Prisons

An Income Tax Bloodbath A-Brewing?

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In New Hampshire, a couple who believes they have no legal obligation to pay income tax is convicted; the wife Elaine Brown is in custody, while husband Ed Brown, with "25 armed supporters," barricades himself in their Plainfield home:

Brown, in a phone interview with The Associated Press, quoted Revolutionary War figure John Stark.

"Live free or die," he said. "What else can I say?"

Brown said he expected federal agents to swarm his property soon.

"My life is destroyed, what more can I say?" Brown said in a brief interview. "I lost my wife and she lost her business."

Brown warned he would not surrender to authorities.

"The verdict is in. I can guarantee you all hell's going to break loose," Brown said earlier in an interview with WNTK-FM in New London. "It's all bogus charges. None of these charges are lawful."

For now, at least, "marshals say they have no plans to raid the site."

My 2004 Reason feature story on the "we have no legal obligation to pay income tax" movement here.

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  1. Boy, is he gonna be puzzled when he sends off to the Big City for some help in writing the new national anthemn for Freedonia and some fancy lad shows up with a Casio keyboard.

    Get off my land!

    HBO – Hewbrew Box Office!

    etc.

  2. Paging Janet Reno.

  3. Regardless of whether they’re legally right, it’s stupid to launch an armed rebellion that is doomed to failure.

    His death would accomplish nothing (except show some people the government’s brutality) and would convince nobody of the correctness of his position. If they starve him out instead of storming the place, he will have accomplished absolutely nothing.

    Remember, the American Revolution began when the British raided the houses of members of the Continental Congress, not the One Random Guy Congress.

  4. I pay taxes to stay out of jail. I think this is true for everyone else in the USA as well.

  5. Is this one of those crazy Pree State Project kooks?

  6. Pee State/Free State

  7. Here’s what I don’t get about these guys. Let’s say hypothetically that they convince the Supreme Court that they were right all along, that there is no legal obligation to pay the income tax. Wouldn’t Congress just come out the next day and close whatever legal loophole they found? Then everyone would go back to paying the income tax again. I just don’t see any possible scenario where these kinds of protests actually lead to the end of the IRS. Am I missing something?

  8. It’s sad, these guys and the lack of logic behind their actions.

    Paying taxes to avoid jail may suck…but jail, death, harrasment, abuse and ruined lives suck worse.

    There’s fighting for principle and then there’s being an asshole.

  9. I’ve heard that Pee State has a really excellent watersports program.

  10. Maybe the attorney general will act on rumors that they are molesting children in the house and send in a tank and tear gas and burn them all to death? That is how it ended the last time some anti-government types were in a stand off.

  11. So the feds storm in, kill all, and gun control advocates respond with “See! why bother with owning guns – the feds will always win a gun battle anyways” reason for banishment.

  12. what are the legal merits of their case (if any)?

  13. The folks that think that individuals can take armed action agaisnt the govt and win are at best wrong. Those that actually try it are at best delusional, and likely suicidal.

    As much as I think it is time for a new revolution, that will not occur untill there is organized governemntal leadership for it. Either state against fed or local against state, etc.

    A few loners grouping together ala the Montana Militia or the Rep. of Texas idiots just end up getting dead or imprisoned.

  14. Here’s one time when I’m rooting for the government. Freeloaders like Ed Brown want to enjoy the benefits of America while honest citizens pay the costs.

    Don’t confuse cynical selfishness with principle, folks.

  15. No need to go after him. Wait until he has to go get food, arrest him and be done with it.

  16. “Here’s one time when I’m rooting for the government. Freeloaders like Ed Brown want to enjoy the benefits of America while honest citizens pay the costs.”

    What you mean like a professed anachist who calls the cops when somone robs his house? I bet a $100 that at least one of these clowns has called some government agency somewhere at one time or another to complain about the quality of service they got.

  17. I used to live in New Hampshire, where they like to spout “Live Free or Die.” Of course, they value their prejudices more — the majority are, for example, against same-sex marriage. It seems only some people there deserve freedom, despite the slogan.

  18. Sic semper deadbeats.

  19. Y’know, “live free or die” is consistent with the police storming his house. He’ll have lived free, and then died.

    He’s still a cuntbagel.

  20. I think the merits of this case are that the IRS 1040 forms have no OMB designation numbers as they are required to. This theoretically makes the form void. The 1040 forms have not had these required designation #’s for about 20 years. Lets say the guy wins the case over this issue. Then the govt. IRS puts the designation #’s on the forms to comply for the future. They still owe everyone a tax refund for all those undesignated 1040’s that were filed. Yeah, that will happen. Its just easier to send in tanks and troops and be done with it.

