Getting Geeky on Guitar

So I have been getting nerdier in my old age. I have been a guitar geek more years than I can remember (okay, I can remember: 16 years). Looking for great tone and talking about the latest (and the oldest) gear are among my musical past times. Lately I have discovered a new level of guitar geekery: effects pedal modification.

I am just dipping my toe in the water at this point. My first project is to repair and modify a 90’s era Electro-harmonix/Sovtek Small Stone Phaser pedal. Two problems are inherent with this pedal. First it is not true bypass. This means that even when it is not engaged you can still hear the faint swirling of the effect going on in the background. True bypass means that the signal is routed directly from input to output (bypassing the circuit altogether) when the pedal is not engaged so that only your true, unaffected tone comes through. Replacing the footswitch with a 3PDT true bypass will remedy this. It should be a straightforward repair.

The second problem is the volume drops when the effect is engaged. The fix for this is a little trickier. It involves removing two resistors from the internal circuit board and replacing them with two higher impedence resistors. I know this may sound like greek to some of you but trust me…it’s going to be tricky for a newbie like me. However I am looking forward to giving it a shot.

I may also release my inner design geek and remove the guts from it’s ugly army green enclosure and put it in a new enclosure of my own design. We’ll see how the initial repairs go first.

My other endeavor is to build a footswitch for another pedal of mine out of a pill box, a basic momentary switch, a 1/4” mono jack and two pieces of wire and do it as cheap as possible. This will be a very easy build but will be fun nonetheless.

I hope to get to do more tweaking and building in the future. But one step at a time: let’s see if I can fix my Small Stone without ruining it.

When Did the 80s Start to Rock?

In the American vernacular there are several words and phrases that have changed meaning as culture has changed. Consider the word “cool.”  No longer does it refer to the temperature of a room only.  It also describes an attitude, a state of being.  To be “cool” is the ultimate goal of every high school student (and it’s not because the GAP has some great sweaters on sale). 

Another word that has (unfortunately) changed is “gay.”  It once meant “of good cheer.”  Now it of course refers to homosexuality (as do the words “funny” and “queer”).

So when did “dude, that is so 80s” go from an insult to a compliment.  There was a time when one would say “dude, that is so 80s” and it meant “dude, that is over-the-top, outdated, wussified, and/or a bad hairdo.  Now when  you hear “dude, that is so 80s” it is liable to be followed by a high five.

It happened slowly. I remember the 80s somewhat. I remember the hair,the clothes, and of course the music (new wave, hair bands, spandex, classic MTV when they actually played music videos). Then came the 90s and grunge and alternative music rendering everything 80s as dorky and excessive.   However now in the 21st century, twenty years out from 1989, I am starting to see the 80s come back.

I first became truly aware of this phenomenon when I was watching an episode of “Psych.”  A staple of the show is each episode will begin with a flashback from the youth of the main character Shawn Spencer and his best friend Gus.  Usually the year of the flashback is 1987.  During these flashbacks viewers are shown an event in Shawn’s life that will shed light on some of his behavior and ideas as an adult.  The flashbacks have 80s pop culture refrences galore. Everything from kangaROOS shoes (with the pocket on the side) to Shawn and his best friend Gus dressing up as the Tears for Fears guy and Michael Jackson, respectively. 

Another example of the 80s comeback is the clothing that I see many people starting to wear and that I myself am drawn to. Think thrift store.  T-shirts with screen printing or that depict colorful logos (usually advertising an event of the past that the wearer is unfamiliar with).  I recently found a shirt that said “Walking In Memphis” on the front and the backside depicted a guitar with the words “Interact Fashion Show 2005.”  I bought it. I simply liked the way it looked. And tight jeans is another fashion that is coming back especially among young people (who are the only ones who can really get away with it). 

Personally I am in the market for some ROOS.  When I saw that episode of Psych recently I exclaimed “I forgot about ROOS!”  I was never able to own any so I will revisit my childhood and purchase myself a pair of kangaROOS.  With any luck I will be able to find some that are navy blue with velcro straps. 

Dude, that would be so 80s!

Songs I Wish I Had Written

Question 1: What ten songs (that currently exist, of course) do you wish you had written?

Here’s another topic submitted to help me fight off writer’s block.

