15 February 2012

Only Half the Story

A thought struck me this morning as I was reading some discussion about whether the individual mandate provision of PPACA is a tax (it isn't). I started thinking about the Constitutional requirement that “[a]ll bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House” rather than the Senate (Article I, Section 7, Paragraph 1). I briefly wondered whether PPACA was first introduced in the House (and I've seen other speculation along that line). But that isn't what this post is about.

The point of this post is that the Constitution established earlier in that Article (Secs. 2 & 3) that members of the House were to be elected by the people, but Senators would be chosen by the states. The idea, it seems, was to ensure that any taxes levied, that would ultimately be paid by the people–because corporations don't pay taxes–must be the people's idea (through their Representatives). The Senators had the responsibility of determining how any proposed tax would affect their respective states, and support or oppose it accordingly.

It is no coincidence that Amendment XVII, transferring the election of Senators to the people, was proposed after Amendment XVI, establishing the power to tax income. It was a progressive plan to undermine the states' check on how increases in tax rates would affect their businesses. Among other things, I'm sure.