In America we usually take an eisegetical approach to the Constitution. But how would a strict constitutionalist view taxes? I have my own (probably unoriginal) theory using some context of the time but I'll wait until this gets a few replies.

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So it's possible to lower the national debt without imposing an income tax? And didn't the deficit increase after the 16th Amendment?

We could eliminate the debt tomorrow.

Without drastic measures?

But, anyway. The fact that the Founding Fathers specifically said "absolutely no direct taxation until 1808," and then over a century later, long after they are all dead, we get the 16th Amendment, shows they didn't want it. If we couldn't impose direct taxation, why did they ban it in the first place?

Does it really matter what they wanted then VS the realities you have to address now? At what point does following their alleged intentions to the letter because less about logic and more about zealotry? Surely someone wise would realize that, over time, pragmatism would inevitably be required.

The American Revolution wasn't pragmatic. We live in a different world than the one existed 200 years ago. But if the philosophical principles that gave America her independence are correct, they would still be correct today. I believe it is our job to translate them into ideas that work in 2017, but still retain the spirit of 1776. Nobody said that would be pragmatic.

Income tax in my opinion does not honor the intent of the Founding Fathers. Even after the ban lifted they didn't impose it. And as I said, it doesn't follow that because they allowed the Constitution to be amended, they proactively endorsed any amendment. They didn't even agree on adding the Bill of Rights. However, the Founding Fathers were anything but control freaks. Hence the 16th Amendment in the 20th century.

They kicked the can due to the controversial nature of the subject. You have to remember also, during that time period, we were selling off large swaths of public land to private interests. There were a lot of import tariffs monies due to our fledgling industrial base. Basically, our growth sustained us until it couldn't any longer

Because that wasn't their job at that time. Those mechanisms were already in place. Nowhere did the Constitution say "oh btw, if any of these dudes are still alive when you want to make changes, be sure you have them write it."


The Constitution is a document built by a process, not specific individuals. Fetishizing a few individuals misses the point, and I think they'd agree. 

Oh well, the Original Framers also didn't think the Bill of Rights was necessary in the beginning, either.   One reason the Constitution banned capitation (by the individual) was slavery.  You can imagine how well any reform of a central government that included a tax on all persons, even if legally only 3/5 of a person, would have gone over in states where slave owners might, might, mind you, find themselves paying a federal "head tax" on each slave.

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