The Power to Tax


“The power to tax is the one great power upon which the whole national fabric is based. It is as necessary to the existence and prosperity of a nation as is the air he breathes to the natural man. It is not only the power to destroy, but it is also the power to keep alive.” 

Nicol v. Ames, 173 U.S. 509, 515 (1898)(Peckham).


“That the power to tax involves the power to destroy; that the power to destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create; . . . . Taxation, it is said, does not necessarily and unavoidably destroy. To carry it to the excess of destruction would be an abuse, to presume which would banish that confidence which is essential to all Government.”

McCulloch v. Maryland 17 U.S. 316, 431 (1819) (Marshall).