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Abolishing Income Tax is the Ultimate America First Policy

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2024
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by Shane Harris
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174 Comments
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During a private meeting with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill in June, former President Donald Trump reportedly floated the idea of replacing the federal income tax with tariffs, sparking a flurry of worried headlines from the corporate press and economic “experts.” While the idea has thus far failed to gain much traction, the concept of eliminating income tax is nonetheless perhaps the single most popular policy Trump and a potential Republican Congress could pursue – and it’s far more realistic than the political establishment would have the American people believe.

Unsurprisingly, year after year the vast majority of Americans report being unhappy with the amount of income tax they pay. Ahead of Tax Day this year, just 27 percent of taxpayers surveyed by AP-NORC said their federal income taxes were “fair,” while 60 percent said they believed their tax burden was too high. Those figures are more or less in line with historical trends measured by Gallup.

Additionally, just 18 percent of Americans think their tax dollars are being spent the right way, while more than half say the government isn’t using their money effectively.

But the Washington political class would have Americans believe that all of this doesn’t matter – that income tax is just an unfortunate but necessary part of living in a society. The implication is that the country can’t function without collecting income tax to pay for things like infrastructure and the military.

However, this narrative, which has ultimately led to a massive expansion of government power, does not account for the simple history of the income tax or basic facts about how the U.S. government actually makes money.

The Revenue Act of 1861, signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862, established the first income tax in the United States to help fund the Civil War. That law was repealed in 1872, and it wasn’t until the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913 that the country would have an income tax again.

For every other period in American history, the country functioned without a federal income tax – mostly by levying tariffs, exactly as Trump proposed.

During Fiscal Year 2023, the federal government collected $2.2 trillion in income taxes – half of the $4.4 trillion in total government revenue. That means that, even if income tax were eliminated and replaced with nothing, the federal government would still have at least another $2.2 trillion to fund itself.

The problem is that the government is now spending in excess of $6.3 trillion per year, an amount that is in effect forcing Americans to pay even more tax in the form of inflation. No matter how many tax dollars the federal government collects, it always insists that it needs more.

Multiple states, which the Founding Fathers envisioned as “laboratories of democracy,” have already proven that abolishing income tax can work. It is no coincidence that North Dakota, Alaska, Florida, Washington, Texas, and Wyoming – six of the seven states with no state income tax – were all in the top 10 for real GDP growth in 2023.

It’s also worth considering just how oppressive and corrupt the country’s current tax regime has become. The first Revenue Act of 1861 levied a three percent tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a five percent tax on incomes of more than $10,000 – about $347,000 in today’s dollars.

Following ratification of the 16th Amendment, the first tax levied by Congress was one percent on net personal income of more than $3,000 (about $92,000 in 2024 dollars) with an additional tax of six percent on income over $500,000 (about $15 million in 2024 dollars).

Today, the federal tax rate starts at a whopping 10 percent on income of $0-11,600 for single filers. That figure jumps to 22 percent for income between $47,150 and $100,525, 32 percent for income between $191,950 and $243,725, and finally a top marginal rate of 37 percent for any income over $609,350.

Meanwhile, Democrats have used tax policy to stoke class divisions, constantly promising to “make the rich pay their fair share.” Of course, in reality, the wealthy do pay their fair share – and then some.

In 2021, the most recent year for which full data is available, the top one percent of earners, despite accounting for just 26 percent of all income, paid 46 percent of all income tax collected by the federal government. That’s more than the bottom 95 percent of income earners combined. The simple truth is that the U.S. already has one of the most progressive tax systems anywhere in the world.

The withholding system also means the vast majority of Americans don’t even truly realize how much tax they are paying because the government reaches its hand into their paycheck before they even see it. While the corporate media and political establishment condition taxpayers to be grateful for a refund check from Uncle Sam, what Americans should consider is that this is their money which was taken from them by the government, parked in the Treasury all year, and then returned to them – without interest.

How much more, we should be asking, could those dollars have made in the stock market or other investments?

And of course, there is the nightmare of the inefficient and ineffective auditing system and the constant specter of an IRS that Democrat administrations have repeatedly weaponized against conservatives.

In short, Americans are taxed at a rate and in a manner that would make their forefathers’ heads spin and would have the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

This oppressive and corrupt system has enabled and empowered an oppressive and corrupt government. As Americans have paid more and more in income tax, the federal bureaucracy has bloated to a previously unimaginable degree, bringing with it a flood of regulations that have hampered economic growth and trampled individual liberties.

Abolishing the income tax (and, ideally, passing a balanced budget Constitutional Amendment) would in one fell swoop set in motion a host of other victories for Trump’s America First agenda.

