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Capitalism, since it was spawned in the Enlightenment, has achieved one success after another. Standards and quality of living, following millennia of near stagnation, have risen at an unprecedented rate over large parts of the globe. Poverty has been dramatically reduced and life expectancy has more than doubled. The rise in material well-being – a tenfold increase in global real per capita income over two centuries – has enabled the earth to support a sixfold increase in population.
We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.
It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else.
No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations.
Here I close my opinion. I could not say less in view of questions of such gravity that go down to the very foundations of the government. If the provisions of the Constitution can be set aside by an Act of Congress, where is the course of usurpation to end? The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich; a war growing in intensity and bitterness.
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, "No capitation or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration..."
... and that's all I have to say about that.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
But it clearly results that the proposition and the contentions [240 U.S. 1, 12] under it, if acceded to, would cause one provision of the Constitution to destroy another; that is, they would result in bringing the provisions of the Amendment exempting a direct tax from apportionment into irreconcilable conflict with the general requirement that all direct taxes be apportioned. Moreover, the tax authorized by the Amendment, being direct, would not come under the rule of uniformity applicable under the Constitution to other than direct taxes, and thus it would come to pass that the result of the Amendment would be to authorize a particular direct tax not subject either to apportionment or to the rule of geographical uniformity, thus giving power to impose a different tax in one state or states than was levied in another state or states. This result, instead of simplifying the situation and making clear the limitations on the taxing power, which obviously the Amendment must have been intended to accomplish, would create radical and destructive changes in our constitutional system and multiply confusion.
But, aside from the obvious error of the proposition, intrinsically considered, it manifestly disregards the fact that by the previous ruling it was settled that the provisions of the 16th Amendment conferred no new power of taxation, but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged
Those who take the most from the table, teach contentment. Those for whom the taxes are destined, demand sacrifice. Those who eat their fill, speak to the hungry, of wonderful times to come. Those who lead the country into the abyss, call ruling difficult, for ordinary folk. ~Bertolt Brecht~