Richard Mack, the thoroughly deranged and self-declared “constitutional sheriff” who thinks county sheriffs are the highest authority in the country, also thinks that the states can nullify anything the federal government does, including the income tax.
There isn’t anything that’s going on in our country today that the states can’t stop,” Mack said, encouraging states and counties to refuse to take federal funds and refuse to direct money to the federal government.
“And even spending,” he said. “You want to balance the budget? Get the governors together and the state legislatures together and tell them, ‘This is how it’s going to be from now on, we’re not going to send you this and we’re not taking this, we’re not going to do this, and we might even tell the citizens, we might even pass a law in Arizona to nullify federal income tax.’ That would be courageous, wouldn’t that? It would also be a lot of fun.”
“Who asserts the 10th Amendment? Who has the constitutional and moral and ethical obligation to enforce the 10th Amendment? Is that the federal government’s job? They’re destroying it. Who’s going to stand and enforce and defend the 10th Amendment? It’s us,” he said later in his talk. “We retain everything else that’s not given to them. If we don’t hold onto it, and we’ve allowed them to take it, we have to take it back. And hopefully we have the courage and the smarts and the wherewithal to keep this process peaceful. And if we get a lot of people doing it, and a lot of states doing it, and a lot of governors doing it, and a lot of sheriffs doing it, and a lot of counties doing it, it will remain peaceful. And that’s why my whole thing has been, we take back America county by county and state by state.”
Here’s a pretty good rule of thumb: If you hear someone declare themselves to be a “constitutionalist,” there’s a better than even chance that they have no idea what that document actually says or means. The power of the federal government to collect income taxes is explicitly stated. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 says:
The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.
And Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 says:
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
But the latter was rescinded by the 16th Amendment, which says:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
It doesn’t get any more explicit than that. There is zero ambiguity. But for radicals like Mack, they falsely imagine themselves to be defending the Constitution that they know nothing about.