Activist-minded bureaucrats and Deep State saboteurs would suddenly find themselves without a treasure chest of taxpayer dollars with which to fund their partisan schemes.

More aggressive tariffs would bolster American industry and end the United States’ reliance on foreign imports.

Americans would keep significantly more of their income, empowering them to do things like start businesses, get married, purchase a home, and ultimately revitalize the American Dream.

The federal government would see its power dramatically reduced, returning more power to states and localities where it rightfully belongs.

Best of all, Trump or another future Republican administration would not even have to convince the public on the wisdom of such a policy – most Americans already despise the income tax and, for that matter, the IRS.

The political establishment, including many Republicans, would undoubtedly dig in and strongly oppose any real effort to eliminate the income tax, recognizing that it would mean the end of their unwarranted influence over American life. But if Trump has proven one thing throughout his political career, it’s that he just might have the vision and willpower to make it happen.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on X @shaneharris513.

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Max
Max
14 days ago

Nice thought. Increase tariffs taxes, maybe impose a national tax like how states collect some of their revenue. Eliminate all the paperwork. YEA! Oh, the IRS, all those unnecessary government jobs eliminated. Time to downsize the fat government!

Veteran John Victorine
Veteran John Victorine
14 days ago

Stop Tons of: Foreign Aid !!!
No money for the “UN”
????????????

The Chaplain
The Chaplain
14 days ago

There is MUCH that needs to be done. Absolutely, yes, abolish income tax immediately followed by the IRS. However, there needs to be a MASSIVE overhaul of wasteful government spending. The Quantum Financial System will eliminate the IRS, the FED & income tax. But so much waste, in most if not all governmental agencies, MUST be addressed and terminated. Politics and greed MUST be corrected, & those guilty prosecuted.

lawrence greenberg
lawrence greenberg
14 days ago

I am 71 years old. I am no Constitutional expert, so my personal opinion is meaningless, but I have been reading articles since I was a teenager by attorneys and Constitutional experts asserting that the federal income tax is flat out unconstitutional. Just saying…

PapaGrouch
PapaGrouch
14 days ago

Food for thought: How many people know that a progressive income tax is a page right out of the communist manifesto?

Paul W
Paul W
14 days ago

We can thank dim woodie wilson for both federal income tax AND the fed. 1913 was a very bad year and old woodie is usually overlooked as one of the worst presidents in the country’s history…but he was
PS woodie also created internment camps, decades before another power hungry dim, “king” fdr, did it. Both woodie and fdr were truly horrible for this country, as Constitution shredders they were.

Paul
Paul
14 days ago

I like the way President Trump,reduced taxes in the 2016 – 2020 Run as the 45th President.
I beleive if he would have had his second term.
Our Country would have been alot better off.
Bidens Build Back Better is a Scam!
It was nothing but a bunch of lies and Theatrics!
Trump 2024!

Bob Jacob
Bob Jacob
14 days ago

Dump all income tax and the IRS. use addfitional tariffs and a small national sales tax. It is simple and would cover the budget.

Dovetta Forbes
Dovetta Forbes
14 days ago

I am in favor of this. We fought the British about unfair taxation and we have come full circle and taxed our ownselves. Corupt leaders.

Wayne Peterkin
Wayne Peterkin
14 days ago

I 100% agree with abolishing the Income Tax.It has been unfair for many years allowing almost half the population to escape paying the tax while still being able to vote for policies that penalize the other half. I am not opposed to tariffs, but I do not think they alone are not the adequate replacement. I have been an advocate of the Fair Tax for 15 years and still am, however, an intelligent blending of the Fair Tax and tariffs may give the best result. The goal is providing sufficient revenues while eliminating the hated and unfair IRS preventing taxes from ever again being used as a political weapon against the American public.

kdesq
kdesq
14 days ago

Two things, you have to have an amendment to get rid of the income tax, just like when they foisted it on us. Secondly, there should be no withholding. We should have to send each department a check, written or electronically, each month so the idiots understand how much money they are wasting on projects like why earth worms dig into the earth or other such nonsense. I have been saying if Americans had to write a check each month the income tax would have been gone decades ago.

Myrna
Myrna
14 days ago

We would not object to paying income tax if it were carefully spent on defense of all of us and even highways. It is the spending on all sorts of things some of us think are evil – such as abortion and unnecessary and wasteful. The federal government has created more departments to spend more money, taking over what the private sector should do – such as health insurance and education. Left as it is, Biden justifies more taxes by assuming he or those who inherit his power need to run more and more. This train has run off the tracks.

