Taxes, Big Government, Attitudes, Abortion, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: How should American’s be taxed? Can we return to a no-tax system? Should America fund atheist missionaries? Who is the number one employer in the USA? What can we learn from the 12 Israeli spies? What does the 10th Amendment comeback mean for the nation? Tune in to hear our answers to your questions and more!
Air Date: 07/14/2022
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person; freedom of religion; freedom of property and freedom of press.”
This is the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us today on WallBuilders Live. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.
If you want to know the right position on any issue out there, that’s how you do it; you say, hey, what does the Bible have to say about this? I got to be in God’s word every day to know these things. But then what can history teach me about this as well?
What works and doesn’t work? History shows us that. And then, of course, our Constitution, if you’re going to apply these things appropriately under our system of government, we have to know the Constitution and get that constitutional perspective as well.
So that’s why we always say WallBuilders Live looking at things from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We’re doing that with David Barton. This guy is America’s premier historian. I am so honored to get to work with David for the last couple of decades.
I’ve run into so many people that are serving in the legislatures of states all over the country, in Congress in Washington, DC, school boards, City Councils, you name it that say, I ran for office because I saw this from David Barton or I read this from David Barton. David has been a catalyst for restoring biblical values and constitutional principles. And so thankful for that and just thrilled to be here with WallBuilders.
Who We Are
And of course, the name WallBuilders comes from that scripture and Nehemiah that says arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. We’ve got to rebuild the foundations, folks.
Right here in America, there’s major cracks in the foundation, we’ve got real problems and rot in the culture. But the good news is it’s been revealed over the last couple of years. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and now we know what’s there. And we’re learning what to do to restore the foundations in America. So we’re here with David.
We’re also here with Tim Barton. He’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. You got to book him into your community, to your church, to your business organization to speak. I’m telling you he’ll light people on fire, he’ll get them excited, give them hope, and give them answers to how to turn this culture around.
My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach. And it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. So let’s get started today. You send in your questions to [email protected]. Send your questions to [email protected].
Alright, David and Tim, let’s dive into those questions from the audience. Anybody that wants to send one in, send it to [email protected]. And Brian from Wichita, Kansas gets the first one. He said “Would it be economically possible for America to go back to a no tax system? And what would that look like?”
Alright, guys, so man, how long has it been? 1913 was the income tax amendment, but there was language in Article I section VIII that allowed for taxes. So I don’t know that we were no tax, but I guess we were mostly tariffs. How would you describe that? If Brian is saying before to a no-tax era, do we ever have an actual no tax era?
Well, yeah. If you’re talking about federally, it’s interesting because you go back to the Declaration of Independence, when we separate from Great Britain 1776, we do the 4th of July announcement presentation of the Declaration and in 1777 is when we do the Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress did not have the power to tax. And also, under the Articles of Confederation, you had to get the approval of all 13 colonies before any amendments could pass. And they tried to pass several amendments during the years.
Now, first of all, the articles weren’t officially ratified till 1781, but they were really operating under them starting in 1777. And they went to we had a new Constitution and it was ratified till 1789. And in the midst of this process, there were not really amendments made to the Articles of Confederation because they couldn’t get all 13 colonies to agree on the specific things.
That’s why part of the Constitution, they said we’re only going to require this three-fourths instead of 100%, recognizing that it needs to be the majority of the nation that supports the amendment, but doesn’t have to be unanimous at this point because they saw the challenge and difficulty.
Under the Articles of Confederation, there was not a federal tax, but there definitely were state taxes. There have been taxes, really, since the very beginning, which also part. If you remember, one of the agreements is in the Declaration was no taxation without representation. Well, the Founding Fathers were not anti-tax, they were anti-no representation and being forced to pay for things they didn’t have a say in. It’s not that they were against taxes. So states definitely had taxes.
The Power to Tax
And then what’s also interesting, Rick, you mentioned in Article I in Section VIII where it talks about Congress’s power to tax, but what did identified is that tax was done the same way that representatives were done, it was based on population, it was population of the state. And so the state would give taxes based on how many people live in this state, which means it’s a capitation tax.
It’s not was you mentioned like Woodrow Wilson, the progressive income tax. So it was every individual, there’s a tax for every individual. It’s not based on your income earners. There’s not a capital gains tax. There’s not a progressive income tax. It was based on individuals. We know that as a flat tax that everybody pays, and it actually maybe not even a flat tax, because a flat tax could be done as a percentage.
