Sunday, April 10, 2005

Eternal Vigilance

If there is anything antithetical to the ideals that this country was founded on and to the Constitution itself, it is the way that the income tax is enforced in this country. This week, millions of Americans will send to the federal government their tax returns. These returns contain information that reveal to the government the most intimate details of its citizens. Everything that is put onto these returns can be used against you in the criminal and civil sense. Information gleaned from these tax returns can and have been used to intimidate, blackmail, and ruin people. Demonstrations have shown professional tax preparers given the same conditions in which to prepare a return, can come up with different tax liabilities. The tax system is a mess, and it gets worse.

What has this income tax created? A multimillion dollar industry for tax lawyers, tax accountants, and tax preparation services. A government bureacracy that continues to grow (when government spending grows less than the rate of inflation its considered a good thing). An intrusive, abusive, and out of control Internal Revenue Service that uses as its primary weapon not "due process" or the law, but intimidation, and the ignorance of its citizens to perform its function.

Now, America is a great country, the freedoms that we have in this country are unheard of in some parts of the world. I distinctly remember asking my mother, when I was a child (she lived under a dictatorial regime) "Why couldn't you vote the way you wanted to?" "Soldiers would stand there to ensure you voted properly"!!!??? And she came from a somewhat privileged background. Well, I didn't understand what she meant when I asked her at the time, the subtlety was lost on me. But now, I have a greater appreciation for what my parents went through to get to this country. I also understand that a stand must be taken to keep our country free. (Some would say all hope is gone)

But is this country as great as it once was? No, it is not, the United States at one time was the worlds greatest creditor nation, today it is the world's greatest debtor nation. We function and our economy is considered growing when we consume (which is ridiculous on its face, assets cannot be accumulated when you have liabilities that outpace them). Right now, our government spends money like a once prominent family trying to keep up its "airs". As sure as the sun will rise, there will be a day of reckoning. President Bush sees it and to his credit he has tried to bring the spotlight on it with attempting to reform Social Security and the income tax code. At the same time, the spending that has occurred under is Administration is out of control. Look at Medicare, the Department of Education, any other "social program" you can name.

Whatever reforms that do happen are probably going to do nothing more than kick the can down the road so to speak. It is going to take something major that really hits home for most of our citizens to realize the dire economic straits we are in. It could be that all of these countries that buy US Bonds stop buying them. Or, the government might default on its payment to the national debt. Or, we go into a depression that is even greater than the "Great Depression" or all of the above.

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