Yesterday, in the kick off article for “Truth Week,” I debunked the Seventeenth Amendment and exposed how Senators direct wealth-producing legislation toward the industries that later employ them – and they get very, very rich. All of this was accomplished through increased tenure in the Senate, which was the true purpose of the Seventeenth Amendment, as state legislatures restrained federal spending, and frequently sent new representatives to Washington, D.C.
However, none of this would have been possible if it was not for the Sixteenth Amendment. Although named as the earlier law, it was ratified after the Seventeenth Amendment, as both were passed as part of a logrolling deal, and we can examine the damage from these two Progressive Era amendments in the context of modern events.
To be sure, the targeting of conservative groups was an intentional effort to use the tax code and the IRS to arbitrarily help and hurt different groups in society. Despite what Barack Obama or Jay Carney may say, or what daily developments may come to light, we can rest assure that the order came from Washington because that was the intention of the Sixteenth Amendment to begin with.
Sure, the amendment’s ability to raise money provided the federal government a means to funnel money to political alliances that could not be enjoyed by the original federalist design, this is merely an added bonus and means of political support. The ultimate aim is to protect and preserve the power status quo. In other words, they like the little arraignment they have – they provide “rents” in the form of wealth-producing legislation to special interest, who in turn ensure their reelection by paying to trick us during election cycles with million dollar ad campaigns filled with misinformation – and neither of these political players intends to allow the status quo to be weakened.
There were many special interest groups in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that had an enormous amount to gain from the ratifications of both amendments, but only one group had a presence that transcended regions – labor. Labor, however, had two main obstacles holding them back from infinite publicly funded projects.
In the Supreme Court decision, Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. (1895), the court ruled that the Income Tax Act of 1894 was, in essence, a series of direct taxes that violated various sections of Article I in the Constitution. It was a devastating defeat for labor, who already had to contend with President Grover Cleveland, who disagreed with taxing the whole of the public to arbitrarily direct dollars to political allies in labor, and he vetoed them every chance he got.
If the whiskey was again going to begin flowing from the federal barrel, then the Progressive Era would have to deliver a constitutional amendment. After the court ruling, the progressive senator from Nebraska, Norris Brown, summed up the progressive goal to pass an amendment “which will give the court a Constitution that can not be interpreted two ways.”
The second challenge to labor was the tendency of elderly workers to simply want to stay out of politics, and do their job – pesky civic work duty. “While labor sought out younger workers to amass sufficient numbers to increase political influence, as far as older workers were concerned, employment was enough to be content as it provided a higher standard of living than pensions and satisfied their duty to labor.” As historian William Graebner – not a conservative by any means – found:
For employers, this meant that older workers would be more likely to resist ‘outside influences and agitation’…
Although progressives have a version of history that makes it sound as if elderly workers were in dire need of pension reform, the truth was that older workers – specifically older white workers – were being unnaturally pushed out of the “progressive” industry labor force, because they were of no political use to labor, thus the need to make them dependent on big government.Whereas the labor participation among men 65 and over was once the vast majority, a significant disparity between white and black Americans reflected how industry targeted white male workers 65 years and over. Consequently, black Americans have been enticed away from their work ethic, as the entire rate for all ages today is only 61.3 percent. It is certainly worth mentioning that the progressive agenda throughout the 20th century advanced toward the same goal, and as of April of 2013, the labor force participation rate for all adults age 65 and over, is sadly only 6. 9 percent. – From “Our Virtuous Republic”
If the graph is not enough for you to have an “aha” moment, there is plenty of first-hand eyewitness testimony exposing the progressive effort to rid industry of the tenets of the American mainstream ethic, such as the instances from Detroit in the early automotive industry:
During the springtime rehiring season in Detroit, stores stocked extra supplies of black shoe polish, which older workers daubed on their hair to disguise tell-tale patches of gray.
Progressives may have been begging to fund “old-age insurance” for white elderly workers, which of course would ensure their long-term dependence on big government, the workers themselves were not exactly begging for them to. To the contrary, pensions could not provide the same standard of living, which is why they resorted to darkening their hair with shoe polish in order to remain undetected by the industry foreman, who would promptly fire them without pay if they discovered their age.
I could go on forever, but their would not be enough room in one article. I would urge you to finish your research on the Progressive Era, because they are ultimately after the American mainstream Protestant ethic that Max Weber cited as the uniquely American quality that separated us from Europe and other failed attempts at liberty.
Today, thanks to the Progressive Era amendments, politicians arbitrarily enforce perceived and manufactured violations to the tax code with the bureaucratic army that is the IRS. At this point, the only recourse is to repeal these amendments altogether, or implement term limits in conjunction with a flat-tax – or otherwise known as the “fair tax.”
To the aid of the last progressive president, Bill Clinton, Branch Ministries was targeted by the IRS for an ad that stressed opposing his candidacy, while Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago clearly did much, much more in support of a political candidate – Barack Obama. Branch Ministries saw their tax-exempt status revoked, while Trinity United Church of Christ saw their scrutiny evaporate.
I will leave you will the words of the father of our Constitution, James Madison, who in hindsight knew all too well and warned those who would read his immortal words that natural tendency of big government and “pure Democracy” is to serve the needs of the few – at expense to the many; at the expense of We the People.
Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of Government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions. A Republic, by which I mean a Government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different perspective, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.
Don’t forget to follow and tweet #Truth to @Peoples_Pundit or @LauraBaris to receive your discount code for the new book “Our Virtuous Republic” and help spread the truth, while supporting veterans through the action of civil society. Learn more here in Hometown Veterans Outreach Letter.
- Truth Week: IRS Scandal Exposes the Progressive Era Amendments (richardbaris.wordpress.com)
- Truth Week: In Wake of All the Lies and Obama Scandals, We are Kicking Off (richardbaris.wordpress.com)
- Demint and Heritage Double Down on IRS Obamacare Intrusion (richardbaris.wordpress.com)