The 25% Total Tax Solution

for Guaranteeing Our Income Rights

Proposed XXVIII Amendment

to the Constitution of the United States


Article. XVIII.

Section 1. No citizen of these United States shall pay more than 25% of their total income in taxes.

Section 2. The express purpose of this amendment is to set a hard limit on the appropriation of monies from citizens of the United States by the government. Reject any other interpretation of this amendment in fact or spirit.

Section 3. Tax shall be clearly understood to include any monies extracted by the government in the form of taxes, fees, required set-asides, tolls, tariffs or any other mechanism.

Section 4. Government shall be clearly understood to include any level of government including but not limited to local, county, state, and national government; any agency of the government; or any representive of the government in any guise.

Section 5. Any taxes above 25% of total income must be refunded proportionally from taxing agencies within 1 month of notification of over billing.

Section 6. Taxes may be raised above the 25% limit in times of declared national emergency. When the national emergency is rescinded the rules in this amendment must be reinstated. The national emergency must be reinstated every 12 months by a super-majority vote of congress comprised of three-fourths of each House. If not reinstated the rules of this amendment are automatically enforced.

Section 7. For tax purposes business and personal income are not comingled.

Section 8. Taxable income shall be considered income from any and all sources subtracting expenses. The definition of expense shall be defined by federal law.

Section 9. Citizens with income below a threshold defined by federal law may be exempted from any taxes.

Section 10. All taxable entities are covered by all provisions of this amendment.


Discussion

Need for A Limit

Many people argue taxes are immoral, illegal, counter productive, and so on. Many others argue people aren't taxed enough to support the services they really desire. At some point taxation is no different than slavery which implies the top tax rate must be limited. It is also clear a majority of people want a certain set of government services which require a funding base.

Where will the sides meet? Nowhere. All sides will never agree which means public policy will forever jump between opposing positions. We can't end this deadly dance as this is how our government is constructed, but we can set limits guaranteeing our income rights as citizens of the United States. The constitution's primary purpose is to establish strict limits on government power. It should be extended to support limits in this important area: our income.

Limits Not Policy

Many people will complain how this amendment does not address all the issues people have with the current tax system:
  • Should the government even levy taxes?
  • The IRS should be disbanded!
  • A consumption tax is better than an income tax.
  • People can still game the system.
  • Rich people don't pay enough taxes.
  • The government spends too much.
  • The government spends money on things I don't like.
  • And an infinite number of other arguments...
Let's be clear, the purpose of this amendment is not to solve all tax problems, its purpose is to set limits, much like other parts of the constitution set limits on the government without specifying exact details. Once limits are set there is a lot of room to make policy changes, debate sides, etc., but no matter the change our income rights will be preserved.

Why not just detail policy? Two reasons:

  1. What is Best?

    Tax policy is extremely complex, complex enough that we can't prove which policy is optimal. Many people have opinions on what is optimal, but opinion is not the same as proof. As we cannot prove what policy is optimal we need the ability to make changes. The constitution cannot be easily changed so very detailed policies are best left out of amendments.

  2. We Can't Know the Future

    We need the flexibility to adapt to new situations. Our founding fathers could not imagine the world we live in today, just like we cannot possibly envision what the world will look like in another 200 years. Our founding fathers understood the wisdom of stating broad policy and letting details get worked out among the people and courts. This amendment springs from the same wisdom.

    There is still much freedom in taxing policy. A consumption could be used, the current system could stay in place, it doesn't matter as long as the limit is respected. We could and do argue the merits off all tax policy. A limit mitigates any potential damage guaranteeing a base set of income rights.

25% is Enough

Why a 25% total tax limit? Remember, the limit on the total amount of taxes you pay, no matter the source. And the amount could certainly be less. 25% is an upper bound and a good compromise number. We will never agree on a number so we need to pick a number that is not so high as to edge into oppression and not so low as to strangle government. In short, 25% is fair. For those who believe any tax is slavery there is no compromise. For those who believe the government should do everything no matter the cost there is also no compromise. For the rest of us a 25% tax load is a fair price for being a United States citizen.

Issues

Social Security Tax

If it fits in the 25% total tax solution then keep it. Otherwise let people invest their own money. Requiring people to save a certain amount of money is still a tax.

Fee Based Park and Recreation

Fees are taxes. Your taxes would be constitutionally limited so you could pay the fee but the total is limited.

Defining Expenses

Determining what is and what isn't an expense is really what makes the tax code complex. As the definition of expense is very complicated it is not included in this amendment and left up to congress to define. A small loop hole but a necessary one.

Where to Go From Here

Please tell other people about this proposal! Distribute it freely. Our income rights are just as important as our other rights.

And let me know what you think. I would like to improve this amendment so please make suggestions: tmh@possibility.com.


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