Yes, government does have the right to spend our money

September 16, 2010

Nickolaus Mueller writes that "Tax cuts across the board [i.e., for the very wealthiest as well as the other 98 percent of U.S. taxpayers] make sense because the government doesn't have any right to spend individuals' earnings on any public project they choose in the first place." (Readers respond, Sept. 15.)

Excuse me, that "first place" is the U.S. Constitution, and it gives just the right you claim is nonexistent. I suggest you read Article 1, Section 8, the first paragraph, as well as the Sixteenth Amendment, which give the federal government the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare" and "to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived."

The principle, in case you've missed it, is "taxation with representation," not "representation without taxation." The income tax was introduced as a remedy for the representation without taxation granted to the robber barons of the so-called Gilded Age.

Walter Stephens, Baltimore

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