Alan Keyes
Trump ignores founders' logic on taxation
Hamilton argued for 'consumption-based' system
By Alan Keyes
December 20, 2016

    Imposts, excises, and, in general, all duties upon articles of consumption, may be compared to a fluid, which will, in time, find its level with the means of paying them. The amount contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be relegated by an attention to his resources. The rich may be extravagant, the poor can be frugal; and private oppression may always be avoided by a judicious selection of objects proper for such impositions....

    It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption, that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit; which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end proposed, that is an extension of revenues. When applied to this object, the saying is as just as it is witty, that "in political arithmetic, two and two do not always make four." If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. (Federalist No. 21)
Several years ago, I participated in a panel discussion, recorded as part of the film Craig Bergman produced about the "Fair Tax." Bergman's production was intended for targeted release into 700 theaters nationwide. It aimed to introduce a wider audience of self-professed conservatives to the "Fair Tax" proposal, which would replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax. This would be a revolution in the literal sense of the term. It would return federal taxation to the basis envisaged by the framers of the U.S. Constitution, and to the profoundly republican logic of taxation Alexander Hamilton ably summarized in the paragraphs I used to introduce this column.

Properly implemented, the "Fair Tax" plan would achieve the desired result (a desire deceptively exploited in the equivocal slogan "Abolish the IRS"), which is to abolish the federal income tax itself. Only abolition will end the present federal tax system's critical contribution to implementing the tyrannical ideological aims of Marxist communism in the United States. (Income taxation, structured so that the government expropriates the income from successful investments and earnings, was one of the ten planks of the "Communist Manifesto" published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. I more thoroughly discuss the anti-republican character of the present national tax system in articles included in the series "Real Change," available on my blog.)

When Craig Bergman approached me recently about a new film project, I found myself reviewing his "UnFair: Exposing the IRS" video. That led to thinking about what is lost when words like "change" and "conservative" are deployed for emotional effect, the way herders use their prods. During the period of transition each presidential election involves, the word "change" saturates political discussion. This is particularly true when an existing administration is successfully challenged.

But where the result involves no challenge, in principle, to the status quo, changes in personnel and even in policy can end up consolidating, rather than challenging it. The "Fair Tax" proposal, for example, involves a fundamental change in the aim and logic of the system of taxation that presently sustains the federal government. It is a revolutionary proposal because it topples one of the pillars of the anti-constitutional elitist faction agenda, which presently dominates our politics.

But the "Fair Tax" is also profoundly conservative, because it would return the administration of the national government to the logic of America's prevalent founders. That logic aimed to preserve republican self-government in the United States from tyranny, be it by the many (democratic dictatorship as envisaged by communist ideologues) or by the few (the tyranny of self-idolizing oligarchs, as it is being implemented by the elitist faction's adherents in both of America's oligarchic "major" parties, incongruously so-called.)

With respect to the present transition, the aim of abolishing the national income tax is nowhere in evidence. In this, as in other respects, the question that hangs in the air is whether Donald Trump means to implement the dictatorship of the many or the few. As with FDR's "New Deal" administration, the answer appears to be "both," depending on what serves the purposes of the controlling faction Mr. Trump actually represents. In this respect, Trump is positioned to serve as a bridge connector, linking the major parties together in service to the factional allegiance their leaders have in common (the way an SLI or CrossFire bridge connector links graphics adapters together in certain computer builds.)

This leaves the logic of America's prevalent founders hurtling down the garbage chute. This dereliction has, for some time, been the intention of the elitist faction adherents presently controlling both political parties. As is clear in Hamilton's discussion of federal taxation, the founders' logic did not serve the tyranny of the many or the few. It aimed to derive the powers of government from the consent of the governed, by means that left citizens empowered to constrain the resources and use of government power within boundaries that respected the common good, meaning especially God's endowment of right, rights, and justice for all.

The key to achieving this aim was what Madison called the "scheme of representation" (Federalist No. 10). Thanks to the present corruption of political thought, many readers will assume that the word "representation" alludes to faithfully serving the dictates of the majority, as determined in any given election. But the phrase "the consent of the governed," as used in America's Declaration of Independence, must be understood in the context of the "laws of nature and of Nature's God." It alludes to those who consent to be governed by the determinations of God made manifest in those rules. By this, their individual and common consent, they constitute the body politic. As members of that body, they have the right to govern themselves because they individually and mutually consent to be governed by God. They have the right because they aim to do what is right.

Regardless of labels, Americans in and outside of government reveal their true political identity as they deal with issues of Declaration principle (e.g., abortion, homosexualism, respect for God's endowment of right) and constitutional practice (e.g., natural born citizenship; the integrity of elections as it bears on representation; the guarantee of republican constitutional government; respect for the reserved powers of the states and the people; respect for the retained rights of the people; implementation of the sovereign obligations of the people, as in border and national security; the purpose and conscientious duty of presidential electors; etc.). The contention over these issues distinguishes those who intend to conserve republican, constitutional self-government, as America's prevalent founders did, from those willing to discard it, in pursuit of their selfish ambitions, interests, and passions. The former are true conservatives, preserving America's just vocation to pursue the common good of God-endowed humanity. The latter – whatever rhetoric they deploy, whatever issues they exploit, and whatever delusions they use to beguile themselves and others – have abandoned it.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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