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A bill co-sponsored by 69 House Republicans would abolish federal taxes other than Social Security and Medicare. Which pretty much means abolishing the federal government, since if the Tax Code Termination Act became law, there would be no funding for basically anything. Introduced by House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia, and predictably co-sponsored by Michele Bachmann and Steve King, among other luminaries:
In addition to cutting off about 60 percent of federal revenues, the bill includes an unconstitutional provision providing that the end of the tax code cannot be delayed except by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. The Constitution does not permit a past Congress to tie the hands of a future Congress, so this provision making it functionally impossible for future congresses to delay the end of most federal revenue is unconstitutional.

Goodlatte believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional, so it is both unsurprising that the House Judiciary Chair is too unfamiliar with the Constitution to draft a constitutional tax bill and ironic that his bill actually permits taxes for the two programs he thinks are unconstitutional.

The idea seems to be that Congress should start from scratch and develop a new tax code before this bill could go into effect. Which ... have Rep. Goodlatte and his co-sponsors seen how Congress works, or rather doesn't work? As little chance as there is that a bill abolishing the federal tax code would get through the House and the Senate and be signed by President Obama, there's much less chance Congress could put together a new tax system from scratch in most of our lifetimes.

A bill to abolish taxes has to be taken on its own terms, not the vague suggestion that maybe some other taxes would replace the ones we have now and continue to fund the government. Think about it: no military, no wars, no congressional paychecks, no custodians and maintenance people to keep the Capitol from falling into ruin, no FAA, no funding for roads or bridges. And while the kind of House Republican that sponsors a law abolishing federal taxes might not care about the Capitol falling into ruin, and we already know they're okay with bridges going unrepaired, they generally don't want to see the U.S. military abolished, as widespread Republican howling about the sequester's defense spending cuts demonstrates.

That's not actually the stupidest thing about dozens of elected representatives of the government signing on to a proposal to scrap the majority of the government's revenue. But it's maybe something someone stupid enough to sign onto this bill to begin with might understand.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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