Richard Hennessy
Richard Hennessy
14 days ago

I don’t believe we can depend on tariffs to fund the Federal government, but we certainly don’t need the horrible income tax. There are too many problems with the income tax to mention. We should replace it with the Fair Tax, a sales tax. Imagine truly having everyone pay his fair tax. Imagine never again having to file a Federal income tax return every year. Imagine no longer having to fund the huge IRS establishment. Imagine being able to determine how much Federal tax you pay by how much you spend. All your savings would become tax free. If you can’t afford the purchase price plus the sales tax, you probably shouldn’t make the purchase. All these benefits and more come with the Fair Tax replacing income taxes.

Rick
Rick
14 days ago

One correction worth noting. It is South Dakota, not North Dakota, that has no state income tax.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
14 days ago

What you presented in the last sentence Shane, about Donald Trump possibly having the vision and the willpower to. make it happen — that is very good, positive, encouraging thought — vision and willpower — it has to do with ideas that are at the foundation of any worthwhile endeavor. It would set things right — it would promote the spirit needed to make Great things happen. The United States of America could be helped by the Great things that would come from the development of vision and willpower , being practiced on a regular basis . Well done Shane, this is a very encouraging article bringing positive, optimistic thought into the picture !

Ronald
Ronald
14 days ago

You think they are high now?? Crooked joe is eyeballing the Trump Tax Cuts. He wants to stop them, raising the tax rates on all the taxpayers in the country. Additionally, just 18 percent of Americans think their tax dollars are being spent the right way. Slow joe spends our money like there is no end to it. He has no worries since him and the crime family is funded by the chinese communist party.

Susan
Susan
14 days ago

Abolish the income tax, the IRS, the NEA, the EPA and a thousand other bureaucracies. Then fire all legislators who insist on pork spending.

Morbious
Morbious
14 days ago

The real reason this cant happen is the sad and tragic fact that the dems have deliberately created a large welfare class. Actual welfare spending is somewhat opaque, but one must include food stamps, medicaid, section eight housing and many other streams of spending that together form a mighty river. There’re three and even four generations that have never worked, are grossly obese and addicted to booze, cigarettes and street drugs. They are uneducable, unskilled and un motivated. They and their children will be on the public dole for the foreseeable future. However, cutting taxes on millennials who are starting families and struggling to make ends meet is a winning idea.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
14 days ago

I belive most people dont mind paying income tax. After all we must keep up our infrastructure. W@hat the majorety of payers hate is the givaways, useless projects and etc. I havn’t seen this in a while ,but hoiwn much is owed to the U S in borrowed money. Why does Egypt get a cou-le million every year just like a welfai8r check. ??? If our money was spent on OUR necessaties , we could probley get by on half or better taxmonies. All that freed up money could be invested in bussins ,em-ploying people and spuring on the economy. GO TRUMP. Kyle L.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
14 days ago

Flat tax, consumption tax, tariffs,… it’ll never fly because the government thinks its their money so “more is better”. For government that is!

Patrick Carroll
Patrick Carroll
14 days ago

Great idea and article; however, where will the tariff money come from ? Additionally, until we get some control over the Federal Burget, it doesn’t matter how the government is funded because we’re spending more and paying more interest than revenue received as the deficit grows daily!!

Kjhanover
Kjhanover
14 days ago

Good idea. As long as the individual STATES don’t increase their taxes!

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
14 days ago

I have a better idea.Number one,politicions get our medicare,only,second,the same social security as we do for their retirement,third,pay them for what they do instead of what they think they do.Then close the border completely and if you want to come to AMERICA,do it the right way.Next keep a closer watch on where our foreign aid is going and how it is used.Absolutely NO money to create unrest,or to the entities that hate AMERICA,next,drain the”sewer”AKA.THE SWAMP,and that is just a very slow start.

William Case
William Case
14 days ago

First step should be to pass a balanced budget amendment that includes a line item veto by the President. Require Congress to pass a budget no later than August 31st. If not passed, no salary paid to members of Congress or their staff until a budget is passed. Congress and the President must agree on final budget no later than September 30th, or no salary paid to President and staff, nor Congress and staff until budget is approved and signed by President. All government employees and contractors, except the military and “essential” civilian personnel, to be furloughed without pay, from October 1st until a budget is approved by Congress and signed by the President. No forfeited salary to be paid retroactively to anyone.

Hugh Johnson
Hugh Johnson
14 days ago

Abolishing the Democrat Party and the RINOS in congress should be first on every Patriot Americans list!!!

Leslie J Tarlton
Leslie J Tarlton
14 days ago

I believe it is a good idea, especially for those states that charge income tax after a person turns 65, but for those whose only income is Social Security and what little they have been able to save, eliminating Real Estate property taxes are more important. If I have no job and no income and no property taxes, at least I can afford to live on my own property, but when property taxes exist, you never really own your land. They can always take it from you.

