The 13th Amendment - The 16th Amendment
"Suppose you get a Supreme Court composed of such judges, who have been appointed by a partisan president upon their giving pledges how they would decide a case before it arose, - what confidence would you have in such a court? Would not your court be prostituted beneath the contempt of all mankind? What man would feel that his liberties were safe, his rights of person or property was secure, if the Supreme Bench, that August tribunal, the highest on earth, was brought down to that low, dirty pool wherein the judges are to give pledges in advance how they will decide all the questions which may be brought before them? It is a proposition to make that court the corrupt, unscrupulous tool of a political party." Stephen A. Douglas, 1858
The 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist withing the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
The 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Someone who had no knowledge of the law would look at the 16th amendment and automatically think that their labor could be taxed, since they've been conditioned to think from childhood that the money they are paid for providing their labor is income. Now that we are no longer stupid and uninformed, we know that "income" in the legal sense is a gain or a profit from business activity. Now let's dissect the 16th amendment so their can be no doubt as to it's meaning.
In 1894, Congress wrote an income tax law that was signed into law by President Cleveland. I'm serious - members of Congress really wrote the whole law. However, a constitutional challenge was made to the law, and the following year the challenge came before the Supreme Court. The case was Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co.. The Court pointed out the fact that "the constitution divided federal taxation into two great classes, - the class of direct taxes, and the class of duties, imposts and excises, - and prescribed two rules which qualified the grant of power in each case...... The power to lay direct taxes, apportioned among the several states in proportion to their representation in the popular branch of congress, - representation based on population as ascertained by the census, - was plenary and absolute, but to lay direct taxes without apportionment was forbidden. The power to lay duties, imposts, and excises was subject to the qualification that the imposition must be uniform throughout the United States."1 This is not that hard to understand. Let's look at the Constitution. Article I deals with the powers of congress. Part of Section 8 says: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises....... but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." Part of Section 9 says: "No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken." Part of Section 2 says: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states......." Duties, imposts, and excise taxes are what are called "indirect taxes" because are passed on to people as consumers and do not act directly upon them, like a property tax does. No where in this case can we see the remotest hint that the income tax the Congress wrote in 1894 was intended to tax labor.
"The stress of the argument is thrown, however, on the assertion that an income tax is not a property tax at all; that it is not a real estate tax, or a crop tax, or a bond tax; that it is an assessment upon the taxpayer on account of his money-spending power, as shown by his revenue for the year proceeding the assessment; that rents received, crops harvested, interest collected, have lost all connection with their origin, and, although once not taxable, have become transmuted, in their new form, into taxable subject-matter, - in other words, that income is taxable, irrespective of the source from whence it is derived."2
You see, Congress wanted to be able to directly tax the gains from using real estate (rents, for example), the gains from interest, the gains from crops, the gains from using the labor of working people (employees), and all other gains from using property; but they wanted the tax to be treated as an indirect tax so they could bring the money directly into the treasury and spend it as they wanted. Having to apportion the tax among the several states would defeat that purpose. Guess what? The Court didn't create the fiction that Congress wanted back then, and they ruled the income tax unconstitutional because it was a direct tax, and Congress was treating it as if it were a indirect tax. So it became necessary to amend the Constitution. All the amendment did was allow congress to directly tax the gains and profits of business activity, but even though the tax was direct, the 16th amendment allowed the congress to treat the tax as if it were indirect. That way the money would go into the treasury and they could spend it the way they wanted. So the 16th amendment became part of the Constitution in 1913. That's why the Supreme Court later said in it's 1919 term: "As repeatedly held, this did not extend the taxing power to new subjects, but merely removed the necessity which otherwise might exist for an apportionment among the states of taxes laid on income."3 Directly taxing labor, ever since 1937, has extended the taxing powers to new subjects. This creates a new constitutional question; and that is whether or not the 16thamendment has been perverted in its meaning to violate the 13th amendment. Let's examine this question.
Remember the quote from the Dred Scott case where the status of slavery is determined by "the compulsory power of directing and receiving the fruits of his [the slaves's] labor."? When your labor gets directly taxed or garnished, what happens? I rest my case. Or were you hoping for a more elaborate argument?
