A few days ago President Donald Trump drew ire from both sides of the aisle when he took to Twitter and threatened to revoke NBC’s broadcast license. Indiana State Representative Jim Lucas (R) has been ahead of the president on this — but for a different reason than you may think.
Earlier this year Lucas drafted a bill which would require journalists to be licensed by the state police. At face value it appears surprising that a lawmaker who leans libertarian would submit a bill attacking the First Amendment. But there’s a method to his madness: As a staunch Second Amendment supporter, he’s wanting to make a statement to journalists whom, he feels, continually mischaracterizes Second Amendment legislation.
“If you’re OK licensing my Second Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your First Amendment right?” he retorted.
Lucas has been trying for years to get an Indiana law repealed which requires a permit to carry a handgun.
“If I was as irresponsible with my handgun as the media has been with their keyboard, I’d probably be in jail,” he said.
In order to ensure that no one missed his point, the requirements to obtain the journalism license are nearly identical to the license to carry a handgun: They would have to turn in their application to the State Police, be fingerprinted, and pay a fee for the license. Additionally, as with the gun license, journalists convicted of a felony or domestic violence would be denied.
While what this lawmaker is doing is entertaining since it could very effectively make his point, it’s a dangerous game to use legislation to make a statement, no matter how important.
Government’s number one job, according to the Declaration of Independence, is “to secure these rights.” Which rights? Inalienable rights. Those rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights (as well as others not listed, as our Founders were by no means indicating that the only rights we have are the ones outlined).
This legislative game of “chicken” is how we ended up with the 16th Amendment, which allows Congress to tax our income. Progressives early in the 20th century were once again tapping in to humans’ natural propensity for envy and greed for their own benefit by attacking “the rich.” The very, very, very short version is this:
They needed more money, you see. (When don’t they?) In order to get the money they wanted, Democrats ginned up envy toward “the rich,” and anti-rich sentiment grew significantly, making it politically popular to “tax the rich.” Initially, they passed legislation, but back then, courts still paid some attention to the Constitution and pointed out that they had no constitutional authority to tax income.
Since public opinion had shifted in favor of taxing “the rich,” Republicans thought they would be able to put an end to the issue by proposing a constitutional amendment, which they never thought would pass. In this way, they didn’t have to publicly oppose the income tax bill, while at the same time, they thought their move would bring an end to the federal income tax once and for all.
And that is how we ended up with nearly all of our incomes being taxed and an ever expanding federal government.
Lawmakers are currently reviewing Lucas’ bill prior to next year’s legislative session.