until early July that the people of the 14th District of Texas begin working for themselves.

That is disgraceful, which is why I wanted to come to Congress in the first place. For someone to work six months out of the year only to pay the tax-bill is ridiculous. Think about what you get for your money: EPA agents to grab your land if they think there are endangered weeds on it, OSHA inspectors to shut down your business for "improper" labeling of liquid paper, and IRS inspectors to seize your bank accounts if you use the wrong color of ink on the tax form.

For some, the issue is merely "how do we collect the taxes?" and proceed to debate the merits of a flat tax, a sales tax, a modified graduated tax, and on. But rarely is the real issue discussed by the Washington-insider policy-makers. The real issue is this: Why does government need so much of our money?

The answer is not complex; government wants money because it wants power; politicians want your money so they can make decisions that benefit them politically and force you to do what they want, being molded into their images. And so government grows. And grows. As they take more of our money, the more we are forced to rely on them, and the more money they "need" to "provide." It's a hideous cycle.

Despite what they regard as an inconvenience of the Constitution, the federal government continues to usurp more and more power and privileges which are more correctly left to the individual and the states.

Make no doubts about it, the income tax is horrible, aggressive and must go. At the same time, we must end the appetite the government has for the fruits of your labor. To this end I have introduced House Joint Resolution 116, an amendment to the Constitution, called the Liberty Amendment. The Liberty Amendment has a long history, dating back almost 40 years, with more than a dozen supporters in Congress of its various forms, including several current members.

The Liberty Amendment, if ratified, will repeal the 16th Amendment, which authorized the income tax.

But the Liberty Amendment would do more. It would also prohibit the federal government from taxing estates and gifts, and at the same time require that the federal government withdraw itself, within three years of enactment, from all activities not specified as an enumerated power of the federal government.

It is true that liberty is not free, nor is it easy. But tyranny - even varying degrees of it - is much more difficult, and much more expensive. The time has come to rein in the federal government, put it on a crash diet, and let the people keep their money and their liberty.

Perhaps we will celebrate freedom from federal tax day in January, and "Cost of Government" day in February. It may not happen soon, but we must have a goal.

Our founding fathers agreed that liberty was a worthwhile goal. So should we.