The 16th amendment cannot be used to impose the status of slavery upon working people. This violates the 13th amendment and perverts the congressional intent of the 16th amendment. The congress has no power to change the status of the inhabitants of the states and territories, unless in accordance with the due process of the 13th amendment. Justice Nelson, in the Dred Scott case, said:
"If Congress possesses the power, under the Constitution, to abolish slavery in a territory, it must necessarily possess the like power to establish it. It cannot be a one sided power, as may suit the convenience or particular view of the advocates. It is a power, if it exists at all, over the whole subject; and then, upon the process of reasoning which seeks to extend its influence beyond the territory, and withing the limits of a state, if Congress should establish, instead of abolish, slavery, we do not see but that, if a slave should be removed from the territory into a free State his status would accompany him, and continue, notwithstanding the laws against slavery. The laws of the free State, according to the argument, would be displaced, and the Act of Congress, in its effect, be substituted in their place. We do not see how this conclusion could be avoided, if the construction against which we are attending should prevail. We are satisfied, however, it is unsound, and that the true answer to it is, that even conceding, for the purposes of the argument, that this provision that the Act of Congress is valid within the territory for which it was enacted, it can have no operation or effect beyond its limits, or within the jurisdiction of a state. It can neither displace its laws nor change the status or condition of its inhabitants."4
What congress did by rubber-stamping the Social Security Act was displace the state laws that upheld the peoples' right to a free labor market and substituted the rubber-stamped Act of Congress in its place, thus changing the status of working people from free to slave. Look how far we have come since then. The labor tax, as already shown, brought in a labor harvest of over $927 billion in 2005. Abraham Lincoln, in another campaign speech he made in 1860, said:
"Look at the magnitude of this subject. One sixth of our population, in round numbers - not quite one sixth, and yet more than a seventh - about one sixth of the whole population of the United States, are slaves. The owners of these slaves consider them property. The effect upon the minds of the owners is that of property, and nothing else; it induces them to insist upon all that will favorably affect its value as property, to demand laws and institutions and a public policy that shall increase and secure its value, and make it durable, lasting, and universal. The effect on the minds of the owners is to persuade them that there is no wrong in it. The slaveholder does not like to be considered a mean fellow for holding that species of property, and hence has to struggle within himself into the belief that slavery is right. The property influences his mind. The dissenting minister who argued some theological point with one of the established church was always met by the reply, I can't see it so.' He opened the Bible and pointed him to a passage, but the orthodox minister replied, I can't see it so.' Then he showed him a single word - Can you see that?' Yes, I see it,' was the reply. The dissenter laid a guinea (gold coin) over the word, and asked, Do you see it now?' So here. Whether the owners of this species of property really do see it as it is, it is not for me to say; but if they do, they see it as it is through two billions of dollars, and that is a pretty thick coating. Certain it is that they do not see it as we see it. Certain it is that this two thousand million of dollars invested in this species of property is all so concentrated that the mind can grasp it at once. This immense pecuniary interest has its influence on their minds."5
Lincoln showed that it would take roughly two billion dollars to buy all the slaves back then. Helper, in his book, said: "Free white men and slaves were in the employ of the North Carolina Railroad Company; the former.....received only $12 per month each; the masters of the latter received $16 per month for every slave so employed."6 So, on a yearly basis, the wages paid for slave labor amounted to $192 per year. To make the math easier, let's just round that off to $200 per year and take that as the average yearly earnings of a slave wage earner back then. Today, according the Social Security Administration's wage index, the average worker's wages amounted to $36,952.94 in 2005. Let's round that off to $37,000. Now let's do the math to see how many of today's dollars would roughly equal 1860 dollars. That would mean that it would take $185 of today's wage dollars to equal the wage dollar of $1 back then. How's that for inflation! But that would mean, adjusting for inflation, that it would have took $370 billion in today's dollars to buy all the slaves back in 1860. Needless to say, slaves weren't cheap. Lincoln didn't indicate how much money the slaveholders made from using the labor of their slaves, but we can make a rough calculation of that too based upon Helper's work. On page 144 of Helper's book, there's a table on the population for the Slave States in 1850. The slaves numbered 3,200,364. Of course, not all of these slaves worked because some were too young and some were retired. Too bad there wasn't a Social Security Administration back then to keep records on that stuff. But let's guess and say that 2.5 million of the slaves made $200 per year in wages. That would total out to $500 million per year that the slaveholders brought in from the wages of their slaves; or $92.5 billion in today's dollars. Of course, the slaveholders didn't get to keep all of this. The social security expenses of supporting the slave children and the retired slaves had to be deducted. The cost of housing, food, and the care of injured and sick slaves came out of this. And, of course, the generous master might let his slaves have a small allowance from their labor. Since the rights to our labor have been stolen instead of bought today, the measure of today's "thick coating" of labor cannibalism is how much the labor harvest brings in, and $927 billion is a pretty thick coating. Do you think that this influences the minds of those in power today? What judge in any court is going to rule against $927 billion? And this only represents the federal labor feast. It does not take into account the labor feast of the states that tax labor, which is most of them. The 13th amendment be damned - full speed ahead!
