Isn’t that Illegal?

Isn’t that Illegal? October 12, 2013


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.

That is the 16th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Our government managed to rattle along without an income tax until this amendment was ratified in 1913. It’s ironic that this particular amendment was placed in the Bill of Rights, since it has become a method of limiting many of the other rights that Americans enjoy.

For instance, our system of jurisprudence is based on the notion that the individual citizen is regarded as innocent until proven guilty. What that means in practice is that the government actually has to prove that someone has broken the law before it can deprive that person of life, liberty or property.

However, the income tax laws turn this completely on its head. The government does not have to prove anything as regards income tax violations. It merely makes the charge and the individual citizen is tasked with proving their innocence. That is what income tax audits are all about. The government is operating on the idea that you are guilty of income tax evasion until and unless you can prove yourself innocent. The topper is that the government can be as invasive and onerous as it wants in these audits.

I know from personal experience that even a one-page tax form concerning employment with regular documented salaries can turn into an audit that costs the tax payer thousands of dollars and ties them up for many months. In other words, the government can audit an individual or a small business into bankruptcy, even if the business or the individual actually can prove that their taxes are clean and the government’s charges are bogus.

The powers granted to the government through its enforcement of the 16th Amendment are draconian enough without the application of political vendettas and personal malice. That’s why there are laws which are supposed to protect us from that sort of thing.

However, as our government veers away from the people, there is less to keep it in check. I’m not sure why a people that blandly accepts the idea that their government is reading their emails and listening in on their phone calls would be surprised to learn that this same government is also abusing the power inherent in the tax codes.

Maybe they’re not surprised.

Maybe it’s just that we the people have been battered so much by these repeating crises that we’ve become somewhat response damaged. Or perhaps we’re getting weary of voting the crooks out of office and then getting another set of crooks just as bad.

How many times have the voters of this country risen up and tossed the bums out?

And how much good has it done us?

That’s because the bums are replaceable by other bums, all of whom are owned and controlled by the same special interests. We can replace the puppets, but we don’t touch the puppet masters.

Maybe this is why there has been so little reaction to the news that the Obama administration exchanged information about people’s tax files with the IRS.

Or maybe people don’t understand that this is probably an illegal activity.

Or maybe people are just too tired to respond.

Which is it, I wonder? Are we losing hope in our ability to make our government respond to us?

Again, I am not sure. What I do know is that each succeeding administration tops the previous one in running over the American people.

From The Daily Caller:

Top Internal Revenue Service Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division, also received an email alongside White House officials that contained confidential information.

Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight.

The emails provided to Oversight investigators by the IRS had numerous redactions with the signifier “6103.”

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code forbids a federal employee from “disclos[ing] any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee.”

Federal employees who illegally disclose confidential taxpayer information could face five years in prison.

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6 responses to “Isn’t that Illegal?”

  1. There are many who do not care if Obama and his administration break the law. I’ve heard people complain that Obama is too constrained by laws; he should be given free rein to just be able to FIX EVERYTHING. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that many people are perfectly content to live under his soft totalitarianism, as long as “their guy” is king (and yes, I agree that previous administrations well began us on this path, but Obama is charging farther ahead in 5 years than the last 10-15 administrations combined).

  2. Obama is sacred. He is, quite literally, the magic negro. America as a whole feels, at some level, an immense burden of guilt from the long and not yet extinguished violation of its first political belief – “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” – with regard to one sixth of its founding population and one tenth of its current one. It is simply a matter of observation that black Americans do not enjoy any of those things to the extent that other Americans do; that their life is frequently extinguished much earlier than the average, that their liberty and right to pursue happiness are constrained an infernal nexus of poverty, ignorance and crime, and that these things tend to remain in place while other ethnic groups, once as despised as them – Irish, Italians, Poles, and now Latinos – rise and prosper. For 300 years, the black man has remained at the bottom of American society; whatever individual blacks might achieve, and, what is more, in spite of the fact that music of black origin has become not only the dominant medium in America but one of the determining American contributions to world culture. Blacks are at once the pariahs and the voice of America. They are downtrodden, but never, ever ignored. The one thing they always have is a voice.

