"If the major opportunities for future growth of government lie in the area of conventional taxation, are there any defenses available to the citizenry? ... Perhaps the most fruitful advice comes in two parts. The first piece of advice is to avoid war and the rumor of war: this is history's greatest boon to the tax man. ... The second piece of advice is to seek ways of inhibiting government's ability conveniently to increase its collections. Possibly the very increase in that ability that is in prospect can be turned to account by a constitutional provision which forbade the income tax, and perhaps even the storage of information regarding individual incomes by third parties, including government."
Benjamin Ward
(1926-2002) first black New York City Police Commissioner
"Taxes and the Size of Government," American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 72, No. 2 (May 1982), p. 350.
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk 
I hope these polticians tax themselves right out of their jobs.
 -- JT Ready, Mesa, Az
I like the proposed constitutional provision whic forbids the income tax. We should get on this right away. The government does not need to tax people to raise money -- they have the issuing power in their hands -- the only problem is it was hijiacked by private bankers who now control our money supply and have us all in debt over our ears forever.
 -- E Archer, NYC
The Constitution provides for direct and indirect taxes...which is income tax? What law makes me liable to pay income tax? Ask the IRS these questions and you'll never get an answer. Why? Because it would point out we aren't required to pay taxes.
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI
it,s a start: The forced violation of one’s security in person, house, papers, and effects, including personal ID are demonically sinister as well as unlawful and unconstitutional. A return to a government of a Representative Republic would solve the raping with tax. When the individual is lawfully represented as noble sovereign, king and Caesar his representative will lawfully be unable to do anything he can not do personally. He will NOT be able to compel the compliance, license, commit larceny, etc. against his peer noble sovereigns, kings, and Caesars.
 -- Mike, Norwalk
The purpose of income tax is, control. An affluent, educated, well informed public is difficult to control. Therefore, tax the public, turn public schools into training centers for conformity and feed the public half truths through the media and you achieve a compliant herd. Guns and religion are on the hit list too.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
What he says all seems to be true but is it GOOD. The IRS was created to finance the Civil War or War Between The States. Without it the US would be truncated and apparently the Confederate States would extend to the tip of South America with slavery all the way down. Without war Germany would rule most of the world and we would at a minimum be some type of vassal state. Forget about borders and going to the moon etcetea if citizens did not have to report their taxes under penalties of perjury. PS: Would it not also be great if we could go to the Supermarket, fill are carts and bags with groceries and compute the amount we owe ourselves and just drop it into a box on the way out. Why don't they let us do that? Unfortunatly the Supermarket feels a need to do a tally themselves and collect it themselves or not let us out the door. Funny isn't it that the idea of tallies and perjury and fair business dealings are part of all business transactions. Why should our dealings with the government be any different?
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
Archer what issuing power. We discussed the other day that just issuing money to pay debts is inflationary. One must earn money the old fashinoned way - WORK FOR IT. The way govenrments earn money is by the old fashinoned way of taxation, which is the transfering of real wealth (work credits denominated in dollars) to the governments whether it be in the form of sales taxes, property taxes, or income taxes. Having issuing power as you say is nonsense. When will you ever get on track.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
There are two April Fools days in April, the1st and the 15th. We need to get rid of one of them. Just for fun , call up your local IRS office and ask them to show you in the code the definition of "income". Actually. income is whatever the IRS says it is.
 -- jim k, austin,tx
Waffler, "The IRS was created to finance the Civil War"? Did you Wik that? Even Lincoln's tax on labor (without an IRS) was found unconstitutional, it being violative of the sovereign.
 -- Mike, Norwalk
I did not Wik that but I will now? My understanding is that there was no Internal Revenue until the Civil War. All revenue was exteranl. I don't believe the Civil War Internal Revenue was on labor but on wealth. And yes they hated Treasury Rats even back then. But like it or not the Treasury Rats were the real heroes of the Civil War and every other war and project this government has prosecuted.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
Yepper Mikey! Tax Act of 1862 established the Bureau of Internal Revenue and levied a tax of 3% on incomes between $800 and $10,000 and 5% avove that. Rates of course were entirely to high. Try Wikky sometime you may learn something rather than some secretive right wing propagandist rag.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN
The Bureau of Internal Revenue was, and is not the Internal Revenue Service. The BIR was a governmentally generated entity. The IRS was an after thought (I won't go into the history here) with no implementing authority. Thanks for the beyond Wik left wing propagandist rag interpretation. Thanks for proving my point.
