Every now and again, one hears of people being interviewed who believe federal income taxes are constitutionally invalid, and, as a result, they refuse to pay them. My first thought is usually "have fun in prison," but recent statements and proposals from some of our politicians have led me to believe that this is a cause worth fighting for.
Enter Ed Brown and Elaine Brown, New Hampshire residents who don't believe in paying income taxes. As a result, the Browns have been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison and ordered to pay more than $200,000 after being convicted of tax evasion and are now holed up in their home, complete with solar and wind power. So far, Al Gore has offered no defense of the carbon offset to his mansions and heated pools. Federal authorities now have their property surrounded, and the standoff could last indefinitelyending much sooner if the Clintons are elected and put Janet Reno back in the Attorney General's office. CBS News reports that federal authorities have "cut phone, power and Internet service at the fortified compound" of the couple.
The terms "fortified compound" and "tax evasion" usually seem to go hand-in-hand in stories such as these. "Fortified compound" is a term applied by the government for psychological reasons that is repeated by the media out of psychiatric reflex. The government has trillions of dollars, tanks and armies of heavily armed individuals at their disposal. Our politicians have access to around the clock protection and bunkers that can withstand a direct nuclear strike. Not only that, but try running into any mainstream media building in New York or Los Angeles without being tackled by armed guards and tasered until your nose gives off a 75-watt glow.
But a married couple who lives in a six-bedroom colonial that might have an extra bolt on the door are the ones who the government and media says have a "fortified compound." The government and media parrot terms such as "fortress-like home" to imply paranoia, which implies mental illness, which implies there's a good reason for the government to move in and save the "fortified compound" dwellers from themselves and the rest of us.
What's gone wrong?
Taxes weren't always such a treacherous undertaking. For a long time, this country was run on very limited funds. Up until the early 1800s, the government was run purely on internal sales taxes and revenue from a gigantic powdered wig closeout sale. Then, in 1817, the government got rid of internal taxes and functioned completely on tariffs on imported goods. Can you imagine running the bloated monster of a federal government we have today solely on the 4 percent we'd get from taxes imposed on imports of running shoes and plastic novelty poop? We were created with the ability to create. All this is evidenced in the brilliance of many of our finest moments, from medicine to art to sciencebut that all came to an end with the adoption of the 16th Amendment in 1913. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations. At that point, all the creative energy that would have gone into curing disease, designing grand buildings, creating art and music and exploring the farthest reaches of the universe now goes into trying to figure out a way to write off our lawnmower as a dependent or simply to hide out in a "fortified compound" in New Hampshire waiting for the tear gas to come flying through the window.
Here's what is really irksome about Ed and Elaine Brown's situation. They are legal American citizens surrounded by their own government. In the meantime, many members of Congress, along with President Bush, are pushing to legalize 12 million "undocumented workers" (the artist formerly known as "illegal aliens") while forgiving them any back taxes owed, along with any IRS fines.
Ed and Elaine Brown should renounce their citizenship, declare themselves "undocumented workers" and then push for the passage of an immigration "reform" bill. Their tax problem would be solved, and they'd be free. Maybe we should all do this.
Until American citizens are afforded at least the same rights and privileges that our politicians seek for illegal aliens, the government must free Ed and Elaine Brown!
Now if you don't mind, I have to run along and repair the screen door on my "fortified compound."