Hundreds of thousands of songs have been written. Many are on the radio for a while and then go away to the boneyard. Others are never noticed. But every so often a song becomes a worldwide hit. A select few are destined to become consistent favorites that folks love and remember years after their release. For different reasons and rhymes here are the ten songs I wish I had written (in random order). And if you are not familiar with some of these songs you can look them up on YouTube. Let me know if you agree with me about how great or important these songs are.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana: When I first heard this game-changer in the earlier 90’s it was on MTV. I had never heard anything like it before. It was like punk but dirtier and more modern. There was so much raw grit to it. Nirvana broke all the rock band norms. They were unattractive. They looked sloppy. Their guitar parts were simple. Kurt Cobain was no rock god. Their lyrics were strange (they were not about girls and partying), the singing was not smooth, and the production was not slick. But they helped change the face of rock. They may not have been the innovators of grunge and alternative but they were the first to break upon the scene in a big way and it was with this song. So I wish that I had written the song that changed the face of rock.

2. Hey Jude by The Beatles: I knew as I was writing this that such a list would not be complete without George, Paul, John, and Ringo. Of all of their songs Hey Jude is probably the most famous. I have not met anyone, regardless of how little they know about music or The Beatles, who has not heard this song at least once. If nothing else they recognize the anthemic “na na na na NA NA NA NA” part. It’s a simple song with a simple origin. Paul wrote it for John’s son Julian (or Jules, but he changed the song title to Jude). It was a song of encouragement to a young boy seeing his parents’ marriage fall apart. I wish I had written the most recognizable Beatles song.

3. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2: The Joshua Tree, besides having a cool name, was U2’s best album in their entire catalog in my opinion. It marked a turning point in their career and I believe this record is when they officially became the greatest rock band in the world. Go ahead and Google it. I am positive that you will recognize at least the first three tracks. But it is the first track that I wish had my name in the credits. The story goes that in Ireland (or some place that Bono had in mind) that certain streets were known to be where the affluent and “good people” resided. However there were some streets where if you lived there you just had to be scum. But perhaps you were an upstanding, God-fearing, hardworking man whose lot in life was such that you had to live on one of those latter streets. It had nothing to do with your character but you would be painted in negative way for living on the wrong street. Bono, in his typical idealistic way, imagined a time and place where streets have no names. Not sure yet if that can happen this side of Heaven, but it makes for a great song. I wish I had written the first track of the greatest U2 album.

4. Down Under by Men At Work: I am sorry but this song is just fun. It’s about the singer’s touring throughout the world and how different cultures and different types of people have reacted to him when hearing the way he speaks or acts. I am not sure if any of the occurrences mentioned in the song are real or not but come on! It has a flute in it! I remember loving this song as a kid though I could barely understand a single lyric. And even later I had to look on Google to see what was meant by “a fried out combie.” I wish I had written this song about a land down under.

5. Your Love Broke Through by Keith Green: This is one of the first Keith Green songs I ever heard and I fell in love with it instantly. This is mostly because it is my story. It is about a man who was blinded and lost and without hope. He working and building the house of his life and existence…on sand. But like the apostle Paul and a million others down through history one day the light came on for this man. The voice and love of God of which he had been heretofore ignorant finally broke through the wall that divided him from his Savior. I wish I had written this song about a man awaking from a living dream to real life in Jesus Christ.

6. Dixie’s Land:Everyone recognizes this familiar tune from the 19th century. This song, credited to Daniel Decatur Emmett (though its authorship has been challenged and debated since it was written), became an anthem of the Southern Confederacy during the War Between the States.

Even if you do not recognize the name you will surely remember the fact that the first measure of “Dixie” was the tune played by the horn of Bo and Luke’s car “The General Lee” on “The Dukes of Hazzard.” I wish I had written this catchy, richly historic tune.

7. On the Brink of It All by Ever Stays Red: My readers know that I am a huge fan of the group Ever Stays Red for their neo-new wave sound and this in my opinion is their best song. It is an anthemic and emotional tune that will move you and groove you. I wish I had written this great pop neo-wave song.

8. Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns n’ Roses: It is a little known fact that when guitarist Slash first came up with the memorable opening riff for this power ballad that he was simply noodling around and was not trying to seriously write anything. In fact he thought the riff sounded hokey and did not like it. The band however thought it was great and wanted to write a song around it. But Slash was no fan.

Unlike the originator of the tune, the music-loving world went bananas for the song and it proved to be one of Gn’R’s biggest hits. Slash is the guitarist that inspired me to play over 15 years ago. I just wish the guy would get saved. I wish I had written this Gn’R hit from their debut album “Appetite for Destruction.”