Westhus092
Westhus092
14 days ago

Replace it with a flat tax/ sales tax that everyone must pay.

Archie Gleason
Archie Gleason
14 days ago

I’m for the fair tax. Let’s get it done. I would love to see the IRS abolished.

Dennis Stewart
Dennis Stewart
14 days ago

The second plank of the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO is a “heavy progressive INCOME TAX”. That’s what we have!

Annie
Annie
13 days ago

I am not retired. I am 60. I work full time and NEVER see the Government waking up with me at 5AM and sitting at my desk with me. Its criminal. Taxation is theft. We get taxed on food, gas, property, literally EVERYTHING. My father in law has a carport he bought and paid sales tax and it is now included in his property tax!!! It is not even attached to his trailer he lives in. It just is such a bummer.

Summer Sands
Summer Sands
14 days ago

I’m all for simplifying the way we do taxes and getting rid of the IRS. I think the IRS is just useless government bloat. There is no reason why our employers can’t handle deducting the taxes from our pay, as they do now, and sending it to a government office. All this garbage regarding filing taxes is redundant. Get rid of all the deductions and just have a standard flat tax. Obviously, I’m not an economist or a tax person, but there’s got to be a better way than what we have now and dealing with the IRS.
I think increasing tariffs and import taxes across the board is going to hurt American consumers. Hitting places like china, I’m all for it.
I think we also need something to curtail government spending too. If they can’t balance the budget, they shouldn’t get paid. Government spending is way out of control and they don’t give a damn about it because it’s not coming from their pockets. Make it so they don’t get paid if they don’t do their job.

Chris
Chris
14 days ago

From a freedom/liberty perspective, you left out one of the biggest benefits. It gets the Federal gov’t out of my personal business. With the income tax you have to tell the gov’t about your accounts, your activities, how you make a living, etc. Abolish the income tax and you no longer have to tell the gov’t about that stuff. The Federal gov’t has no business knowing how I earn a living (as long as it’s legal), about what interest bearing accounts I have, about what stocks I buy/sell/collect dividends on, about what properties I own that collect rent or royalties, etc. It’s NONE of their business, yet with the income tax, they make it their business.
If you run a business, you have to tell the Federal gov’t just about *everything* about your business. Again, they have no business knowing that. They do need to make sure that you don’t commit fraud by lying to banks/investors about the financial viability of your business, but the income tax forms they have to file go way beyond that.
In the name of freedom, liberty and privacy, eliminate the income tax!!!!

Granny26
Granny26
14 days ago

Cut the salaries of the ‘USELESS’ politicians. They fly around in private jets on our money and we can hardly afford an economy ticket on a plane.

DenvilleSr
DenvilleSr
14 days ago

The federal and state income tax regulations are so complex that, despite having two college degrees, I pay someone to file my taxes for me. Then incompetence at the state or federal government results in having my payments or data improperly recorded. That results in dunning notices. Then try to reach someone at either the state or federal level to resolve the problem. You are on hold forever or get cut off. If you are lucky enough to finally get to a human, they can’t find in their system what you are calling them about. “Rich people don’t pay their fair share” is like “Trump is a threat to democracy.” They are talking points without supporting data. Tariffs add to the cost of imported goods. The rich will pay more of the burden because they buy more goods. Higher tariffs make domestic manufacturing more profitable, and that leads to higher employment. Both of those results are appealing.

anna hubert
anna hubert
14 days ago

Any reasonably responsible household has to live within it’s means if it is to survive Cut down the spending to bare necessities in lean times Any household operating the way government does would be bankrupt long ago Homeless living under the bridge Cut off the fat and let the useless drones fend for themselves There will be surplus All the agencies created to make our lives unpleasant have to go along with all the departments that do more harm than good Maybe companies benefiting from slave labor should pay more tax

Randy Fischer
Randy Fischer
13 days ago

A simple sales tax with a monthly refund creating a standard deduction fully replaces all federal income taxes. HR-25 The FAIRtax Act is the REAL FIX

FJB
FJB
14 days ago

This would be a back breaker for retired people on Social Security. I worked and paid income taxes for 45-50 years and now that I am retired, I pay no income tax on my Social Security. If the income tax was dropped in favor of a sales tax, I would now have to pay the sales tax where I currently don’t pay at all. Where do I get this extra money from? I planned for retirement and SS without taxes. Now that I am not working I am suddenly going to have to start paying a tax that I had not planned on? The only way this could potentially work, is there would have to be some sort of credit back to seniors who are on SS at tax filing time, to reimburse them for the sales tax they paid. Even here it would be an issue though, as you would have to pay the tax up front out of pocket, and then get reimbursed later. If they just eliminated the income tax by itself, that would be fine. But anyone knows it would be replaced by another tax, most likely a national sales tax.

