FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin stumps for Republican candidate for Senate, John Raese, during a rally at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Jon C. Hancock, file) (AP)

Palin book denounces federal income tax

In her new book, "America by Heart," Palin lumps the 16th Amendment with other government "power grabs"


Justin Elliott
November 23, 2010 7:24PM (UTC)

Sarah Palin's new book, "America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag," is mostly a collection of Reaganisms and unspecific genuflections to freedom and the Constitution.

But there are a few interesting details in it, and what Palin -- who has a real shot at the GOP presidential nomination -- writes should matter. Take her apparent opposition to the federal income tax, along with the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which allowed for the present-day income tax and was passed in 1913.

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Given that some 45 percent of government revenue comes from the individual income tax, this is a fairly radical position for Palin to take. She includes the 16th Amendment in her description of unjustified federal power grabs.

Here's the passage:

What we're seeing today is the inevitable result of national leaders who have forgotten the fundamental wisdom of the Tenth Amendment [which provides for America's federalist system]. Just as Mr. Jefferson warned us, as soon as we as a country disregarded the fact that the federal government's powers are limited, and that we as states and individuals hold the balance of the power, the floodgates were opened to the torrent of federal power grabs we're seeing today. Take the federal income tax, for example. We tend to think there are two constants in life: death and taxes. But America hasn't always had an income tax. The first federal income tax on individuals was imposed in 1861 to help pay for the Civil War. But the tax was never meant to be permanent, and Congress repealed it ten years after it was enacted. It wasn't until 1913 that the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and the individual federal income tax that we know today was created. 

What is most dangerous about these power grabs is that they're usually done in the name of a good cause--insuring the uninsured, for example--and have a big wad of cash attached to them.

Unless we're reading that wrong, she's putting the 16th Amendment in the category of "dangerous ... power grabs." Maybe Palin will be asked about this by the next TV personality lucky enough to interview her?


Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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