Once power over labor takes deep root, the people who have this power become very jealous of it. They will go to any lengths to hang on to it. Look at the slaveholders in Lincoln's day. Helper saw this very clearly, and he gathered statistics to prove it. He said: "The magistrates in the villages, the constables in the districts, the commissioners of the towns, the mayors of the cities, the sheriffs of the counties, the judges of the various courts, the members of the legislatures, the governors of the States, the representatives and senators in Congress - are all slaveholders....And, then, there is the Presidency of the United States, which office has been held forty-eight years by slaveholders from the South, and only twenty years by non-slaveholders from the North."7 We can see this same spirit today in elections. The labor cannibal parties in power have been able to effectively close out all opposition parties that form. Tell me, can you recall any television commercials by third party candidates in the last election? You can't get your message before the people without vast sums of money, or what it called a "war chest." Third party candidates are almost always financially starved unless you're extremely rich like Ross Perot was when he ran for President. Actually, what this reminds me of is an old practice called "enclosure." Benjamin Franklin's great, great, great grandfather "had been active, according to lore, as a legal advocate on the side of the common man in the controversy over the practice known as enclosure, under which the landed aristocracy closes off their estates and prevented poorer farmers from grazing their herds there."8 Both the slaveholders of pre civil war times and the labor cannibals of our present day, jealous of their power, practice[d] political enclosure. It works quite well.
Note that the 13th amendment says, in Section 2, that "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." Have they ever done this? The answer is yes, and it was not long after the civil war was over in the year 1866. However, since Lincoln had been assassinated shortly after his re-election, the President who would have signed the legislation supporting the 13th amendment would have been Andrew Johnson, who had been Vice-President prior to Lincoln's assassination. But when the legislation came to his desk for his signature, he vetoed it, and congress had to override his veto to make the legislation law. It became what is now known as the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Frederick Douglass was able to escape to the North from slavery in 1838. He and Lincoln had become friends during the civil war and Lincoln respected Douglass' opinion on things. But Douglass sensed that Johnson was different. Let's see what Douglass had to say about this in Lincoln's second inauguration on March 4, 1865.
"On this inauguration day, while waiting for the opening of the ceremonies, I made a discovery in regard to the Vice-President - Andrew Johnson. There are moments in the lives of most men, when the doors of their souls are open, and unconsciously to themselves, their true character may be read by the observant eye. It was at such an instant that I caught a glimpse of the real nature of this man, which all subsequent developments proved true. I was standing in the crowd by the side of Mrs. Thomas J. Dorsey, when Lincoln touched Mr. Johnson, and pointed me out to him. The first expression that came to his face, and which I think was the true index of his heart, was one of bitter contempt and aversion. Seeing that I observed him, he tried to assume a more friendly appearance; but it was too late; it was useless to close the door when all within had been seen. His first glance was the frown of the man, and the second was the bland and sickly smile of a demagogue. I turned to Mrs. Dorsey and said, Whatever Andrew Johnson may be, he certainly is no friend of our race'.... No stronger contrast could well be presented between two men than between President Lincoln and Vice-President Johnson. Mr. Lincoln was like one who was treading the hard and thorny path of duty and self-denial; Mr. Johnson was like one just from a drunken debauch. The face of the one was full of manly humility, although of the topmost height of power and pride, the other was full of pomp and swaggering vanity. The fact was, though it was yet early in the day, Mr. Johnson was drunk."9
Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, who was the senator who introduced the 13th amendment into congress in 1864, was also was one of the leaders in writing and fighting for the legislation that enforced the 13th amendment. Yes, you heard me right - Trumbull actually wrote legislation. In a speech Trumbull gave in Chicago in 1858, he said: "I will cram the truth down any honest man's throat, until he cannot deny it, and to the man who does deny it, I will cram the lie down his throat till he shall cry enough! It is preposterous - it is the most damnable effrontery that man ever put on to conceal a scheme to defraud and cheat the people out of their rights, and then claim credit for it."10 Actually, when it comes to the theft of our rights today, I'd have to agree with Trumbull.