    As a result, there are considerable swathes of American society where anything is felt to be justified by the injustice visited on blacks. And the bizarre thing is that Obama, who does not have one drop of American Black blood in his veins, who is blue-blooded from both sides of his family – the Denhams are Pilgrim Father stock, the Obamas belong to the Muslim merchant elite of coastal East Africa – and both of whose families have owned slaves in their past, gets the advantage of this reservoir of stored guilt. He is elected as the black candidate; he is welcomed and hoorayed as the breaker-down of racial guilt, the unifier, the token of a new and better America; and of course, in this light, pretty much everything he does is justified. Add that to these who feel most strongly this kind of guilt, the Constitution itself is stained by two and a half centuries of race oppression and hypocrisy, and you will see that some people will be not just defensive but satisfied and indeed happy if Obama breaks it. It will be a long time before the weaknesses – if not worse – of this administration are widely acknowledged.

  3. I have another observation, which responds to another point you make. I have a strong feeling, from all the nightmare anecdotes and scandals I get from friends and news sources in the USA, that American public agencies have a strange streak of extremism, fanaticism, and bullying, that leaves an European perception quite astonished. One hears of a dozen armed agents of an environmental agency (!) sent in to shoot one baby deer (!!), and, for that matter, that that deer had been condemned to death for merely administrative reasons (!!!). One hears people who tell you that they would rather trust to the mercy and decency of the Mafia than to that of the child protective agencies. One sees cops violating the household of totally innocent persons and treating them with brutality that an occupying army would not use towards an invaded country, merely in order to have a vantage point for surveillance of a suspect. Or beating up students in a university campus for no reason. And one hears of tax authorities, as you say, using the most brutally aggressive methods – methods European tax ministries with the same powers would only use on millionaire suspects of grand fraud – on inoffensive citizens suspected of a few thousand dollars’ default. And mind you, it’s not that our taxmen are necessarily nicer guys, it’s a cost and benefit calculation. To waste the time of trained men and women on footling tax abuses by citizens too insignificant to steal much ends up costing more than any sum to be regained. An European authority would send a letter, and (if they are not corrupt) focus on the fat profits and the groaning Swiss bank accounts. No matter that an authority so used to brutality for its own sake has so, cheerfully set about supposed political enemies (and since when does a tax authority have political enemies?) in the full knowledge that they would never so treat their friends, and that therefore what they are doing is unfair and illegal.

    This spirit of fanaticism, partisanship, and brutality, brings about a fear and hate of the State that we just don’t have in Europe, even where the State is corrupt, damaging and resented. It explains a lot of the political pecularities of America; and it suggests, by the way, that the problem is not with the income tax. If there was no income tax, there would still be obsessional and tyrannical bureaucracies of this distinctive American kind.

  4. …[Obama] does not have one drop of American Black blood…

    First, Obama is an American. He was born in America. He grew up in America. He experienced the same racism throughout his life that every person of color experiences in America, even those who are born into some level of financial privilege. Every drop of his blood is American.

    Second, even if there are some who might feel ‘white guilt’ regarding Obama that contributes to their support of him, there are also many whose opposition to him is affected by their racism because of the color of his skin.

  5. I think some of the apathy you reference is akin to the reaction of a small person looking at a mountain and feeling that it is too big to conquer. The layer upon layer of bureaucracy which exists beyond those who are subject to being voted out, such as your entrenched “civil servants” who stay, no matter who heads an administration, or those who seem to at most shuffle positions but remain in the power circles… it all seems too massive to fix without basically scrapping the whole leviathan and starting fresh. It leaves many of us angry, frustrated, but beyond trying to vote out the identifiable rats, almost too fatigued to protest anymore. We KNOW we are being watched (maybe not “personally,” but at any moment we could find Uncle Sauron’s eye fixed on US and there’s no escape when electronic monitoring is everywhere), we know that we are subject to the crushing power of the State if someone with the power decides to bring the pain… the same sort of powerless way those of us growing up in the Cold War felt, knowing if the bombs fell we would fry. It robs you of hope, which is perhaps the one thing that could truly motivate the citizenry to unite in trying to undo the trend away from Republic and towards Empire (and a sorry, declining one at that!). 🙁