Occam’s Razor Principle
“Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” Or, keep things simple. I have posted several notes on the subject of federal and state taxation. It is possible at times to get lost in the dialog, so this simple (?) outline on the jurisdiction or authority from which the power of taxation exists.
The authority of taxation and its scope is found in the democratic principles of our Republic. Let it not be forgotten that our government is a Republic and not a democracy, however, in our Republic there exists certain democratic principles, or as some believe “the rule of the majority.” Our elections are one example where government officials are elected by the majority vote. With the exception of the president of the United States which relies on the electoral college.
The extreme use of this rule by the majority would tell us that if the majority votes to take the life of another by the vote alone, then the unfortunate individual would lose their life for no other reason than that the majority ruled on it. In a Republic, democracy does not work that way. The fundamental principles of democracy are limited by the Common Law or our natural rights.
So it is with the taking of property and taxation. The majority has no authority over the fruits of one’s labor. If anything be true, our natural rights such as, taxation and the taking of our property have never been put to the vote of the People. The legislature has falsely assumed that authority.
The source or power of taxation . . . The Supreme Court has answered that question. Chief Justice John Marshall: “But to what source do we trace this right? It is obvious, that it is an incident of sovereignty, and is co-extensive with that to which it is an incident.” M’Culloch v. State, 17 U.S. 316, 429: Def: In law ‘incident’; “attaching to:”
“The power to tax is an incident of sovereignty and is coextensive with sovereignty.” Curry vs. McCanless, 307 U.S. 357: Justice Stone reaffirming Chief Justice Marshall from M’Culloch. 1939: Reaffirmed again by Justice Douglas in Utah State Tax comm’n v. Aldrich, 316 U.S. 174. 1942.
If the power to tax is attached to the “sovereign” then who or what is the sovereign. Chief Judge Marshall has defined that thusly; “The sovereignty of a state extends to everything which exists by its own authority, or is introduced by its permission; . . .” M’Cullock v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 This definition has stood the test of time; it has never been over turned or refuted.
Relying on the authority of Chief Justice Marshall, Justice Stone explained that “we regard the right of a state to tax as founded on power over the object taxed, . . .” (Curry) Notwithstanding that these cases deal with the State’s power to tax, the principles apply equally to the federal government. Chief Justice Marshall makes it abundantly clear that; “All subjects over which the sovereign power of a state extends, are objects of taxation; but those over which it does not extend, are, upon the soundest principles, exempt from taxation.” McCulloch at 429.
Knowing these three simple facts, it begs the question, when two parties stand juxtaposition to each other, one being the People and the other being the government; who is the “sovereign”. Who is the creator and who is the creation? Simple genealogy demonstrates that the People as they exist in their natural state are sovereign and that calling upon the principle of delegation the sovereign can delegate certain sovereign powers to society as tools to secure and defend their right to life, liberty and property.
The People can only delegate that authority which they have. It is easily understood that the People have no sovereign authority over the lives, liberties, or property of another. Therefore, that authority is not transferrable. The simple answer . . . if one does not have it, . . . one cannot give it.
L. Sherwood Glazier