Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

No Export Taxes

                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.9.5:  "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State."  This clause gave states the right to export goods to foreign nations without the central government taxing them.

                    "This provision was adopted at the insistence of the cotton states because of their profitable markets in Europe.  They did not want an export tax which would force them to sell to the New England textile mills at a cheaper price.
                    "It should be noted that Congress may tax commodities even though they are exported by the states, providing the tax is uniformly applied on these goods whether they are exported or not….
                    "This clause received extensive discussion…."  (See W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 482.)

                    "The Export Taxation Clause was one of the many accommodations that the Framers made to cement unity among the various sections of the union.  Many of the Southern delegates at the Constitutional Convention regarded the clause as a prerequisite to gaining their approval of the Constitution.  As the primary exporter of goods in the late eighteenth century, the South would have borne a disproportionate burden from export taxes.  In addition to their disproportionate burden argument, George Mason voiced the South's fear that a tax on exports would create a mechanism through which the more numerous Northern states could overwhelm the Southern states' economies.  They also worried that export taxes could be used indirectly to attack slavery.  They were joined by Northerners such as Oliver Ellsworth, who declared that export taxes would stifle industry….
                    "Although the original purpose of the Export Taxation Clause was to prevent sectional favoritism by Congress, the Court has chosen to enforce the flat ban that the Framers placed into the Constitution's text, rather than seeking to measure an export tax's discriminatory effect.  Under the Commerce Clause, Congress retains the power to regulate exports, even to the extent of creating embargoes.  It may not, however, utilize export taxes as a means of regulation."  (See David F. Forte in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 161-162.)

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