Teatime, anyone? I hope you've joined one of the thousands of TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties or FairTax rallies, which are happening across the country April 15 to protest outrageous government spending, the deepening of our national debt, and the subsequent taxes. This is a nonpartisan time to rally around like-minded citizens and declare that we're tired of the same old political rhetoric and that we want a better way.
I personally encourage all people to voice to their representatives that we need to return to a taxation system similar to the one established by our Founding Fathers. They did not penalize productivity through taxes the way we do today. They had no Internal Revenue Service. They believed in minimal taxation. They did not pay income taxes, which were prohibited by the Constitution. They did not pay export taxes, which also were prohibited by the Constitution. But they did tax imports. The Founders believed in free trade within our own borders and a system of tariffs on imported goods.
That's a system that makes sense to me. It is a system designed to preserve individual liberty and encourage productivity (through no income taxes and no discouragement of domestic production through export taxes) while choosing to keep taxes as painless as possible (through taxes on foreign imports). And it doesn't require an IRS to run it.
The Founders would have been horrified at the bloated federal bureaucracy we have now and the maze of taxes we have to navigate: income taxes, employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes, gas taxes, etc. It was excessive taxation like this that drove the Founders to rebel in the first place.
All of the Founders were opposed to domestic taxes. They regarded high taxes and aggressive tax collectors as tyrannical and always to be guarded against. Patrick Henry warned: "Excisemen may come in multitudes, for the limitation of their numbers no man knows. They may, unless the general government be restrained by a bill of rights or some similar restriction, go into your cellars and rooms and search, ransack and measure everything you eat, drink and wear." (A prophetic statement?)
The IRS wasn't started until nearly 100 years after the Revolutionary War, in 1862 as the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Its creation coincided with the creation of the income tax, which it was designed to collect. Both were the work of President Abraham Lincoln and Congress, who saw them as necessary to pay for Civil War expenses.