British-born MSNBC afternoon anchor Martin Bashir devoted his September 20 "Clear the Air" commentary to clouding the issue of raising taxes by citing the clause in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution's that bans Congress from granting titles of nobility (video follows page break):
It's time now to "Clear the Air." And with Republicans declaring that class warfare has been started by President Obama, after he suggested that Warren Buffett should at least pay the same amount of tax as his secretary, I was reminded of an American history class that I took in my final year of high school in London.
During one lesson, we were introduced to Article 1 and Section 9 of the American Constitution and were told that this was one of the most important clauses designed to end the aristocratic and class-ridden approach to society that had defined Great Britain during the 18th century.
There is no class warfare because the battle is over and the middle classes have lost. And that’s why asking Mr. Buffett to pay the same amount of tax as his secretary is not class warfare, it's actually the faint echo of a constitution that was intended to prevent the kind of social divisions that are all too apparent today.
The Constitution was meant to engineer society? Funny, I thought it was a charter to constitute and limit the powers of a federal republic and "secure the blessings of liberty," for countless generations of Americans.
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Bashir offered no evidence to support the notion that Alexander Hamilton -- who served as the first Secretary of the Treasury -- or any of the other Framers of the Constitution supported an income tax, much less a graduated scheme of income taxes predicated on the notion of "prevent[ing]... social divisions."
Indeed no federal income tax implemented until the Civil War, and that tax was repealed 10 years later. It was only with the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913 that income taxes received iron-clad constitutional authorization.
From from clearing the air, Bashir's leftist rhetoric just clouds the issue on top of distorting history.
Editor's Note: Please pardon how the video abruptly cuts off before Bashir's commentary is concluded. This is where our DVR recording stopped and we couldn't capture the very last bit of it. We'll try to get our hands on some video that has the full commentary.