Yeah, it would be a flat tax for everybody in that state. But one state might differ from another because your apportionment is different, you have different number of people. So it’s kind of a flat tax, everybody’s treated the same. But the states are treated differently.
Well, so even with that, I mean, this could be an interesting discussion going back and looking, dad. Because with it being a capitation tax, if they’re saying, you know what, $10 for every person that lives in the state, well, then if everybody’s got to pay $10, it’s a different than our thought of flat tax where ours is percentage, right because instead of everybody paying 10%…
Based on the Population
Nonetheless, the point definitely for them and from the Constitution was that each individual was doing the same thing. Now, you could argue percentages help that happen as well because everybody’s paying the same percentage. And that’s really what the idea was, was everybody paid the same thing. So from the very beginning of the Constitution, Congress not only had the power to tax, but they even identified how tax was going to be done and it was going to be based on the population, just like Congress member were chosen, representatives were chosen based on the population, taxes were going to be done based on population as well.
So from the very beginning of our nation, under the US Constitution, there were taxes. But even before the US Constitution when we were colonies and states, there definitely were taxes inside the colonies and states. You can go back to a guy like Sam Adams, for example, was the father of the American Revolution.
One of the jobs he had before the American Revolution was tax collector. And he did not keep the job very long. One of the many things I love about Sam Adams, he didn’t keep the job very long because he didn’t collect enough taxes. Presumably, I’m only guessing, but presumably, he’s showing up at people’s houses, and he’s seeing their tax bill and he’s like this is ridiculous, only give me half that money. Like, that’s my favorite kind of an idea of a tax collector.
Nonetheless, Sam Adams, in fact, was a tax collector under the British appointed governor and ended up losing that job. So taxes were always a thing in America. I guess the question is maybe a little more geared toward federal. But under the Constitution, federal tax is certainly permitted, it’s just it was done a different way than we do it today.
I’ll add to that the George Washington in his farewell address, you know, again, remember, Tim, as you pointed out, they had the colonies, then they had the Articles of Confederation, which didn’t work great and then they went to Constitution. Now the Constitution has been ratified, the states have ratified it, Washington has operated under it and with it, and in it for eight years, two terms.
And as he’s leaving office, says, okay, guys, here’s where we’ve been, we’ve gone through all these experiments and this is what’s working and this is what you have to do. So his farewell address has about a dozen warnings on what you have to do to keep on track.
Don’t become secular. Don’t let religion morality leap. Don’t have any name higher than American. Don’t get into intense political partisanship. And he goes through all these warnings. And one of the warnings is you always have to be a good citizen prepared to pay taxes. So that’s part of his warnings, is don’t get into an anti-tax mode, where you’re just shutting everything out because it’s tax. Be willing to pay taxes.
But he goes a step further and he says, but don’t let your government get into such spending that you get into debt. So you need to pay taxes. That’s okay. That’s what a citizen is going to do. But don’t let the government spin so much that your taxes get so high that the debt of the nation goes up and your prosperity goes down individually.
So when you look at that combination, this is where it gets real intriguing with where we are today, if we got rid of the federal income tax today, then my question becomes how do you find all the programs we have? And of course, the answer is, well, we want a lot of those programs to go away. Yes, you do.
But when they go away, you’re going to have a lot of people squealing and yelling and shouting, and how are you going to take care of that? And how are you going to convince people that they need to live with less federal income than what they’re getting right now?
More than 50% of the nation gets federal income. More than 50% of the nation receives a check from the government of some kind, some kind of benefits or some kind of help or assistance or whatever it is. Can you convince 50% of the people that they should get by with less federal funds? And the answer is going to be no, people want every bit of money they get. Yeah, but they would pay less tax.
So we’ll see, this is one of the arguments that was part of what we call the withholding tax. Withholding Tax is take out a little bit every week or every two weeks or however you get paid. And the argument was, you know, if you’re going to put the taxes in every week or every two weeks, people won’t feel the bite of it. If you were to tax everybody at the end of the year and make them pay in one shot all of their taxes for that year.
You would have a massive tax revolt and people would say wait a minute, that’s too much money you’re taking from me, but they recognize it’s kind of like the philosophy of the frog boiling in the pot slowly increase the temperature and they don’t notice and you can finally boil them to death without them being aware that they’re dying. And that was the belief in taxation, that if you do it on a weekly withholding basis, you can get a lot more money out of people and they’re going to yell a lot less.
So the question would be, okay, if we got away from the federal income tax, what are you going to do to make up all the spending that’s going on? We’ll cut programs. How can you cut programs?
