Grassroot Perspective – April 29, 2003-End the Income Tax – Pass the Liberty Amendment; Shareholders Group Pledges Full Support for the Bunning Amendment; Unintended Consequences Strike Again

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


Hon. Ron Paul of Texas

In the House of Representatives

Jan. 30, 2003

– End the Income Tax – Pass the Liberty Amendment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the Liberty Amendment, which
repeals the 16th Amendment, thus paving the way for real change in the
way government collects and spends the people’s hard-earned money. The
Liberty Amendment also explicitly forbids the federal government from
performing any action not explicitly authorized by the United States

The 16th Amendment gives the federal government a direct claim on the
lives of American citizens by enabling Congress to levy a direct income
tax on individuals. Until the passage of the 16th amendment, the Supreme
Court had consistently held that Congress had no power to impose an
income tax.

Income taxes are responsible for the transformation of the federal
government from one of limited powers into a vast leviathan whose
tentacles reach into almost every aspect of American life. Thanks to
the income tax, today the federal government routinely invades our
privacy, and penalizes our every endeavor.

The Founding Fathers realized that “the power to tax is the power to
destroy,” which is why they did not give the federal government the
power to impose an income tax. Needless to say, the Founders would be
horrified to know that Americans today give more than a third of their
income to the federal government.

Income taxes not only diminish liberty, they retard economic growth by
discouraging work and production. Our current tax system also forces
Americans to waste valuable time and money on complacence with an
ever-more complex tax code. The increased interest in flat-tax and
national sales tax proposals, as well as the increasing number of small
businesses that questioning the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS)
“withholding” system provides further proof that America is tired of the
labyrinthine tax code. Americans are also increasingly fed up with an
IRS that continues to ride roughshod over their civil liberties, despite
recent “pro-taxpayer” reforms.

Mr. Speaker, America survived and prospered for 140 years without an
income tax, and with a federal government that generally adhered to
strictly constitutional functions, operating with modest excise
revenues. The income tax opened the door to the era (and errors) of Big
Government. I hope my colleagues will help close that door by
cosponsoring the Liberty Amendment.

Above article is quoted from

– Shareholders Group Pledges Full Support for the Bunning Amendment

By American Shareholders Association

Press Release March 26, 2003

Contact: Daniel Clifton

Shareholders Group Pledges Full Support for the Bunning Amendment
Washington — American Shareholders Association (ASA) pledges the
organization’s full support for the Bunning Amendment to be voted on
today in the United States Senate. The amendment will repeal the
Clinton-Gore tax on Social Security benefits.

The 1993 Clinton tax increase levied on Social Security was an attack on
senior citizens and workers. Worker payroll contributions finance Social
Security benefits. Yet the benefits that senior citizens receive are
again taxed — a second time — if these citizens have incomes above a
threshold amount. This is an unjust form of double taxation and it must
be eliminated. “Senators who previously voted to maintain taxing senior
citizens fixed incomes should rethink their vote,” said ASA executive
director Daniel Clifton. “A number of representatives lost elections
last year based on this exact vote, including a Florida veteran Ways and
Means member.”

Before the 1993 tax increase, single retirees with incomes above $25,000
and $32,000 for couples paid taxes on half of Social Security benefits.
The 1993 increase, however, raised the threshold income for single
retirees to $34,000 and $44,000 for couples. The increase also imposed
levies on 85 percent of Social Security benefits — a 35 percent increase
on benefits.

“A large number of ASA members are senior citizens who are taxed on
their social security benefits and double taxed on their dividends,”
continued Clifton. “The Senators voting against this measure are the
same Senators that consistently complain about senior citizens being on
fixed incomes. Yet out of the other side of their mouth, they continue
to ensure the government continues to tax away all of their retirement
income via multiple layers of taxation on the same dollar.”

“The madness must stop and the Bunning amendment, as well as abolishing
the double taxation of dividends, is a great first step.”

The American Shareholders Association is a non-partisan, not-for-profit
organization dedicated to analyzing public tax policy from a market
perspective. To educate U.S. investors, the American Shareholders
Association analyzes legislation affecting stockholders, and reports the
public positions of elected representatives on these issues. For more
information, please contact Daniel Clifton at (202) 785-0266 or by email

Above article is quoted from The American Shareholders Association Press

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– Unintended Consequences Strike Again

By Kenneth Green

For decades, scholars with both environmentalist and free-market
leanings have pointed out that environmental policymaking is often blind
to critical economic considerations that doom otherwise well-meaning
environmental initiatives to fail, and even to cause more harm than

Researchers in academe and in the think-tank world have pointed out what
should have been obvious all along: that until their basic needs are
met, people are not likely to protect their local environmental systems
at the expense of their ability to eat, or keep a roof overhead.