9. To Hell With the Devil by Stryper: People on both sides of the church doors did not know what to do with this Christian metal band from the 80s. They performed with big hair, loud guitars, makeup, yellow spandex and Bible-tossing antics. They looked like MTV, but their lyrics sounded like TBN.

“To Hell With the Devil” (from the album of the same name) recalled the passage in the book of Revelation which speaks of Satan being cast into the lake of fire. One can not help but get a chuckle from ironic nature of this phrase. Plus its descending metal riff makes it a great song for rocking out in arenas. For its headbanging goodness, I wish I had written this Christian metal classic.

10. Smoke On the Water by Deep Purple: If you play guitar you are probably already humming this in your head and maybe even riffing it on your air guitar. The main riff for Smoke On the Water is typically the first riff any rock guitarist learns. This was certainly the case for me.

There is nothing else particularly special about this song, which describes the catching fire of a venue where a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert was going on. The members of Deep Purple were present when the fire broke out. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore delivers his slick blues lead style as always. I wish I had written the song (or at least the riff) that has been the first learned by millions of rock guitarists.

The Cure for Writer’s Block Is You

You may have noticed the slight drop in the frequency of my writings.  I have been having major writer’s block.  Twitter is partly to blame since it is great for putting out thoughts, impressions, ideas in a quick sort of way so as a result my blog has suffered.  Furthermore I have spent more time on Twitter lately finding folks to follow and reading what they have to say that I have not bothered to write.

I can not say that I have really suffered from writer’s block in the past since usually I have had blog ideas saved up and so when I run out of ideas I put my saved ones out there. That is how the last two-parter about The Music That Made Me came about. I had been sitting on that one for a while.

I am at a point now where I feel I have said all I could say about most of the subjects that interest me. By now everyone knows that I am a Trekkie, love Macs, distrust the federal government, hate taxes, bought a new car, have 4 cats, listen to Christian artists only, consider Back to the Future my favorite movie, and have a particular disdain for MySpace.

So I want you, my readers (if there are still any of you left), to help break my writer’s block curse. What’s something you have always wanted to know about me? Leave a comment letting me know what it is and I will write a blog post about it. It can be something simple like “why don’t you own a dog?” or something grandiose such as “Do you believe God has placed a specific call on your life and if so what is it?” It can even be about a habit of mine that annoys you; I promise not to be offended. Now to keep things fair, you can not use either of the two questions I mentioned above. They have to be original. But if you really want to know the answer to either then let me know I suppose I can try and answer them.

So help a brother out. Leave a comment and get me out of the writer’s block funk (that sounds like a song title).

The Music That Made Me, Part II

In 2000, I was 21 years old. 2000 was an eventful year. First of all Y2K turned out to be a bust (as I knew it would). 2000 is also the year I married Lyndsay. Finally 2000 was the year I stopped listening to secular music. By the way, would 2000 be considered the first year of the 21st century or the last year of the 20th century?

About two months before Lyndsay and I were to be wed (June 25) I had a God moment. In my vocabulary a God moment is one of those times when, regardless of how certain or uncertain you have been in the past about God speaking to you, you know without a shadow of a doubt He is telling you something and you simply can not ignore the fact. I will not run down all of the details but at this point in my life I was extremely down. I was living in Milledgeville (a town I hated) attending a university (that I also grew to hate). Furthermore Lyndsay was an hour and a half away in Warner Robins.

Since being converted in 1999 or so (no, I do not know the exact date) I had discovered Christian music (besides DC Talk) and had begun to listen to it in conjunction with secular music. I would jam out to some Smashing Pumpkins, follow it up with a little Smalltown Poets and finish it all off with Our Lady Peace. But during spring semester 2000 at Georgia College & State University I was hearing God say something that I never wanted to hear but I knew needed to happen.

At the time I had been playing with a Christian band called Mordecai’s Courage and I had already dedicated my music ability to the Lord vowing that I would never play for any reason but Him. But there in my dorm room in 2000 I knew He was taking it to another level: “Turn away from listening to secular music.” As I prayed I began to imagine never listening to the Pumpkins, or Zepplin, or Metallica, or Aerosmith, or Radiohead, or the Beatles ever again. It seemed crazy. How could I turn my back on the music and art that I loved? As I said before, the fact that God was speaking to me was undeniable. I knew right then that if I decided against doing so that I would be walking in disobediance.

