How to Repeal the 16th and 17th AmendmentsBy Theodore Koehl
Americans may be able to regain control over their federal government by moving their respective individual state legislatures to invalidate the 16th and 17th Amendments to the United States Constitution. Essentially, this is a vote to reverse ratification of an Amendment without a Constitutional Convention.
Repeal of the 16th Amendment starves the federal beast by depriving it of its consumption of money from the states and the taxpayers through income taxes. States could exercise better control over how or even if their money is spent.
Repeal of the 17th Amendment makes United States senators directly appointed by the state legislatures, as they were at our nation's founding, and representative of the will of each state and its citizens. This action would check the federal government's proclivity to pass laws binding the states to unfunded mandates. It would increase the sovereignty of the several states and restore true federalism back into our system of government.
The states can do this by individual vote; this way, a Constitutional Convention and the subsequent dangers presents to liberty can be avoided. Three-fourths of the state legislatures would have to vote to repeal each or any Amendment. Once each state votes to invalidate an Amendment, the vote is sent to the Archivist of the National Archives. The result would be a return to the Constitution as it existed before the now repealed Amendments were included.
The United States of America was founded as a representative republic, where several sovereign states voluntarily joined under a common federal sovereign to better guarantee the unalienable rights of "We the People." This federal government was to be strictly limited to the enumerated powers given to it under the Constitution of the United States by the sovereignty of the several states and the people, who themselves are sovereign individuals.
The federal government is supposed to be strictly limited in power to only those things authorized in the Constitution. The several states were to always enjoy plenary power -- that is, power over everything not specifically given over to the federal government. Any powers not delegated to the several states were to be with the people as individuals.
Today, the federal government has been allowed to grow in size and scope of authority where it now imposes its will in every way over our individual daily lives. It has usurped the plenary powers of the several states. Every issue making news today seems to have a federal solution proposed or enacted instead of allowing the states, which are closer to the people within them, to address those issues.
The root of the current problem is that the federal government bends and contorts and stretches the plain meaning of the U.S. Constitution. It is allowed to do this, in part, by its taxing authority. The federal government taxes almost everything, taking the wealth of each state and of every individual for its own use.
The federal government redistributes this wealth as it sees fit to enact controls over the several states and the people through various administrative agencies, policies, and programs. The purported original need for an administrative agency, policy, or program is rarely, if ever, met.
In fact, the original need becomes modified with other causes and objectives requiring these agencies to grow; new policies and programs must be promulgated to better meet real or imagined demands.
Thus, the system is self-perpetuating. Without proper checks by the Congress, the administrative state becomes all-encompassing, oppressive, and in some respects, tyrannical.
But Congress has repeatedly failed to act. It benefits as an institution because the money the government gets is first distributed by its own members. This is properly so if each respective branch of our government works according to separation of powers as intended by the Framers.
Too often, the "separate powers" of the federal government seem to work in unison against the will of the American people. It is in those times that the Framers asserted the American people must respectfully move to regain control and place each house in proper order.
An effective method of dealing with this is for the several states to "starve" the federal Leviathan by reducing or denying its lifeblood-money. Prior to the enactment of the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, taxes were paid to the federal government by apportionment based on population, and through certain direct fees (taxes) on customs, alcohol, and other select commodities.
The 16th Amendment allows the federal government the authority to directly tax the incomes of all individuals by whatever type and means necessary. Repeal of this amendment is necessary for the several states to regain financial control over federal spending. Cutting the money tap will in effect reduce or eliminate federal borrowing and annual debt. It will also bring the power that comes with distributing that money back to the influence of the states, closer to the people.
With monies reduced, administrative bureaucracy, unnecessary policies, and unneeded programs will also reduce. Some may be eliminated. A strictly limited federal government exercising only its constitutionally permitted powers restores trust and is beneficial to the American people.
Likewise, the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution now allows for the direct election of United States senators. The Senate was originally the part of Congress that represented the several states and their respective state's interests.
The House of Representatives originally, as today, were the part of Congress elected directly by the people. With the Senate directly elected by the people instead of appointed by each state's legislature, the Senate has become a de facto extended-term House of Representatives.
Senators rarely represent the interests of their home state today, as demonstrated by their voting for huge indebtedness as a national issue and voting for unfunded mandates adversely affecting the state they purport to represent, among many other self-interest issues.
The United States Constitution can have amendments added to it via two methods: the first is by a proposed amendment approved by two-thirds of the House of Representatives and approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The proposed amendment then goes before each state's legislature for majority approval. When three fourths of all states (38) ratify the proposed amendment, the amendment then becomes part of the United States Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. The votes of each of the legislatures of the several states submit their letter of decision to the Archivist of the United States, in the National Archives. This method has been used exclusively since the first Constitutional Convention, and it includes all amendments (27) in existence today.
The second method is for two thirds of the states (33) to call a Constitutional Convention, propose an amendment, and then have it successfully ratified by a minimum of three fourths of the several states (38). The amendment then becomes part of the United States Constitution. The votes of each of the legislatures of the several states submit their letter of decision to the Archivist of the United States, in the National Archives.
The problem with the second method is the lack of control that might be exhibited by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. A group intent on radically changing our Constitution could do away with many protections we enjoy today or grant certain offices or persons in government additional powers and authority never intended. Even though any proposed amendment proceeding forth would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of all the states to become part of the constitution, the danger to this republic is unknown.
A unique consideration would cause the legislatures of the several states to vote to de-ratify or nullify the 16th and then 17th Amendments. This should be accomplished with little danger to the republic in that once three fourths of the several states (38) vote to de-ratify an amendment, the Constitution would return to its former status as to law.
Since the action would not involve a Constitutional Convention, there would be no new amendment(s). Any changes would be perceived by the legislatures of the several states and would be close to the people for comment and redress of grievances.
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