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Saturday, March 12, 2005

National Day of Mourning

April 15 approaches For years, excepting only last year—in a private show of support for proper use of tax monies in legitimate Constitutional efforts to promote national security—I have grown a beard and shaved it on April 15, as a mark of my own self-proclaimed "National Day of Mourning." The reason is obvious: there is so much wrong about the intent, structure, function and purpose[s] of Federal income taxes and the IRS, that April 15 has become a symbol, in my mind at least, of most of what is wrong about our once-federal (but now almost imperial) system of government. And so I mourn for a Constitution—and system of government—that was designed by our Founders to protect liberty but which is now mostly honored in name only. Of course—and here I wander into what the current state of revisionist history and polular memes would consider historical heresy—April 15 also ironically marks the death of the first American president to frog-march a federal income tax through Congress. Abraham Lincoln so severely trampled the letter and spirit of the Constitution during his reign that he really ought to be "honored" as the first American emperor... *sigh* Kill the Constitution to save the republic... A "republic" become less, as a result of his actions, in the model the Founders and framers envisioned than like it. What a concept. *profound sigh* And yet, that's not the worst of it. The arcane tax laws and extra-legal regulations administered by the IRS are so convoluted and confusing (even to so-called tax professionals) that they make criminals of us all, regardless of our desire to be law-abiding and completely up-front with the IRS. I know I wrack my brains every year to make sure I answer each and every "interview" question in my tax software as accurately and completely as possible, and yet, I always have a nagging doubt that I got it right. And that's exactly the dividing line between the citizens of the Republic that once was and the empire America is becoming: No longer can we as soi dissant citizens understand or comply with the plethora of laws (not just tax laws, mind you) spewing from that cesspool in D.C. Does that sound a bit harsh? How about this sentence from The Declaration of Independence referring to one of George's abuses:
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
Sounds like our congresscritters and their minions in the civil service have been going to school on boy George's methods of governamce, doesn't it? (And maybe even done George one or two "better" with such as the Thousands Standing Around bunch of morons.) Just take a moment and read the Declaration, would you? Don't linger too long over the stirring and poetic intro, read and re-read the "long train of abuses" and see just how many are eerily similar to the behavior of the feds today. OK. I've finished doing my taxes again this year. I hope (almost against hope) that I dotted all the "i"s and crossed all the "t"s and that I understood the different payments and deductions correctly and noted them in the correct places on the forms. But the point is, even if I were audited, and even if I were to have a tax "professional" along with me, how could I know I had done right? I can't. And protestations of tax professionals and auditors notwithstanding, they don't know, either, because the tax code is too huge, too arcane and too absolutely and inexcusably obscurantist for anyone to know. Read this. last August, Neal Boortz summed up a tax plan then being floated by Dennis Hastert (among others) that would, in my estimation, solve most of the woes, inequities and downright illegitimacies of the current federal tax code: a national sales tax instead of a national income tax. Read the article. If it makes sense to you, contact Hastert, your own congresscritters (representative and senators) and the White House. If it makes sense to you, blog it. "Email log" it, too. Write letters. Phone congresscritters, White House, old media. Someone, somewhere, sometime needs to put a stake in the heart of the Irredeemably Raunchy Scum and hang the corpse at the crossroads of America to warn off other such monsters. I'd like to sleep well at night KNOWING I'd paid my fair share of taxes for proper federal (and state and local) governance, but the current system leaves me with that neverending, nagging question: Did i get it all right? (Oh, and Intuit certainly messed with my mind this year, something I'll hold them accountable for... )