Amend It or No Tax!

ARTICLE 1 SECTION 9 of the Constitution forbids the taxation of interstate commerce.

No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.

Congress does not have the authority to permit the states to collect sales taxes on goods traveling between states. Note that the actual text of the Constitution refers solely to the goods themselves and make no mention of the location of the businesses or individuals shipping or receiving. Only that the goods be carried out (that’s what “export” means — to carry out) of one state.

It may be argued that “export” refers only to the transporting of goods between countries or nations. To which the response is that, in the original conception, the states of the United States were sovereign nations. And nothing has been done to amend the Constitution to change that. No, not even the vaunted 14th Amendment. (As a close reading of that Amendment shall reveal.)

It might be argued that states may collect taxes on goods imported to the several states, except that only Congress has that power, and may not delegate it, and, at least for commerce within the United States, any good imported to one state must first be exported from another, and the taxation of that transaction is forbidden by the above provision.

It most certainly will be argued that states will suffer reduced revenue from this. The response is that that is not a bug, but a feature. It is not a detriment, but a desideratum. All governments in this day and age spend profligately. Worse, they ignore or abdicate their primary fiduciary duties and hare off after the pet projects of corrupt officials. And, when the citizenry dares to object, officialdom threatens to cut back on the fiduciary responsibilities, but will never cut the pet, pork-barrel projects. The people have little or no prospect of relief from excessive taxation save to forbid taxation altogether whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself.

And it will be complained that all scofflaw tax evaders will have to do to dodge these new taxes is to move goods across state lines. My answer to that plaint is, “Good. Do without for awhile and maybe you’ll mend your ways.” Well, not that I believe they will or would, but the point needs to be made and keep being made until it can no longer be brushed aside.

Amend it or No tax


One response to “Amend It or No Tax!

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