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(MSN)   9 out of 10 economists agree: Republicans have screwed up the budget so badly and left us with so much debt that if we try to pay it down we're all going to die. The other economist chose Dentyne   ( divider line
    More: Facepalm, United States public debt, Federal government of the United States, Money, Tax, Public finance, Government debt, Deficit, Barack Obama  
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2400 clicks; posted to Politics » on 02 Dec 2020 at 10:33 AM (13 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

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2020-12-03 10:53:35 AM  

Dr Dreidel: 1. Isn't a tax on held wealth a tax on property? Or are we saying only states can tax real estate or vehicles (which I guess is a decent argument)?

My understanding is that the federal government may only tax real estate, vehicles, and other property in non-State federal territories, such as DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and so forth. However, even there I'm not sure it's allowed to do so.

Dr Dreidel: 2. So long as it's based on a calculable rate, how isn't it uniform (same as income taxes)?

Per Article I, it's indirect taxes that must be uniform; (non-income) direct taxes must be not merely uniform, but "apportioned" in the same manner that federal Representatives are apportioned to Congress. To wit, "apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

See also License Tax Cases, 72 US 462: "It is true that the power of Congress to tax is a very extensive power. It is given in the Constitution, with only one exception and only two qualifications. Congress cannot tax exports, and it must impose direct taxes by the rule of apportionment, and indirect taxes by the rule of uniformity. Thus limited, and thus only, it reaches every subject, and may be exercised at discretion. But it reaches only existing subjects."

Dr Dreidel: 3. Pollock, to my reading, was specifically about income taxes, and was mooted by the 16th Amendment. The Article I power of taxation seems pretty broad.

Pollock was not entirely mooted. Pollock held (yet again) that only indirect taxes and uniform rule direct taxes were within the Article I power of the federal government, and that the income tax was not one of those. The Sixteenth Amendment added the power to tax on income. Therefore, the rule effective now is that only direct taxes (by rule of apportionment or by income) and indirect taxes and are within the Article I and Amendment XVI powers of the federal government.

See Eisner v Macomber (1920), emphasis added: "A proper regard for its genesis, as well as its very clear language, requires also that this Amendment shall not be extended by loose construction, so as to repeal or modify, except as applied to income, those provisions of the Constitution that require an apportionment according to population for direct taxes upon property, real and personal. This limitation still has an appropriate and important function, and is not to be overridden by Congress or disregarded by the courts.""

Dr Dreidel: 4. NFIB v Sibelius: if not everyone would be required to pay it (in that case, everyone who gets or declines health insurance; in this one, only people with wealth above a certain threshhold), it's not a capitation.

Capitations are taxes paid by every person, "without regard to property, profession, or any other circumstance."

If the wealth tax were a capitation, then it would be population apportioned and therefore Constitutional. It's not a capitation, and it's not an income tax. (Nor is it a licensing fee, which apparently per the License Tax cases the federal judiciary considers a uniform indirect tax; nor any other form of indirect tax.) The "wealth tax" is clearly a tax on held property, which is impermissible.

I've no idea what the fark kind of tax the insurance penalty is considered under Sibelius, or why the heck that one is considered Constitutional; you need to ask a real lawyer about that, and probably pay real money for the explanation.
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