Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Whose Water Is This?

Sometimes the Commercial Appeal can be so opaque you are left to wonder at what's really going on. Take, for example, this story today about FedEx pilot Vernice Kuglin. The first CA story on her acquittal on Federal charges of tax evasion barely made a short, short article, light on details, deep in the Metro section even though it was a stunning, unexpected success.

Now, weeks later we get another, longer story with more detail. What sparked the renewed interest? Maybe it was:
She was deluged with congratulatory E-mails from fellow tax protesters and requests from reporters for interviews. Her story appeared in The New York Times and she appeared on national television.
They had a story and didn't even know it! Or they thought they were doing the right thing by playing it down and got caught when others took it up. Who knows?

Not only that, but look at how they treat the two parties here. My, my, my. Can you detect a little "law and order" bias here? A bit of "slag the nutty victim?" The paper repeatedly slams home the message that the IRS will get you one way or another.

I'll admit to my own bias here. Have you ever read the history of the income tax in this country? It's explicitly banned in the Constitution, as the Founding Fathers thought it the most evil and onerous of taxes. They preferred taxes on import/export and trade, as they are voluntary to some extent. Income taxes were thought to be a gross over-reach of the powers of the Federal government. They always intended a small Federal branch and tariffs could fund that.

It took decades of failed efforts by Congresses and Presidents to get an income tax because one Supreme Court after another ruled against it. Presidents stacking the Supreme Court eventually led to a more pliable Court, but even then it took a decade more for the legislation to go through. There's even obscure controversy over whether an actual majority of States ratified it!

The first income tax was for funding our World War One involvement, and was only intended to affect the top one-tenth of one percent of Americans. It's snowballed ever since and the government has ballooned along with it. More than three-fourths of taxes taken in today fund social and entitlement programs, not defense or trade regulation.

Kuglin won because the IRS lost their case. As one juror noted, "They didn't prove their case." Kuglin had written several letters to the IRS asking them to show her the law requiring her to pay taxes, which they ignored. This was brought out in her case. All the IRS had to do was say, "She violated Title X, Section X, Paragraph X of the Federal Code." and she would have lost. But they didn't do that. Why?

Well, it turns out there is no law requiring you to pay the income tax. There are, however, a bunch of laws making crimes of everything to do with not paying, or not filing forms, or filing non-payment forms honestly. It's strange.

And that's where I'll drop this. I'm not going to make a hobby horse of this, so don't you try, either. I always pay my income taxes, because I can't survive the Federal government making an example of me. That's where I'll stop.

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