The other day I was watching a show on extreme tax protesters, specifically those who believe the entire income tax system to be illegal and thus they actually owe no taxes.
While I am sympathetic to issues folks have with taxation, from a legal and Constitutional perspective the income tax actually comes from a better, almost more quaint time. Why? Because instead of dealing with the Constitutional problems with the income tax by having a series of judges stare at the Constitution with their eyes crossed until the problem disappears, they actually wrote and passed a freaking Constitutional amendment. Granted that the amendment was passed under false pretexts (e.g. that the tax would never apply to more than the top 1% of earners or earners with less than $1 million in income). But they sought an amendment. The took the wording of the Constitution seriously.
In fact, the 18th Amendment (prohibition) and the 21st Amendment (its repeal) were the last times the Constitution has been amended to give or take away Federal powers (everything since has been related to voting and elections). Ever since 1933, we have effectively added non-enumerated powers by essentially ignoring the Constitution, such amendment process being seen as too much of a hassle to stand in the way of critical regulations on seat belts or marijuana.
Everyone knows it took a Constitutional Amendment to get alcohol prohibition, but think about this in today's world. Would we even bother? No way! Congress has taken on the power to regulate or prohibit just about anything it wants by stretching the commerce clause form its original meaning of preventing states from setting up barriers to interstate trade to an all-encompassing power of fiat to do anything Congress freaking wants.
My kids and I were watching 2081, the excellent short movie based on the Vonnegut short story "Harrison Bergerson." That story posits a government department of handicapping that solves the inequality issue once and for all by handicapping the most able down to some lowest common denominator.
Anyway, the intro to the movie said it was based on something like the 280th amendment to the Constitution. But I don't think we are ever going to get that high. Certainly those who want more government power don't need any more amendments, as the Constitution is no longer constraining in the least and an increasing number of the Bill of Rights are either bad jokes (9,10) or are being gutted as we speak (2,4).
I don't expect another Amendment in my lifetime. The only way I think we will see one is if we get some sort of libertarian revolution, and the only Amendment we would need would be the one saying "Look, we were't freaking kidding in the 10th amendment, go read it again." OK, maybe some clarity on the commerce clause would be good as well.
I am not a big fan of the income tax, or of Prohibition, but it was a better world when we knew we had to at least amend the Constitution to do these things because we took the enumerated powers seriously.