Let me pause to say that God does not call every Christian to this. There is a reason for it. Since I was a child music has always played a large part of my life. I form memories as well as moods around music. Certain songs can create deep emotional responses for me. The music I had so loved was important to me because I drew a large part of my identity from it. I still categorize phases and times in my life by the music I listened to at the time. And at that time the music I listened to was quite melancholy at best and nihilistic at worst and I believe that it affected my behavior negatively. However to turn away from the music I had listened to (some of it from my youth) would, in my mind, mean throwing away memories and experiences.

But I did it.

I called Lyndsay to tell her what I was doing. Though music was not as much a part of her as it was for me, she decided to do the same. From that day forward we have not listened to secular music (well, unless you want to count 40’s big band instrumentals which we have on record).

Christian Music Only: The Beginning of Birth Pangs

After the first two weeks I realized that I was not going to be able to get by on Skillet alone. Eventually I embraced more and more Christian groups like Newsboys, PFR, the Supertones, etc. But inevitably I would grow tired of them and long for something different. Something more off the beaten path.

My first exposure to a band that was more than a little out of sync with CCM was when my friend Lance turned me on to Denison Marrs. Their offbeat melancholy shoegazer style and interesting writing caught my attention. In a way they reminded me of the Smashing Pumpkins, though this guy was a much better singer than Billy Corgan, who does the best imitation of a buzzsaw I’ve ever heard. Soon thereafter God gave me a new source of music discovery in the Christian music video channel TVU. Through TVU I discovered a lot of mediocre bands. But I also discovered some real gems, some diamonds in the rough. The first band I saw on TVU that really made an impact was Spoken. I saw the video for their song “Promise” which at first I did not like. When their next album “Last Chance to Breathe” was released I checked it out and ended up purchasing it. The Elms are another favorite that I discovered around this time. Their stripped-down blue collar rock was simple and raw.

During this time I began to scour the internet for new groups. I was able to discover new artists by checking out the bands that were on the same label as or toured with some of the artists I had already discovered. My love for Dead Poetic, The Afters, Spoken, Andy Osenga,Forever Changed,Edison Glass, and the like came about through this type of research. And no, these artists do not always right songs that could double as praise and worship songs but there is an obvious worldview that is like mine expressed in their music and lyrics. And I have come to the place where any time I hear modern rock music I can not help but notice how much more creative “my bands” are. In my opinion, if I went back to listening to secular music there would be few bands who would sound like what I would want to hear.

Finding good bands that have a Christian outlook can be difficult but rest assured there are some artists out there doing some very creative things. In the last year or so I have discovered (or in some cases re-discovered) Ever Stays Red, Starflyer 59, Andrew Peterson, Turn Off the Stars, Future of Forestry, Seabird,and probably a few others I’m forgetting. So if you are yearning for some new music, head to iTunes or Google and begin looking up some of these great artists and pretty soon you will begin to find all kinds of artists you might not have otherwise found.

The Music That Made Me, Part I

The Early Years

My tastes in music are wide and varied. I enjoy well-written piano alt rock as well as a crunchy metal song. At times I can go for high-voiced emo and other days some hard rock with a few screams thrown in for good measure. Then there are days when I just want to hear some weird shoegazing or electronic music.

I have always been this way. When I was a kid in Eastman, GA there was a radio station called 99WAYS that broadcasted out of Macon. Years later the station switched to an oldies format. But back when I remember it, they played modern rock and pop hits. My mom always had the station on when we were in the car. In most cases we lived in the country and so a trip to town would give us a lot of time to hear songs on the radio. Also Eastman had a public manmade lake and on days when we would go swimming my mother would either bring a radio or play the radio from her car. This must have been where I heard most of the music of that era because sometimes I will hear an old song and think of swimming.

Since it was the late 80’s the station played plenty of hair band ballads as well as pop and new wave. It was during this time on 99WAYS that I discovered music by Huey Lewis, John Mellancamp (known then as John Cougar), Flock of Seagulls, Men At Work, Tears for Fears, Mr. Mister, and the Police. I also heard songs by rock bands such as Whitesnake, Slaughter, the Scorpions, and Def Leppard. Usually 99WAYS played their ballads.

Around the time I was in the fifth grade (circa 1990), thanks to a friend of mine, I became interested in rap music. Now there was no gangsta rap. Rap music was still playful and fun. I enjoyed the Fresh Prince, MC Hammer, Young MC, Tone Loc, and yes, Vanilla Ice.