  21. And people say I’m a nutcase when I point out that the government will kill you for not paying your taxes if you push it far enough. As Williams pointed out, that usually happens when they come to seize your property and you won’t let them have it.

    Wouldn’t Congress just come out the next day and close whatever legal loophole they found?

    Brian24, that’s exactly right. One of those technicalities. It don’t matter a fig whether Ohio is really in the Union. IRS has an entire doctrine that they apply to any kind of arrangement, business or otherwise, that is put together with the primary purpose of tax avoidance. It’s called substance v form.

  22. Well, I see the guy as a true patriot. You can’t consider yourself a free citizen with the income tax and the IRS they way they are now.

    The man is right and has the guts to stand for principle.

  23. Brian24, that’s exactly right. One of those technicalities. It don’t matter a fig whether Ohio is really in the Union. IRS has an entire doctrine that they apply to any kind of arrangement, business or otherwise, that is put together with the primary purpose of tax avoidance. It’s called substance v form.

    Gosh, I have read some things about tax shelters, but I never knew this. Somebody get word down to the Caymans!

    I don’t know that the argument about the OMB numbers should ultimately prevail, but I would hardly call that argument “an arrangement, business or otherwise.” I mean the nutjob in this case presumably did not “arrange” for the government to fail to meet that putative requirement.

  24. Kwais, you can’t consider yourself a free citizen for any number of different reasons including the IRS and the tax system.

    I’m not convinced the guy is standing on principle although he certainly is gutsy.

    If you want to take a stand against the income tax on a moral basis that’s fine but then you should do just that rather than basing your resistance on a technicality that may or may not be real.

    I want to hear him say:

    The government doesn’t have the moral right to take money by force, without my permission, to spend on something I don’t approve of.

    But what I hear him saying is:

    Income tax isn’t legal and I won’t pay it.

    Which brings the obvious question to mind.

    So, if income tax IS legal that makes it okay?

  25. From the 2004 Doherty article:

    He’s been married for 38 years to the same woman, and he has four children of whom he is quite proud. Yet when his kids begged him to reconsider the path that requires him to declare publicly that he won’t go to jail, his wife Judy told them, “Your father put his country before his family, and I support him.”

    Anyone that makes a statement like that is worth no support at all. The country is never more important than your family, especially never more important than your children. My wife (who is completely apolitical) and I have agreed, for example, that if the U.S. ever re-institutes the draft, we’re leaving. Probably to Canada. Yup, it’s basically a socialist country (but what country isn’t these days), but they will not enslave my children.

  26. Where does all this taxing end? They already get 50% of our money. And what are we paying for? So the Decider can f**k us over and eliminate our rights. But of course the neo con-men won’t take our guns away, but they will take everything else.

  27. Oh, and Kwais, please don’t mistake my comments for agreement with any of the HARSH comments left earlier in the thread. I swear, sometimes I have to double check the address bar to make sure I am at a libertarian site.

    One of the fundamental tenets of libertarianism is that taxation is theft. I look at it just the same as protection money paid to Tony Soprano. I give them what they want, they leave me and my family alone. Or at least we hope they do.

    Life is fleeting. It’s a lot more fleeting when you’re a tax protester.

  28. David, that quote doesn’t seem to make sense to me. If the guy is putting his country before his family, why doesn’t he just pay the taxes? Or take his punishment? Maybe I’m missing something.

  29. Sam Franklin —

    As near as I have been able to tell, there are no legal merits to the tax resistors’ claims. There may be moral merit to them, but typically, the tax resistors are protesting neither the idea of income taxation, nor the actual uses to which the collected funds would be put if they paid them. Instead, they rely on very poorly thought out legalistic arguments.

  30. Okay, I re-read the article, I get it now. I even understand the emotions behind the stance. I may even have to modify some of my previous statements where I disagreed with Kwais.

  31. “One of the fundamental tenets of libertarianism is that taxation is theft.”

    Why does libertarianism have to be anachism? I don’t like taxes and think they are too high, but I like having a police department and knowing that the country is not going to be invaded anytime soon. I also like knowing that we have a legal system that protects property rights and gives people the certainty to allow them to invest. There are legitimate functions for government. Those functions don’t come for free. I don’t see how libertarianism means an objection to all taxes in principle.

  32. As near as I have been able to tell, there are no legal merits to the tax resistors’ claims. There may be moral merit to them, but typically, the tax resistors are protesting neither the idea of income taxation, nor the actual uses to which the collected funds would be put if they paid them. Instead, they rely on very poorly thought out legalistic arguments.

    That has been my general impression.

    However, when somebody offers to die for something and seems to mean it, I am willing to revisit sensibe prejudices, even if only for a minute or 2.

  33. TWC – apparently supporting your country means going to jail when you think you’re in the right and the lawmen with the guns are wrong. Either way though, placing your country before your children is just insupportable.

