Many of the problems we have with the Federal Government today can be traced back to a critical year. That year was 1913, the year in which the 16th and 17th Amendments were ratified and the Federal Reserve Act was passed, which set up the Federal Reserve Bank.
Of course, the seeds of the Statist Revolution of 1913 were sown earlier, but that was the year that the bad seeds took permanent root, where the Federal Government finally removed all semblance of being balanced by the states, and spawned the monstrosity we have today.
The 16th Amendment allowed Congress to directly levy an income tax on U.S. citizens without apportioning it among the states. Prior to this, Congress’s authority to levy an income tax was limited and could only levy direct taxes on the states (as determined by census counts). There is some dispute over how much this affected the balance of power between the states and the federal government, but its passage was (at least) symbolic and represented a key time when the Federal Government determined to increasingly tax incomes, and when – because of this assertion of its power to directly tax – it felt more able to take on debt.
The 17th Amendment allowed for the direct election of U.S. senators so that rather than having state legislatures elect senators – ensuring that the senators would be answerable to the states – they were elected by popular vote, nationalizing the elections and bringing national special interests into the funding of senatorial campaigns. In effect, it created a structural and incentive problem that shifted power away from the states and since that time the states have become more and more subservient satellites to a hegemonic national force.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A Century of Sickness: The Abominations of 1913 and How the 10th Amendment Movement Can Beat Back Leviathan
A Century of Sickness: The Abominations of 1913 and How the 10th Amendment Movement Can Beat Back Leviathan; Small Business Against Big Government