The deadliest tool of the tyrant 0

A libertarian’s wish list: small government; no welfare; simple tax laws; a low flat rate of income tax; no capital gains tax; no estate tax.

But what America has is big government getting bigger, more intrusive, more controlling. The main instrument of its tyranny is the IRS, which the socialist regime is making ever more powerful.

This IBD editorial announces that within three years it will be illegal for anyone to help you prepare your taxes unless that person has been licensed by the federal government.

As if the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t have enough power, the agency says it will regulate tax preparers. And ObamaCare gives it even more clout.

Eric Hoffer, the great working class scourge of statist power, noted in his 1955 book, “The Passionate State of Mind,” that “There is a large measure of totalitarianism even in the freest of free societies.”

In America, the power to tax has always been recognized as the deadliest tool of the tyrant. Edmund Burke, the great British parliamentarian, in 1775 said the American colonies’ “love of liberty” was “fixed and attached on this specific point of taxing.”

According to this early sympathizer to the American cause, “Liberty might be safe or might be endangered in twenty other particulars without their being much pleased or alarmed.” But on taxes, “Here they felt its pulse, and as they found that beat they thought themselves sick or sound.”

Considering Americans’ innate sense of the relationship between taxation and freedom, it’s startling to read international taxation expert and legal historian Charles Adams’ account of the evolution of income tax collection.

As Adams points out in his history of taxes from antiquity to the modern era, “For Good and Evil,” “in the tax system of the 1950s no bank informed the IRS about customers’ affairs. Interest was not reported, withdrawals of cash were not reported” and neither were real estate sales, stock and dividend transactions, nor independent work now required by the 1099 form.

“Only wages were reported,” Adams points out, “and that was for the taxpayer’s benefit in order to claim a refund.” An IRS official would routinely “begin an audit with the comment that ours was an honor system, which is required in a free society.”

The honor is long gone — because the American people have felt the system’s pulse, diagnosing it sick as massive government wields illegitimate powers.

Enter IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, who announced Monday that within three years it will cease being legal to have your taxes prepared by someone unlicensed by the federal government.

This comes when the Democrats’ health reform will be giving the IRS unprecedented new powers, such as judging which health plans are legal and tracking down those who try going without health coverage.

Most of us want to believe we enjoy the freest free society in history. But why is it that while we want the tax collector to have less power, the march of time always seems to give him more?