  34. “Why does libertarianism have to be anachism?”

    the general short answer is that limited government is a hopeless principle that is defeated by the very nature of political power.

  35. “Either way though, placing your country before your children is just insupportable.”

    That is not true. Maybe you care more about your children’s future and want them to grow up in a better country? If the choice is stay home and let the Nazis overrun the country or go to war and die stopping them, I dont’ think staying home is doing much for your children. The better way to put it is, “putting your desire to die making a completely futile gesture against the government before your children is just unsupportable.”

  36. “the general short answer is that limited government is a hopeless principle that is defeated by the very nature of political power.”

    DHex,

    There are a few places in the world where there is no government, but I bet you wouldn’t want to live there.

  37. john,

    the Nazis have already overun the country

  38. In New Hampshire, a couple who believes they have no legal obligation to pay income tax is convicted; the wife Elaine Brown is in custody, while husband Ed Brown, with “25 armed supporters,” barricades himself in their Plainfield home:

    Duh!
    The income tax is law. The income tax is constitutional. If you really have a problem with that, work to amend the constitution.

  39. John,

    No contradiction there. Any action that helps your children is supportable. However, going toe to toe with Tony Soprano so your children won’t have to pay him a percentage of their take is just foolishness bordering on criminal negligence.

  40. However, going toe to toe with Tony Soprano so your children won’t have to pay him a percentage of their take is just foolishness bordering on criminal negligence.

    Of course, its also the right thing to do.

    Seriously, when did it become wrong to place yourself at risk to oppose criminals?

  41. I’ve never payed close attention to these guys, but I think one of the arguments put forth by the tax protester movement is the amendment in question (number escapes my addled mind) was not passed in a way that adhered to the procedure outlined in the Constitution; something about some states not approving it in time, or something.

    I have always thought this doubtful, without looking into it. In any case, I’ll give credit to those who supported the income tax early in the 20th century for at least going to the bother of having an amendment passed, compared to what became commonplace from FDR on, which was to have Congress and the Executive conspire to engage in all manner of extra-constitutional activities without availing themselves of the amendment process.

    Not for the first time, I think that if social conservatives who are also principled federalists exist, I’d be happy to overlook my differences with them and join them in a coalition. With each passing year, however, I become more convinced that such an animal has become extinct.

  42. “There are a few places in the world where there is no government, but I bet you wouldn’t want to live there.”

    john, this is true. but you asked why some people would say minarchism is unsupportable, and that’s the answer they would give.

    seriously, not everything needs to be a dick-waving ad hominem fest.

  43. “john, this is true. but you asked why some people would say minarchism is unsupportable, and that’s the answer they would give.

    seriously, not everything needs to be a dick-waving ad hominem fest.”

    I wasn’t tying to engage in hyperbole. Seriously. I wouldn’t want to live in a country without a government. They are a necessary evil. I don’t see how you can seriously argue that it is best not the have any form of government.

  44. To those of you who support someone taking extreme action for a just cause, have you read Michael Kolhaas, by Kleist? Written more than 200 years ago, to me it is the last word on the subject.

  45. What kind of business did Elaine Brown operate? Does anyone know? Sadly, but the cost to citizens of having businesses to provide their needs is called infrastructure, which is paid for by taxes. If people can’t grow their own vegetables, and raise their own cattle, they must rely on someone else(gov’t) to regulate, inspect, and provide means of delivery for such.(not to mention all the garbage Americans don’t need being trucked all over Interstate highways and delivered to God-knows-what-subdivision). And…why all the fear of anarchism? Where governments are involved, there is a constant state of strife and paranoia, but in the devestated aftermath of the municipalities of Gulf states after Katrina, the government was immobilized and unable to do anything for it’s constituents. The people, in violation of the law, fed, clothed, and administered health care for each other, against all threats of legal action by the state. Lawlessness? Anarchy? Maybe people have been sucking on the gov. tit too long to believe they could ever exist responsibly with just each other, instead of worshipping in this fear-mongering, keep-on-shopping-or-the-(fill in the blank)’s-gonna get-you, mindless cult. Screw your big brother.

  46. Seriously, when did it become wrong to place yourself at risk to oppose criminals?

    When the risk/reward ratio is 1:0, the act in question is kinda dumb even when it’s the morally right thing to do. All the more so when the act involves firearms.

  47. *reads up*

    Wait, wait, I’m not the same David who made the Tony Soprano analogy. Geez, I need a better handle.

  48. “but in the devestated aftermath of the municipalities of Gulf states after Katrina, the government was immobilized and unable to do anything for it’s constituents. The people, in violation of the law, fed, clothed, and administered health care for each other, against all threats of legal action by the state. Lawlessness? Anarchy?”

