“Constitutional Economics”
Constitutional Economics can restore order, justice, and faith in government.
December 9, 2018
Rick DiMare

The late "Constitutional economist" James M. Buchanan (1919-2013) did not understand the legal arguments we advance here at Common Wealth Tax, nor was he a lawyer, but he did believe that strict adherence to the Constitution, as defined and interpreted by the Supreme Court, was necessary to prevent the U.S. government from devolving into a tyrannical or "Leviathan government" (although he sometimes questioned whether ANY government could avoid slipping into tyranny).

To Buchanan, "the game" simply could not be played if the "referees" (the U.S. judiciary) were not on the same page as to which player actions should be accepted, and which should be penalized. Just imagine the slim likelihood of any professional sport surviving if the referees each had their own idea as to which player actions should be allowed.

On that note, and having studied the Constitutional clauses affecting money and taxes for quite some time, I'd like to briefly state what needs to be recognized and enforced by U.S. judges and lawyers, not only here in the United States, but wherever the U.S. has an economic presence.  

My first recommendation would be to either remove legal tender status from the Federal Reserve note and replace them with U.S. Notes, or to make the Federal Reserve note immediately redeemable on demand for current U.S. coin.

But since I fear this would be too disruptive, my preferred solution would be to immediately:

(1) have all federal courts, including tax courts, recognize that the "labor income tax" we're currently paying is a regulatory tax on the legal tender privilege conferred on the privately-issued Federal Reserve note (FRN), which so-called "wage income tax" was modeled on Chase's 10-year Civil War income tax on income received in privately-issued national bank notes, made Constitutional in Springer v. U.S. (1881). This is an income tax that the wage-earner can only avoid by first rejecting the FRN and demanding that all wages be received into a TDLMUS-only bank accounts at any U.S. incorporated bank, and this preferential claim for TDLMUS (i.e., U.S. Notes and coins) is Constitutional under McCulloch v. Maryland (1819);

(2) require all U.S.-incorporated banks to allow depositors unfettered access to TDLMUS-only bank accounts, and require banks, with the Federal Reserve acting as Congress's "fiscal agent," to provide U.S. Notes or coins on demand within a reasonable time after a depositor makes a request to take possession;

(3) require the IRS to honor the dropping of "wage income" from the annual 1040 for any part of the year during which the taxpayer received wages in TDLMUS as compensation for his/her labor. (This means that if excluding wage income from one's 1040 puts the taxpayer below the filing threshold, no 1040 would be required for that year. However, in that circumstance, the taxpayer may still be responsible for assuring that backup withholding was paid on other income items, such as interest income, rental income, dividend income, capital gain income, profits from hiring others, etc.)

(4) establish U.S. minting facilities at select military installations across the globe to supply U.S. coined base money to any foreign local bank incorporated under U.S. law, which would enable those banks to issue paper or electronic U.S. Notes (issued under the Borrowing Clause), based on circulating U.S. coinage (created under the Coinage Clause), and and allow foreign depositors unfettered access to TDLMUS-only bank accounts at any of these U.S.-incorporated banks.

Regarding "excess holding of land," one of the reasons states were called "commonwealths" is that they based on the Lockean philosophy that the earth, ocean, atmosphere, outer space, etc. are owned in common, and cannot be inordinately monopolized by anyone. U.S. governmental entities can grant temporary exclusive access rights, and we often call this "ownership," but no one can really own parts of the earth in the sense that we can own our minds, bodies, clothing, cars, houses, etc.

When the land is actually being used by someone "purposefully," or even being used by a corporation, exclusive access rights are enforceable under Lockean theory (but yes, some philosophers, like Nozick, [incorrectly in my view] read Locke as providing very strong property rights, even for land held purely for speculation). As far as land/ocean/atmospheric rights, there's a difference between the state owning those vs. the state holding them in trust for the public.

Constitutional economics, according to Wikipedia, is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the choices and activities of economic and political agents". This extends beyond the definition of "the economic analysis of constitutional law" and is distinct from explaining the choices of economic and political agents within those rules, a subject of orthodox economics. Read more about constitutional economics here.

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Rick DiMare

Rick is a self employed attorney from Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston College and studied law at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. He also administers the Facebook group called Common Wealth Tax, which seeks to explore the (currently obscure) link between modern income tax laws and the Land Value Tax (LVT) advocated by political economist and “Greenbacker” Henry George (1839-1897).