These advocates of a New Environmentalism have also pointed out that
countries with greater economic freedom have greater levels of
environmental and health protection, graphically demonstrating that the
most proven pathway to health and environmental protection lies through
promoting economic freedom and ensuring that environmental policy
initiatives are compatible with economic freedom.

But old-school environmentalists either don’t get it, or just don’t want
to. Groups like Sierra Club, Earth First, the David Suzuki Foundation
and others persist in promoting environmental policies that, through
compromising economic freedom and strength, will ultimately compromise
the very safety and environmental quality they say they’re protecting.

An article that shows both the pitfalls of old-school environmentalism,
and the fact that old-school environmentalists still don’t get it ran in
the New York Times on February 4, 2003. You can find it here:

In “The War Against the Fur Trade Backfires, Endangering a Way of Life,”
Times reporter Clifford Krauss explains how some of the anti-fur
campaigns that began in the 1960s destroyed the economies of some of
Canada’s aboriginal people, turning them away from an environmental
ethic; leading them to find other ways to derive a living from their
natural resources; reducing their desire to protect ecosystems; and
sparking an explosion in the beaver population, now wreaking havoc on
farming through their dam-building way of life. The Krauss article also
points out that the health of the Canadian aboriginals has been
negatively impacted as well. Whereas their diet used to be high in seal
protein, their new modern diet is high in unsaturated fats and sugar,
raising the rates of diabetes in the population.

While many New Environmentalists (including myself) were horrified at
the suffering of animals held in leg traps, or seals clubbed to death
for their fur, we’ve always understood that bans and boycotts wouldn’t
achieve the desired outcome – the humane treatment of animals. Rather,
like the blunt objects they are, such boycotts and bans would just
inspire people to other economic activities, some of which might be
better for the environment and its animals, others worse. And along the
way, the boycotts and bans would cause suffering to the people dependent
on the use of a natural resource, which is a poor way to convince them
that society wants them to be responsible stewards of the environment.

Instead, we’ve pointed out that the best approach to protecting animals,
and for propagating the increasing global value placed on compassionate
animal treatment , was through harnessing the power of markets by using
property rights and incentives to progressively change an inhumane,
potentially unsustainable industry into a humane, sustainable market in
natural resources. We’ve said the same thing about protecting elephants
from inhumane ivory production; protecting raptors and other species
from overhunting; preventing large-scale clear-cutting; and preventing
damages from energy development.

And it’s not a matter of faith on our part. Numerous studies show that
picking or choosing one use of environmental resources over another
based on a tunnel-vision focus on environmental, moral, or economic
goals tends to miss the potential for unintended consequences, and
worse, to set people at odds with their fundamental economic interests,
which is self-sabotaging. Instead, new environmentalist researchers
have shown that the best path to environmental protection is to harness
the forces of markets to balance those uses to best serve the many
different interests that people have, starting with the most basic
interest in eating regularly, and moving inexorably up to a more complex
interest in preserving robust and pristine ecosystems. (If you’re
interested in the literature, drop me a note and I’ll give you some

But from the comments of some environmental activists quoted in the
Krauss piece, it seems that old-school environmentalists are still
missing the picture. Rather than learning their lessons from the
anti-fur campaign, they’re using the same kind of polarizing rhetoric
when it comes to the energy and timber industries that have moved in to
give the Canadian aboriginals hope for an improved quality of life.
Rather than asking how they can use property rights and incentives to
make natural resource development work sustainably with environmental
protection and in local economies, they’re propagating the mistaken idea
that natural resource development is inherently harmful to the
environment, and should be avoided regardless of the human impact of
foregoing resource use.

Let’s hope that this time, the decisions of the Canadian aboriginals
help them achieve not only the environmental quality they seek, but the
economic development they need.

Above article is quoted from Fraser Institute,

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“Few simple maxims exist for overcoming the tyranny of the status quo.
But there is one that ties closely with … Gradual versus abrupt
change. If a government activity is to be privatized or eliminated, by
all means do so completely. Do not compromise by partial privatization
or partial reduction. That simply leaves a core of determined opponents
who will work diligently and often successfully to reverse the change.”
— Milton Friedman

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’