Two Supreme Court case that give an excellent historical account of the legislative debate in congress back in 1866 are Jett v. Dallas Ind. School Dist., decided in 1989; and McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co., decided in 1976. Let's look at some of the dialogue that came from the senate floor back in 1866.
"The bill ultimately enacted as the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was introduced by Senator Trumbull of Illinois as a bill . . . to protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights...' (emphasis added), and was initially described by him as applying to every race and color.' Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., 211 (1866) (hereinafter Cong. Globe). Consistent with the views of its draftsman, and the prevailing view in the Congress as to the reach of its powers under the enforcement section of the Thirteenth Amendment, the terms of the bill prohibited any racial discrimination in the making and enforcement of contracts against whites as well as nonwhites. Its first section provided:
There shall be no discrimination in civil rights or immunities among the inhabitants of any State or Territory of the United States on account of race, color, or previous condition of slavery; but the inhabitants of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, . . . shall have the same right to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.'
The point was most directly focused on in the closing debate in the Senate. During that debate, in response to the argument of Senator Davis of Kentucky that by providing for the punishment of racial discrimination in its enforcement section, 2, the bill extended to Negroes a protection never afforded whites, Senator Trumbull said:
Sir, this bill applies to white men as well as black men. It declares that all persons in the United States shall be entitled to the same civil rights, the right to the fruit of their own labor, the right to make contracts, the right to buy and sell, and enjoy liberty and happiness; and that is abominable and iniquitous and unconstitutional! Could anything be more monstrous or more abominable than for a member of the Senate to rise in his place and denounce with such epithets as these a bill, the only object of which is to secure equal rights to all the citizens of the country, a bill that protects a white man just as much as a black man? With what consistency and with what face can a Senator in his place here say to the Senate and the country that this is a bill for the benefit of black men exclusively when there is no such distinction in it, and when the very object of the bill is to break down all discrimination between black men and white men?' (my emphasis)
So advised, the Senate passed the bill shortly thereafter."11
The United States Congress, the very legislative body that is supposed give support to the right to free labor is the one that has rubber-stamped the laws that have taken it away. It is not necessary for armies to conquer a people to enslave them if the lawmakers can get the people to bow before their servile laws and vote for them every election cycle.
Social Security, to be lawful in accordance with the Constitution required an constitutional amendment. It needed an amendment that would have accomplished two objectives. One would be the limits on the servitude imposed upon workers to support the system. That should have been 3% of their labor, and no more. The second thing would have been a clause in the amendment that legalized greater federal power over the states. But this didn't happen, and the labor cannibals will allege that the arguments I am making are absurd and frivolous, just like every other argument against their power. Actually, I was able to get some labor cannibal logic from an email correspondence with the folks on the www.quatloos.com web site. They call themselves the "Financial & Tax Fraud Education Associates, Inc.," a non-profit organization. One cannot ignore that there is a strong presumption that these people are part of the labor cannibal fraternity. Examining their web site reveals that their organization is heavily pro-taxation, and that there is no argument against the income tax, in their opinion, that is valid. The money you are paid for your labor can be taxed, and if you refuse to submit, you are a "tax protestor." End of argument. The email I sent them cited the "The Income Tax" article from 1913 as well as other authorities from my research. I asserted that the income tax, as applied to labor, was unconstitutional because it imposed the status of slavery on working people. They replied by saying:
"Thanks for your message. We have found the slavery' argument to be one of the dumbest of the many dumb arguments put forth by tax protestors. The reason is stunningly simple: How can people be said to be slaves' when they are totally, 100% free to leave the U.S. at any time and travel to any one of a number of countries that have no income tax, like Costa Rica or Haiti? The reason that people will not travel to Costa Rica or Haiti or other countries where there is no income tax is twofold: (1) the average standard of living in those countries doesn't even begin to approach that of the U.S.; and (2) even those countries impose other taxes (which are worse than income taxes) to finance their governments. Before the income tax, the U.S. government raised money primarily by trade tariffs. These tariffs invited protective tariffs by other countries, and the net effect was that although the U.S. had tremendous industrial power, imports and exports were discouraged by the tariffs, and thus trade and the U.S. economy greatly suffered. The net result of this is that workers made much less money (that's when people worked for 20 cents per day and even young children worked to make ends meet), even if it was income tax free. When the U.S. went to the income tax, the trade barriers came down, the U.S. economy started booming and has made rather consistent gains, AND the NET income and standard of living of the average worker is much higher than it was before. Otherwise stated, is the average worker better off with 100% of $200 (average annual wages in Haiti) or 70% of $25,000????? That's a no-brainer. So, get off this slavery' stuff -- Not only is it not true (since you are free to leave at any time), but it wrongly assumes that the old tariffs system is better than the income tax."