 -- Mike, Norwalk
Mike, as Waffler has revealed in previous posts, he was in the accounting business, so all he knows is what he has been told by the very agencies that created his job in the first place. Bureaucrats will always defend their jobs even if they spend more than they produce in value. Of course, the BIR is not the Internal Revenue Service -- the IRS is incorporated in Puerto Rico -- which was not even a territory in 1862. Waffler presents a lot of rationalization for the de facto government, but what he seems committed to ignore is the 'authority' and 'jurisdiction' of various government branches. We do not live in a monarchy where any idea the King wishes to impose is law. Laws in the US can only be passed with the power and authority granted by the People. A sovereign people NEVER gave the government the power to tax their already-paid-for-property and certainly not their labors. 'Income' is not labor. You may not tax the labors of the citizens. However, the government MAY tax its own employees, and in particular when those employees are being paid in government coupons or script -- federal employees have many restrictions in what they can and cannot do. When we accept government script for our own trades, the use of these coupons are subject to the rules of the issuing party -- like phone cards, or discount coupons for goods and services. It also means that by accepting these government subsidies, we are in essence becoming government employees and thus subject to the reams and reams of federal statutes declaring what obligations the employee has. As well, granting a private commercial entity (the Fed) the right to buy $1 billion of government bonds with nothing more than a 2 cent piece of paper is ROBBERY. If Waffler can ever get his head around this important fact, then he may well understand why the game is absolutely fixed -- and not in his favor! Somehow the argument for a free market and honest money seems to be translated to Waffler to mean that he loses something -- quite the opposite, it means that all the purchasing power he has had stolen from him in the last 40 years would never have happened -- and wouldn't happen to his progeny. If he does have children, I do not see why he would foist this corrupt system upon them and their children. Government is a false idol. It is nothing more than one mafia keeping all the other mafias in check. Thus, they are not to be trusted, and in fact aren't. That is why we must restore the checks and balances in our government and fix the blots in our Constitutions that have allowed the money power to subvert our government and literally enslave the populace.
 -- E Archer, NYC
Archer, thank you. I have personally been acquainted with 2 cases where the federal prosecutor stipulated, in court, to the fact that the IRS is not a governmental entity and no enabling act had ever been passed that would authorize them to act for the despot of a similar name.
 -- Mike, Norwalk
Mike, have seen a tax case here where the CRA agent said in open court that the "Agency" operated at "arms length" from the government. So who are they actually responsible to? Certainly not the government.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
They cannot get money from us when we have nothing in banks but numbers!
 -- Ben Arnold, Ames, Iowa
I wonder what Waffler's real name is? He is as useful as tits on a boar!
 -- Ben Arnold, Ames, Iowa
First of all Waffler...the IRS is NOT government. It's the privately run collection wing of the privately owned Federal Reserve. You know! That for profit entity that we do not elect, that sees us as sheep to be fleeced and answers to no system of justice. In short, a Government sanctioned system of extortion with no accountibility, no morality and no scruples...it's a psycopathic eating machine that cares not one bit for Americans. How you can equate that as heroic is merely testimony to how twisted you and the system you idolize truly are. Flat tax at the till is the only system that is equally just and gives people the choice of whether or not they wish to participate with their purchases.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
Ben in Ames, don't be too hard on Waffler, He's good for some comic relief.
 -- jim k, Austin, Tx
Jim, I was going to say the same.
 -- Cal, Lewisville, TX
The IRS is nothing but bag men for the federal reserve mafia. They assume powers never granted, presume citizens as guilty, seize property without due process, intimidate individuals and small businesses, target folks who bring their crimes to light -- they are nothing short of hoodlums whose livelihood depends upon outright theft. And now, they will be in charge of determining what level of health care I am entitled to receive -- that is as long as I am in good standing with my income taxes...
 -- E Archer, NYC
How can the Imaginary Revenue Scum get money from us when the Feral (sic) Reserve said their system "works (us) only with credit" that would keep its value "if there were fewer people bidding against each other" --Keeping Our Money (their credit) Healthy ---published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Why would they need money when all of us are risking our lives for weightless credit that God forbids: De.25:13-15
 -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis
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