This was a short-lived phase for me because by this time 99WAYS had switched to their oldies format and my mother had changed over to listening to another Macon station, Q106. Q106 was pure rock all the way. Classic, contemporary, hard rock, pop rock, blues, everything. From Q106 I discovered Rush, Lynard Skynard, the Allman Brothers, REO Speedwagon, more Def Leppard, Black Sabbath, Van Halen and some foreign group called Led Zepplin. I literally remember thinking “jeez, every other song they play on here is by this Led Zepplin.” Little did I know that they were rock pioneers. The first time I finally heard Stairway to Heaven my first utterance was “wow.”

We never had cable that often growing up. But at one point we did and that meant MTV. How many remember the image of the astronaut on the moon planting an MTV flag? You’re humming the guitar riff that went with it now aren’t you? Remember MTV News? Downtown Julie Brown? Remote Control?

With MTV it was as if I went from drinking from a musical fountain to a musical firehose. I discovered all types of new music and, better yet, I could see them in action! That’s when I saw a video that would change the direction of my life. The video was for the song called “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns n’ Roses. “Whoa! What’s with the guitar player with the top hat and all the hair? Man, he can really play!”

It was not long before Guns n’ Roses took the hallowed position of “Josh’s Favorite Band.” I wanted to be just like Slash. I wanted to play like him, I wanted a guitar like him, and I wanted to write music like him. About the time of G n’ R’s double album release, Use Your Illusion I and II, I decided to learn to play the guitar.

It also helped that my stepfather at the time was a guitar player. He knew many of the classic riffs that I had been hearing on Q106 and a few of the newer ones that I had heard on MTV. He helped my mother buy a guitar for me and began teaching me the licks he knew. The very first riff I could play on guitar smoothly was “Smoke on the Water.” After learning a few chords I could play “Sweet Home Alabama.” I was hooked. I loved playing guitar.

The Alternative Years

By the time I was in high school grunge and alternative music had taken over. Tough womanizing lead singers were replaced by guys singing about being sad. What they were sad about never seemed to be answered. The guys in the bands were no longer pretty poster boys but were, frankly, kind of ugly. They dressed slouchy and wrote songs that were real and transparent.

I, along with the rest of the rock-loving community, was swept away with the 90’s musical revolution and the Seattle sound. Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, Van Halen, and even Guns n’ Roses no longer mattered to me. Instead I was hooked on Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and of course the Smashing Pumpkins. I first heard the Smashing Pumpkins late one night when I fell asleep with the television on. I woke up to an eerie sound. Realizing it was the music coming from the TV I looked up. The video was for the song “Cherub Rock.” The vocal melody was haunting and the riff (though now it seems simple) was different than anything I had heard. Before long I gave a listen to the entire Pumpkins album. The album “Siamese Dream” caused Gn’R to topple and fall from their pedastal. The Smashing Pumpkins took their place. At one time I knew how to play most, if not all, of Smashing Pumpkins’ songs.

Throughout high school and my first two years of college I listened to alternative and grunge almost exclusively. I also dabbled in metal being a fan of Tool, Helmet, Megadeth, and of course Metallica.

From new wave to hard rock, grunge to metal, the foundations of my musical tastes and musical personality were indeednwide and varied. In Part II I will explain how these artists have affected my current tastes and playing style and also how adding Jesus to the mix brought another revolution in my life.

Harry Reid Says Income Tax Is Voluntary

FYI: Harry Reid is a Democrat and the senior Senator from Nevada and the Senate majority leader.

So tell me again, Mr. Reid, why do we have auditors?  Or the 16th Amendment for that matter? Or prosecutions for tax evasion (Tom Daschle would like to hear the answer to that one)? Or paycheck withholding? And why am I paying for Turbo Tax? Voluntary? I wish.

I believe the good senator was referring to “voluntary compliance” which is really not voluntary. “Dear citizen, will you please volunteer to pay your taxes so we will not have to throw you in jail? Thanks a million.” But as you can see from the video Reid inexplicably takes issue with the “phraseology” used by the interviewer. The interviewer uses the word “forced” to describe how the government collects income taxes. Reid employs a nice little two-step to dance around the issue and attempt (for reasons yet unknown) to explain how the income earners are not really forced by law to pay income taxes.

Whatever you call it, it is out of sync with the original intent of the Congress’s power to levy taxes as described in the Constitution. The original intent prior to the 16th Amendment was for all taxes levied to be apportioned throughout the states. But in 1923 the government gave itself authority to declare a tax on our wages, to declare how much it would take, and to govern what percentage of different individuals’ wages would be taken. It is not fair and the 16th Amendment should be declared unconstitutional. Let your representatives know.