Remember Frederick Douglass' insight when he first saw Andrew Johnson? This person who responded did not identify themselves, but this email revealed the thinking of a typical labor cannibal. The first thing is to slap the "tax protestor" label on you and then assert that your arguments are among the "dumbest of the many dumb arguments" of the "tax protestors." Notice that the labor cannibal who responded to my email compared the standard of living in the U.S. with countries such as Haiti. The Human Development Index (HDI), published annually by the United Nations, ranks nations according to their citizens' quality of life rather than strictly by a nation's traditional economic figures. According to the HDI for the year 2006, the United States ranks 8th on the list of "Most Livable Countries." Haiti ranks 24th on the "Least Livable Countries." Note that the labor cannibal picked a country from the bottom of the barrel to compare the United States with. He wouldn't dare have picked one from the "Most Livable Countries" list. But notice that the labor cannibal didn't answer the power over labor arguments I made. It was sidestepped. Also, the standard of living argument is not new when it comes to justifying slavery. William Channing said: "Whenever the subject is discussed, we are told, that through the lenity of the master, the slave suffers less than the laborer in most other countries. He has more comforts, we hear. He is happier. To this refuge the slaveholder always flies."12 It would seem that history has rhymed again.
This email gives the reader insight because it reveals how the people in power look at things, and every election cycle, these are the types of people that stay in power because they are presented by the media and the press as your only choices to vote for. Just like in pre civil war times in the South, you can vote for the slaveholder of your choice. The names of these labor cannibal candidates are unimportant. What is important is the spirit that they have embraced. Have they embraced the spirit of truth and justice? Or have they embraced the spirit of lies and deceit? What do you think?
The 13th amendment is not that hard to understand. It doesn't say that power over labor cannot be exercised. It simply says that you cannot use the force of law to direct and receive the fruits of a person's labor unless it is punishment for crime after conviction. In the case of Social Security, it would be absurd to subject every working person to a criminal trial in order to gain power over their labor so that it can be legally taxed. The only logical thing to do in this instance, as I've already shown, is to amend the Constitution. But let's look at an example that makes sense.
Let's imagine that we still live in a free labor system. In a divorce proceeding involving working people, one parent gets custody of the kids and the non-custodial parent, after examining his economic condition, is told that it his duty to still support his children until they get out of school. The court, acting in an advisory capacity, recommends what the court thinks is fair for the non-custodial parent to pay so that he can still afford to support himself too. But the court warns that if the non-custodial parent fails to support his children, then he can be criminally charged and, if convicted, forced into servitude whether he likes it or not. The good-for-nothing father refuses to pay, and the mother files a complaint with the state. The state then files criminal charges against the good-for-nothing father, and he is put on trial. A jury convicts him. Now the court has the power to force the servitude and the legislature has the right to determine child support guidelines for the non-custodial parents that have been convicted. In extreme cases of disobedience, he could even be sold into actual bondage because the due process of the 13th amendment had been satisfied, if the legislature decided to do that. The labor cannibals obviously don't like this idea, for courts all over the country issue child support orders on a massive scale, and many of these orders, when combined with labor taxation, push the workers into the levels of slavery the Nazis imposed upon the Jews during World War II, where 65% of their labor is taken from them. The 13th amendment be damned again! But let's examine this further in the next chapter.
1. Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co., 158 US 601, S. Ct. Rptr., Vol 15, pg. 913
2. Supra., pg. 917
3. Eisner v. Macomber, 252 US 189, 206
4. Dred Scott v. Sanford., 19 How. 393, 463-65
5. The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. V, pp. 343-44
6. Impending Crisis of the South, by Hinton Helper, 1860, pg. 380
7. Ibid., pp. 159, 160
8. Benjamin Franklin - An American Life, by Walter Isaacson, Simon & Schuster, N.Y., 2003, pp. 6-7
9. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, 1882, pg. 405
10. The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. IV, pp. 129-30
11. McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co., 427 U.S. 273, 287-90
12. The Complete Works of William Channing, Vol. V, pp. 32-33