The ninth amendment to the Constitution of the United States says that any powers not given to the federal government by the constitution are instead given to the states. This is a fairly straightforward amendment, and embodies one of the key points of federalism, separation of power between the national and local governments. Along these lines, it also limits the power of the federal government, something that the founding fathers were very concerned with. Recently, though, this limit has been softened some. FDR’s New Deal gave the federal government much more power than strictly allowed by this amendment, and since then this power has been slowly expanding even more. Today there is debate over whether we should be limiting the government more strictly to the constitution or whether the loose interpretation brought about by Roosevelt is acceptable.
The sixteenth amendment states that the federal government has the right to level an income tax on citizens. Prior to this amendment there was no reliable source of income for the federal government. For the most part, people don’t like taxes, but the fact that there should be some taxes is nearly indisputable. Beyond this, the American tax system is a fair one. The fact that it is a percentage of one’s income means that those with less will not be overly hindered by their taxes. The different tax brackets further help this, making those who make more money pay more money. This is mitigated by the highest tax bracket being less than 100%. This means that no matter how much you make there is always incentive to make more. Modern arguments about taxes usually have to do with what conditions there should be tax exceptions for, such as religious houses being tax free property, or whether the tax brackets should be changed.
If I were to put forth a new amendment, it would be an extension of the suffrage amendments. Currently the fifteenth and nineteenth prohibit denial of suffrage based on sex or race. What I think we need, though, is to define what you can deny voting for, rather than what we can’t. For example, we can deny people the right to vote based on whether or not they are a citizen, or whether they are a criminal. Though this is not currently an issue that needs addressing, nobody is attempting to deny people voting rights on a trait because it is not protected, they very well could, and a preventative amendment could be useful.