Who can you convince to cut programs? And can you get Congress to do that? So we really have backed ourselves into a quagmire right now that’s very hard to get out of. We should not be having progressive income taxes that does not treat everyone equally.
Not everyone is treated the same. We need a whole lot less federal taxes. The states need to be doing more, the federal government needs to be doing less. That’s the 17 enumerated powers.
I mean, we just got to change the whole thing. But the question is, where do you come up with the rest of the money? How do you convince the rest of the nation or at least 51% or at least 51% of Congress that they need to spend less? That’s the big question.
So even if you get them to spend less, you still got to have taxes at some point. So…
You’re going to have to do the 17 things the Constitution requires. You’re going to have to have a military. You got to have the military. You’re going to have to take care of the post roads. You’re going to have to make sure you can coin money, coin national money.
I mean, there are things you got to pay for, including the salaries, the congressmen and Supreme Court Justices and the operation of the courts. Those are all federally constitutionally mandated things. You’ve got to pay for at least the 17 things that the Constitution requires.
So you’re going to have to have it. And that’s why George Washington said, look, just be prepared to pay a tax, that’s part of a good citizen. You get all these protections, these are the 17 things, pay for it. But don’t let your government start spending so much that goes into debt.
That’s where you have to draw the line. And so it’s not the tax and so much that’s a problem for us as it is a spending. The taxing is high because the spending is high. If you get to spending on control, the taxing will come down.
And the things they spend it on, I think that’s part of why people hate paying taxes so much, you recognize, hey, I want to be part of the community and contribute to the cause. But we get so frustrated when we see them spend money on evil things and then your own money is being used to undermine the country or undermine things. That’s when I think people get the most upset.
Well, and guys, speaking of the ridiculous things that we are funding, you know, there’s people like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, that keep a list every year of the dumb things we fund. One of the articles that we saw just in the last week or two of the dumb things our government is funding is under President Biden, they’ve decided that they want to fund missionaries around the world.
Now that’s not the dumb part. The dumb part is they want to fund atheist and secular humanist missionaries, to send them around the world with looking at giving up to $500,000 per organization who will do this missionary outreach work for atheism and for secular humanism around the world, as if atheism and secular humanism make places better.
One of the things that we know, when you study history, when a communist leader comes in, one of the things they try to do is they try to remove God from the equation because they want to set government up in the place of God. How did they do that? They start promoting atheism and secular humanism and the place of Christianity, in the place of God. And this is exactly what now the Biden ministration is wanting to fund to the tune of half a million dollars per organization who wants to do this.
So, I mean, just utterly crazy stuff, again, you can go to guys like grandpa Mike Lee, and see incredibly long list of the dumb things that we are funding. And this is also not to even get lost in the fact that if you look at how many administrative state employees we have, that the federal government is the number one largest employer of any organization in America, and with all the people that we employ, there’s so much incompetence, there’s so much waste of what happens. There’s a lot of reasons that we should try to recall a lot of those tax dollars and dad, as you mentioned, gets spinning down.
And if you could limit even the amount of the bureaucracy and agencies, if you had to cut your agency in half where it would stop some of the damage they’re actually doing in those areas, it also would reduce an incredibly large amount just from the salaries and retirements and everything else from a federal government employee. Again, the federal government being the number one employer in the United States, which is not the place we want to be.
Yeah, landowner and everything else as well, it’s just out completely out of control got to be curbed and then proper taxes that that pay for proper things that are in the Constitution and proper role of government we can all feel pretty good about. Got a lot of work to do on that one, folks. We’re going to take a quick break, we’ll be right back with your questions. If you’d like to send one in, send that to [email protected]. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History.
In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman; friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday, we’re diving back into your questions. And sometimes guys, we get emails that are not just questions, they’re comments, and then sometimes they’re really enjoyable to read. So I’m going to share a couple of these real quick and then we’ll get our next actual question.
First one comes from Jim. He says, “I just listened to a 40 minute interview of Tim on the Eric Metaxas show and was completely impressed. Tim was thorough, prepared, had a truly biblical and constitutional perspective and saying that this will not abolish abortion”, So he’s talking about the doctor’s decision, “but placed the issue in the states where it belongs.” And further went on to point out that this is, in fact murder and our Constitution does not allow special exemptions for that purpose.