Josh H.

Look at Your W-2: See How Much You Really Have?

You read that right. I am going to say something good about the process of filing your tax return (“this oughta be good!”). There is one advantage to getting that W-2 in the mail—it means that you actually have a job. I thought I should lay down a few reasons to be thankful as we move into the tax season because now that I am starting my income tax return (which usually means I have to pay more money when all is said and done) some angry anti-tax posts can not be far behind. 

1. I consistently complain about my job. However I have heard of so many people who are unemployed. I know first hand that jobs are scarce because I have searched for new jobs and there just are not any that require my skill set and it sounds like many others are in the same predicament.  I am glad to be where I am. Heck! Right now it is good to be anywhere.

2. I consistently complain that I do not feel I get paid enough to justify having gone to college. I do not mean that I would have not gone, but somehow I think I deserve more. The truth is I make pretty dang good money considering what little I do know (did I just hear some “amens”?). Tom DiLorenzo’s book “How Capitalism Saved America” states that we all have different interests and tastes and aspirations. Some workers labor so as to achieve a wealthy lifestyle. Others work simply to provide for themselves with perhaps some nice amenities along the way. In my heart of hearts I tend a little toward the former, but I am grateful to be resting securely in the latter.

3. My job seems to provide less than my ideal amount of income. Then again there are two other factors that I fail to consider: a) my wife also works and brings in a tremendous supplement to my income and 2) our income exceeds our expenses. This means that I am living larger than often think I am.

When I consider that last year I went out to eat innumerable times, bought some great gifts for my wife for her birthday and Christmas, went to Dragon*Con, went to Mississippi, made a trip to Alabama, went camping, bought a Macbook, bought lots of iTunes music and gave a weekly tithe to my church all without starving, then I must admit that I things are not as dire as I am wont to make them out to be.  Does anyone else have this tendency?

Josh H.

Worst Fight Scene of All Time

Hate to say it, but this one is definitely a lame-o. Sorry, Kirk.

Fair Tax Is a Good Start, but Not a Standalone Solution

On July 14, 1999 Representative John Linder (R-GA) first introduced a bill that would spark a major grassroots effort across Georgia and the country and change the way everyday people looked at their paychecks. That bill was dubbed The Fair Tax. To help the Fair Tax gain traction Linder co-authored a best-selling book with radio talk show host and self-proclaimed talkmaster Neal Boortz.

In a nutshell the Fair Tax repeals the sixteenth amendment, abolishes all income taxes and replaces it with a 23% national sales tax. This means that even though sales tax rates across the country will double or triple, the operating expenses and manufacturing expenses that are involved in making goods will drop dramatically due to the removal of taxes in the intermediate processes. A tax will only be collected at the retail level. Furthermore this national sales tax will not apply to the “basic necessities of life” such as food and clothing. So under this system it is conceivable that would might pay no taxes at all if no purchases besides food and clothing are made.

Prior to the sixteenth amendment in 1923, the federal government had twice instituted a temporary income tax: during the War Between the States in 1861 and then again in 1890. But 1923 and the 16th amendment marked the first time that Congress was granted carte blanche to collect income taxes at any time, to any degree, and at any rate without apportioning it among the several states. The original text of the Constitution demands that all taxes be the same throughout the Union and any direct taxes was to be based on population. The sixteenth amendment made taxes on income the only exception to the Constitutional rule.

Despite being quite revolutionary, the Fair Tax is still not without its problems. One of the purposes of the Constitution is to clearly define the role of government in our lives and to limit its scope in order to prevent tyranny and encroachment on personal property rights and liberty. The Constitution accomplishes this task handily whenever it is properly followed. However in the 20th century the United States government has taken on the role of a nanny to a degree that is unmatched by any prior period in U.S. history. The fundamental problem with Linder’s Fair Tax is that it does nothing to curb the overspending and fiscal irresponsibility that currently plagues federal government. The national sales tax simply moves the overreaching power of Congress from one sphere to another. If the taxing power of the government on income is quashed, then, with the current mindset, it will simply extort funds from citizens in other ways. Big government must change the way it thinks and the voters must help it do so by only electing representatives who will tighten the reigns on the federal government and guide it back to strict adherence to the delegated powers enumerated in the Constitution.

Josh H.