The Other Door Is Wide Open

The standard procedure when progressives have wanted to mount an attack on constitutional protections has been to knock on the front door and whisper the magic words, "the Commerce Clause," and the guardians of the door (the Supreme Court) would typically say, like the line from Bob Dylan's Blues, "Tell the judge I said it was all right."  This charade has profoundly expanded the power of the federal government.  In last week's ObamaCare ruling, the court essentially said, "Boys, why do you keep knocking on the front door?  The back door is wide open!"

That any Supreme Court justice could claim that the coercive monster of ObamaCare is OK under the taxing power of the federal government is frightening.  By this strange ruling, the Court has pointed out the unspoken truth that there is no constitutional limit on the amount of taxation or its use, or even what might rightly be called a tax.

Neither in Article I, Section 8 nor in the 16th Amendment is there any limitation whatsoever as to how much tax may be taken.  This very concern was brought up during the ratification of the Constitution and in the Anti-Federalist Papers, as discussed in an earlier American Thinker article.

Frank Chodorov discussed the limitless 16th Amendment in his 1954 book The Income Tax, Root of all Evil:

The amendment puts no limit on governmental confiscation. The government can, under the law, take everything the citizen earns, even to the extent of depriving him of all above mere subsistence, which it must allow him in order that he may produce something to be confiscated.

Indeed the government can -- the top tax rate from 1950 to 1963 was over 90%!

Nor is there any limit on the use of tax proceeds.  The enumerated powers of the Congress in Article I, Section 8, further reinforced by the 10th Amendment, might as well not exist.  All branches of government pretend that "provide for the general welfare" is a blank check.  Were that the Founders' intent, there would have been no point in listing enumerated powers.

James Madison repeatedly argued that the power to tax and spend did not confer upon Congress the right to do whatever it thought to be in the best interest of the nation, but only to further the ends specifically enumerated elsewhere in the Constitution -- a position supported by Thomas Jefferson.  Needless to say, such a position has been lost to history, and to the Supreme Court.

The present concept of taxing power, and particularly the income tax, has led to countless social engineering schemes which would have otherwise been prohibited by the Constitution.  Unlimited taxing power has also become a tool of wealth-redistribution, a concept abhorrent to the Founders.

Now we have, with ObamaCare, yet another "boggles the mind" Supreme Court ruling, leaving us powerless against government use of force.  As Spock would say, "this is illogical."  Some say, "If it smells like a tax, it must be a tax."  Others might say, "If it smells like a rat, it must be a rat."

While the Democrats keep hoping this cow pie turns into an apple pie, the rest of us are determined to repeal the whole smelly thing.  The Supreme Court ruling leaves us only with the voting booth.  Many Americans don't care about the power of government so long as the government uses force against someone else to get them their "gifts" from Uncle Sam.  Maybe there are enough of us who revere the Constitution to vote out the abusers of power.  Perhaps we are hearing now the faint rumblings of a landslide in November.

We, the American people, are now alone, deserted by those who should have protected our liberty.  There may be no hero to lead us; we have only the hero in ourselves.  Alone, we must go into every election determined put in place a Congress and a president who will return to us the protections granted by the Founders.  If not, the country will continue on the road to fiscal and moral bankruptcy and, eventually, tyranny.

Gary Horne is a retired engineer and founder of