I love the reference to the 12 spies in Exodus, and the two Joshua and Caleb, who stood up for courage, and the 10 who did not trust God. And it had dire consequences. Another 38 years in the desert, and only those two went into the Promised Land as a result of their faithfulness. Thanks again for your continued obedience to your calling.”
So, Tim, great interview with Metaxas, who’s great. We love Eric Metaxas and his books, but just to reiterate, the 12 spies and the cost to the entire culture, cost to the entire nation whenever the leaders those 10 spies had such a negative report and did not trust God and depressed the people. Important for all of us to be like Joshua and Caleb, and make sure that we do trust God and we have a positive report that we share every opportunity that we get.
Rick, can I have some real quick on that? You know, it’s one of the things when I grew up in Sunday school and church to hear the 10 spies or the 12 spies or whatever. And it’s really interesting that they’re really not spies because I can think of SPIES LIKE intelligence agents, you know, undercover agents, whatever.
It really says they were the leaders of God’s people who went in to spy out the land. And so you’re really talking about leaders and the attitude of the leaders was significant. They were sent in to see what it looks like and they did an intelligence work.
But I think the attitude thing of leaders, all of us, we influence other people, our own attitudes, if we have that negative, pessimistic attitude, God’s not happy with that.
Well, and to give context, dad, to your point about that being leaders of the tribe, if you think about it we chose 12 politicians today to go spy out the land, if you had Joe Biden and President Trump going to spy out the land, they might see the exact same thing, they’re coming back with very different ideas of the best way to engage going forward. And you’re exactly right.
That’s one of the things that so often, we read the 12 spies, it was the leaders of each tribe that was chosen, they were sent in to go spy the land. These were the leaders from the tribe. And so it does give a big reflection on what kind of leaders they were, the way they were leading. And that’s where Joshua and Caleb certainly were different in that scenario because of their leadership mentality.
Yeah, and the people suffer or are blessed. You know, this is the whole when the righteous rule that people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. And in that case, clearly, the wicked were ruling. One more comment then we got another question.
Paul said, “I didn’t know that the Bartons’ and Greens’ had been to Israel recently until I read in the newspaper that ‘a US family caused a bomb scare at Israel’s main International Airport after presenting an unexploded artillery shell at a security check.’”
So that would have been David. If anybody would have had an unexploded artillery shell, it would have been David, not the Greens’. Bartons’ is the one with all the cool stuff.
I was just carrying it out of the museum. I mean, it’s an old antique thing. It’s a civil war thing. I mean, what’s the big deal?
Right. Why will just bother anybody at the airport? I don’t know. But I love your comment, Paul.
The 10th Amendment
You left of course in your email as well. And you said “Although I only give a small donation annually, I do like it when you mentioned how it’s being used in projects. Keep up the good work.” And we really appreciate you, Paul.
So many of you out there that give the donation, small and big, some monthly some once a year. But thank you, thank you, thank you, it is going into so many good works to influence the culture in a positive way.
And just to clarify, in case anyone didn’t know, no, we did not actually have an unexploded ordinance. If we did not have an artillery shell that was still alive in the Israeli airport that that was part of the joke. So for those you going, why did they do, did they not know in Israel? Because I can hear people right now asking the question; we did not actually do that. It was just fun…
That would have been the emails for next week, Tim. We’ll get some of those.
We would definitely get some, we would chuck a lot and then have to clarify next week. No, it was he saw it and thought it was really funny. He was like, oh, but the Bartons’ bringing something cool back. And then it was not us. So just to put everybody’s mind at ease, we would not bring an unexploded ordinance or a live artillery shell into the Israeli airport. We know better than that.
The Abortion Decision
On purpose, I mean, might have accidentally forgot it in your satchel bag… No, not really. Okay, Larry’s got the last question of the day. And he said:
“Please during your podcast, please talk about Amendment 10 when you speak about abortion. I don’t hear anyone talk about this.” And so, you know, he’s talking about the 10th Amendment that leaves everything to the states and to the people that’s not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
But I guess because this is the Dobbs decision sent it back to the states and that prior to Roe v. Wade, it was a state decision, that’s where one could argue the 10th Amendment. But I think what Tim was saying earlier about that you don’t have the right to murder, so there’s not a constitutional right to that. So I’m not sure. What do you guys think on the 10th Amendment and abortion?
I would think that you take the abortion aspect of it. But remember also with Justice Thomas did in his concurring opinion, he said, guys, not only should abortion never have come here. And like Tim, I’m also of the mind that this is not a state’s issue, this is an inalienable right.
