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It Takes a Tea Party to Start a Tax Revolution: Caroline Baum

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Caroline Baum
Aug 16, 2010

Have you read the U.S. Constitution recently, especially the part where We, the People, give Congress the power to levy and collect taxes?

There’s nothing in there about carving out special exemptions for certain individuals or groups; about using tax credits to achieve socially desirable outcomes, such as getting married and having children; or about doling out earmarks in an implicit exchange for campaign contributions.

How can we get Congress out of the tax-favor business?

We need new rules (a constitutional amendment), a new framework (independent commissions) or a new crop of lawmakers with the political will to look beyond the next election and solve the country’s fiscal problems.

First, some history. The Constitution grants Congress 18 enumerated powers (Article I, Section 8). The power to tax is No. 1. The power to borrow is No. 2. No. 18, the “necessary and proper clause,” empowers Congress to pass all laws that are necessary and proper to do the 17 other things it’s authorized to do. It pretty much gives Congress carte blanche.

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This article was posted: Monday, August 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

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