George Mason and Direct Tax Power
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “George Mason was an epicurean republican aristocrat. He was one of the wisest men of his generation and Mason was having none of this talk about having a new central government that was going to have the power to lay and collect direct taxes. Of course, Madison and company would say they’re not direct taxes, they’re indirect, but we’ll save that for another day.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: George Mason was an epicurean republican aristocrat. He was one of the wisest men of his generation and Mason was having none of this talk about having a new central government that was going to have the power to lay and collect direct taxes. Of course, Madison and company would say they’re not direct taxes, they’re indirect, but we’ll save that for another day. So when he got his first chance to talk in the convention to ratify the Constitution in front of the largest assemblage of free citizens ever in the history of the world, which was the Old Dominion of the State of Virginia, more people had lived there enjoying a freedom that they had fought for and won for themselves. They were the first in the history of mankind to organize their own government together, of their own freewill and volition, write it down in the form of the Virginia Constitution of 1776, and then, to make sure that they didn’t leave anything out and didn’t screw anything up, then they wrote a bill of rights to go alongside of it, still one of the grandest expressions of the rights of a free people ever written. So if you wonder [mocking] “Why do you always refer to the Virginians?”
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But why shall we give up to the National Government this power, so dangerous in its nature, and for which its members will not have sufficient information—Is it not well known, that what would be a proper tax in one State would be grievous in another? The Gentleman [George Nicholas] who hath favored us with an eulogium in favor of this system, must, after all the encomiums he has been pleased to bestow upon it, acknowledge,
that our Federal Representatives must be unacquainted with the situation of their constituents: Sixty-five members cannot possibly know the situation and circumstances of all the inhabitants of this immense continent: When a certain sum comes to be taxed, and the mode of levying to be fixed, they will lay the tax on that article which will be most productive, and easiest in the collection, without consulting the real circumstances or convenience of a country, with which, in fact, they cannot be sufficiently acquainted.
Mike: Just imagine here for a moment, he is warning about how members of Congress, congressional districts are going to be apportioned so that there are one representative for approximately every 35,000 citizens. And Mason is saying: Look, there is no way you can represent 35,000 people and know what their situation is and then propose a tax that is going to please everybody and then try to do that in 65 different districts. It ain’t gonna work. What would Mason think today of members of Congress representing 790,000 people, proposing taxes that most people don’t even know that they pay and that are spread out all across 311 million people? That’s the beginning of the speech. It’s many, many more pages long. What was he saying? You’re going to centralize power. Dumb idea. You’re going to give the centralized power the ability to tax everybody. Bigger dumb idea. Then you’re going to spread all of this over an entire continent? Grandest, most stupid idea ever in the history of man.
End Mike Church Show Transcript