And just like states don’t have the right to say that you can’t have due process or you can’t have religious expression or you can’t defend yourself, they don’t have the right to take a life without due process. And it has to be a guilty blood as the Bible called non-innocent blood.
And so I think that this was an inalienable right prior to Roe v. Wade. I mean, abortion just wasn’t out there, they had to strike down the laws to get it. So this was not just a state’s decision, this was an inalienable right. And so I’m on that.
But going to what Justice Thomas said, he said, guys, he said, we need to see the marriage amendment, the Obergefell decision come back, because that’s certainly not a federal issue. States, 31 states or 32 states have decided marriage between a man and a woman and who’s the Supreme Court to tell the states what they can or can’t believe about marriage and licensing?
And by the way, Texas in Lawrence v. Texas, going back to Baker v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, they had said that homosexuality was not acceptable in Texas. And who’s the Supreme Court to step out and say, yes, it is acceptable in Texas? And he went back to three cases.
And they’re all 10th Amendment kind of issues. And so what Clarence Thomas was arguing was, guys, we need to get out of these kinds of issues; we’re not the national legislature; we’re not the ones that decide all morals and values for the nation. This is stuff we should be out of.
And so the 10th Amendment really is a big deal. And we had seen even a couple articles before that last two weeks of decisions suggesting that the 10th Amendment is having a comeback in America. And we know that.
The last two to three years, we’ve seen that in the federal courts, all the different Circuit Courts of Appeals, all the federal judges that are getting the federal government out of areas they should never have been in.
Making a Comeback
So the 10th Amendment is making a comeback. And that’s really, we’ve been talking to some of these national attorneys saying, okay, now that the 10th Amendment is making a comeback, and the courts are willing to get themselves out of stuff they shouldn’t have put themselves in, what are cases that we should be bringing right now to give the courts a chance to get out of these kinds of thing?
It’s like what would be the right state to bring the marriage amendment back again, to have a vote on the marriage amendment and say, here’s what the state did, and then that’s going to get challenged and to get it to the Supreme Court, let the Supreme Court say no, this is not a federal issue?
So the 10th Amendment, in order for it to work, you have to have some aggressiveness attached to it, you have to be willing to challenge some things in the states. We were talking on previous program. It’s time for some of the states decide, you know what, we’re going to put the 10 Commandments up in classrooms and forth, that’s the way it was till 1980.
This is something we have more than 50 copies of the 10 Commandments, the pictures of 10 Commandments in the US Supreme Court. 10 Commandments are on a number of federal court buildings. Why is it kids can’t see what we have as the basis of law? And we need states challenging that. And that’s more 10th Amendment. Actually, I would say that’s more First Amendment.
But under the philosophy of the court that Clarence Thomas set forth is at least a 10th Amendment issue, and it means at least let states decide what they want to do with moral education in the states. So the question about abortion, I think, that’s pretty well been dealt with in the last two or three weeks. It’s back in the hands of the states.
But the 10th Amendment aspect, I think, is one that we’re going to see for the next several years. And we need to see for the next several years and we need to have legislators and we need to have mayors and we need to have city councils and school boards be aggressive and starting to give opportunities and expressing the 10th Amendment through Supreme Court decisions.
We got to give the court a chance to get themselves out of this like they’re trying to do now in so many other areas. So 10th Amendments on a comeback, if you don’t know what the 10th Amendment is, you really need to get into it. We get it from information on WallBuilders website about the 10th Amendment. But this is what legislators really need to be focusing on in the next few sessions gets send in a bunch of stuff to the court that gives them the right to take areas back from the federal government.
Taxes, Big Government, Attitudes, Abortion, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom
Alright, friends, that does it for today, this has been Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for being a part of that today. If you’d like your question answered, please send that into [email protected]. That’s [email protected]. And while you’re there, go to wallbuilders.com, check out some of those amazing resources.
If you’d like to have a better foundation for yourself that you would like to know more about how the nation was founded, and you’d like to be able to apply a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective to what’s going on in your community, whether you’re testifying at the school board or at the state capitol or you’re calling or writing your legislator or you’re just teaching friends and family at church or in your home or even your own kids about the principles of liberty.
We have to each get educated about those things first. So go to wallbuilders.com, get some materials today, start diving in, maybe even consider becoming a Constitution coach and joining our 12,000 Constitution coaches around the country and hosting one of those classes in your home or at your church. You don’t need any background for that. Anyone can do it. And we do it for free. Check all of that out at biblicalcitizens.com.
Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”