Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution of the United States:
The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.
Prior to the early 20th century, most federal revenue came from tariffs rather than taxes, although Congress had often imposed excise taxes on various goods. The Revenue Act of 1861 had introduced the first federal income tax, but that tax was repealed in 1872. During the late nineteenth century, various groups, including the Populist Party, favored the establishment of a progressive income tax at the federal level. These groups believed that tariffs unfairly taxed the poor, and they favored using the income tax to shift the tax burden onto wealthier individuals.
"In 1909, during the debate over the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act, Congress proposed the Sixteenth Amendment to the states. Though conservative Republican leaders had initially expected that the amendment would not be ratified, a coalition of Democrats, progressive Republicans, and other groups ensured that the necessary number of states ratified the amendment. Shortly after the amendment was ratified, Congress imposed a federal income tax with the Revenue Act of 1913. The Supreme Court upheld that income tax in the 1916 case of Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., and the federal government has continued to levy an income tax since 1913."
The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Nowhere in the primary or rudimentary materials one might research and review on the question, does the notion that taxes are a form of punishment appear.
Nor is the idea expressed in any indirect or subtle manner...
In our system, taxation is not punishment or punitive in imposition or collection.
Taxation in a Democracy should be a manifestation of the egalitarian impulse upon which the Democratic paradigm rests.
So-called free market capitalists see taxes as a cost of doing business that should be reduced or mitigated at every turn and completely eliminated when and where possible.
Taxation is the fault line that runs between Democracy and Capitalism.
The narrative that suggests that taxing wealthy individuals and corporations is punitive is hypocritical and disingenuous at best.
At worst, the notion that taxation is punishment is an outright lie....