sergio Pastor
sergio Pastor
14 days ago

Just being a simple latino democrat …. eliminate the Democratic Party of today no love of country pandering and give away my money to useless and irresponsible people end of the story ….amigos

Thinking
Thinking
14 days ago

Eliminating the income tax? How are the dems going to get rich from their pet projects they vote for themselves, so called, for their state. The rats are leaving the dem ship right now when they see losing their jobs is on the line. Everybody for himself. Trump is going for helping the people and making America great again. He doesn’t need the aggrandizement ole Joe is so desperately trying to attain. Once a liar and a crook it is hard to find anything good in him. Joe you gotta go!!!!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
14 days ago

& Estate taxes too

Rhonda
Rhonda
14 days ago

There would be implications for Medicare, since the charge for Parts B and D depend on your income.

Fran
Fran
11 days ago

How about eliminating income taxes and implement The Fair Tax? This way we aren’t taxed before we spend out money and taxed on our taxes? It would get rid of the IRS and we’d only pay taxes on things we purchase. This way you get ALL the money you make in your paycheck. If you want more details go to the Fair Tax website.

Noname
Noname
11 days ago

President Trump could also find a way to bypass both the 16th and 17th U S Constitutional amendments. I have read that these 2 amendments have some questions about the way they were passed. Return money to the people and the senate elections to electoral colleges!
HOORAY FOR THE USA !!!

Chuck Bronson
Chuck Bronson
11 days ago

Good article, but missing some important elements: The “FairTax” which has been “waiting in the wings” of Congress since about 1999 (read “The FairTax” book co-authored by former talk show host Neale Boortz and original sponsor GA congressman John Linder) which requires repeal of the 16th Amendment before implementation; and the Art. V Convention of States movement which needs just 15 more states to ratify in order to begin, and with which both the 16th and 17th Amendments (returning selection of U.S. Senators to the state legislatures where they began) could most easily be repealed and would be more permanent constitutional solutions to the current corruptions than anything any one or more administrations could do. Why don’t I see any mention of these things by AMAC (except for certain responses like this)?

Melinda
Melinda
14 days ago

The best result of this would be elimination of the dreaded IRS. Think of all the money the government would save by not paying all these paper pushers.

Pappy
Pappy
11 days ago

The founding fathers did not put a personal income tax on the people. It also failed later on because the people did not want a government meddling with citizen assets or charging individuals to fund the Treasury. The IRS was created much later, and that went against the whole reason we had to whip the British. The government of the people, by the people and for the people rebelled against an oppressive government. We the citizens feel the same now. Our Left wing commie leadership have become the “oppressives”. The right of the IRS to take a citizens property or garnish/steal from a citizens paycheck is anti-American. Our citizens have no real way to stop non-constitutionl government organizations from spending our money via their budgets funded from approval of the Congress. We should eliminate all government organu,ations that are not provided for in our founding Constitution. Look at the people who work for the government extra organizations. Almost none of them are qualified to do their jobs. They are someone’s friend or family or supporter in a campaign. This creates a falsehood in our economy. It’s just basic economic facts that count. God Bless America.

Mac McLaughlin
Mac McLaughlin
12 days ago

I have done much study, have several books, and done seminars on “The Fair Tax”, which I believe to be the most efficient of all tax policies. And I do believe that if more Americans knew about it, they would all be demanding it. Mike Huckabee ran on this when running for President a few years ago. So he also knows the true, far reaching benefits of “The Fair Tax”.

JuliaB
JuliaB
14 days ago

PS: The traction Pres. Trump needs is with the people, not the corporations or politicians or anyone else who gets their palms greased and pockets stuffed. We no longer will support the elected thieves and dunces.

Texas Resister 64
Texas Resister 64
14 days ago

Not going to happen, unfortunately, because there are too many influential hands reaching into the cookie jar. They will not do anything to break their own “rice bowls.”

johnh
johnh
14 days ago

I do not think that Trump really understands how tariffs work. It seems like if we put an $100 tariff on a car, then they raise the price that much & the US consumer pays more for goods & that adds to inflation. Why does Trump think that these tariff dollars go into US treasury as he has stated more than one? Also, read up on history os start o Great Depression in early 1930s and some historians believe that POTUS added dome foreign tariffs at that time and that really added fuel to the fire to accelerate the depression years.

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