    In some places yes there were nice things done. In others there were murders looting and anarchy. Further, it was only a few days before the National Guard and the Army showed up. Would all of that wonderful selfless helping have continued for weeks and months if no central authority ever showed up or would the areas of anarchy and murder just started to spread to the safer areas, causing those in safer areas to take up arms to defend themselves? In short, give it a few months and you get Somalia.

  49. compared to what became commonplace from FDR on, which was to have Congress and the Executive conspire to engage in all manner of extra-constitutional activities without availing themselves of the amendment process.

    In the case of income tax, I think similar things may have been tried for decades and decades b4 they resorted to the amendment process.

  50. Wait, wait, I’m not the same David who made the Tony Soprano analogy. Geez, I need a better handle.

    There are entirely too many Davids around here.

  51. I understand that there was no income tax until 1862. And then it was set up to pay for the Civil War (which some would say was an illegal war).
    The government made due without an income tax until 1862 and IMO a Federal Government that obeyed the Constitution could make due today as well.

  52. Grumpy Realist stopping by to paste in his usual “Oh boy, those wacky libertarians with their ‘taxation is theft’ meme, no wonder everyone thinks you guys are idiots” post in 3, 2, 1 …

    I haven’t had time to read the thread yet, but I see that anarchy has been mentioned and that Somalia has also, probably by people not realizing that (1) the entire country is not as bad as what you see in the news, and (2) most of Somalia’s troubles are not due to lack of government, but to thugs trying to become the government, and interference by foreign governments.

    An assessment from a guy who went there:
    http://www.libertariannation.org/a/n030d1.html (Note: Davidson doesn’t like to use the term “anarchy” for the lack of a state because the uninformed assume it means chaos.) Google +somalia +”jim davidson” for more.

    Or, heck, just check out the links here.

  53. As I have said many many times before, there ain’t no place in the world where you aren’t paying taxes. Either it’s tax to the gov’t, or it’s protection money to the Mafia. Take your pick.

    And I suggest people go live in Baghdad or Somalia for a while if they think that anarchic societies are way cool. Does anyone with a lick of sense think that you are ever going to get an high-tech economy going in a Mad Max environment? But then, maybe you guys don’t need light bulbs and doctors….

  54. When the risk/reward ratio is 1:0, the act in question is kinda dumb even when it’s the morally right thing to do. All the more so when the act involves firearms.

    Also, if the act in question is likely to deprive children of their parent(s), then the act is morally wrong. Opposing the government is often the right thing to do, but if your method of opposition is likely to land you in jail, and your children will suffer as a result, then it is the wrong thing.

  55. Sam Franklin —

    “In the case of income tax, I think similar things may have been tried for decades and decades b4 they resorted to the amendment process.”

    The Constitution never forbade income taxes, and the power to tax incomes was always present in Article I, Section 8.

    It only said (in Article I, Section 9) that if a tax was a “direct” tax, it had to be apportioned among the states according to the census. But it did not define what a “direct” tax was.

    One of the income taxes that pre-existed the 16th Amendment was the subject of a partial Supreme Court challenge in 1895 on constitutional grounds, which was successful. That challenge was not on the constitutionality of income taxes generally, but only as to whether (1) taxes on the income derived from property — such as rent — was “direct” and thus had to be apportioned, and (2) whether Congress could tax the interest payments on state and municipal bonds.

    (Other cases had already established that income from work could be the subject of taxation, and that the taxation was “indirect”.)

    President and Congress did not resort to a court-packing scheme, or try any means around it other than that provided in the Constitution. The result — 18 years later — was the 16th Amendment, stating that Congress can tax incomes from whatever source derived without having to apportion them among the states.

  56. I’m not sure why the Government needs to tax anybody anyway. Can’t they just print more money to pay for what they want? Oh wait…that’s what they do!

  57. “There are entirely too many Davids around here”

    Dr. Seuss had a story about that, called “Too Many Daves”. (“Did I ever tell you of Mrs. McCabe, who had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?”)

  58. “The country is never more important than your family,…”

    David,
    Perhaps you are correct, but I am glad the signers of the Declaration of Independents didn’t feel that way. Most of them and their families suffered severe economic consequences and some loss of life for believing that fighting for principles was a worthy way to spend their lives.

    That we have so few left of the same ilk is why our country is selling liberty to buy a bogus sense of security.

  59. Peter, that’s really interesting. What are some of the theories as to what constitutes a direct tax, as opposed to an indirect tax?

  60. I love it, “in defense of anarchy; Somalia wasn’t as bad as the media made it out to be.”

  61. It wasn’t a smart move for the Sons of Liberty to board ships in Boston harbor and toss tea over the side, in fact it could have gotten them all hanged. But that event was a shining example of many protests over excessive taxes that led to the Revolutionary war.

    Mr. Brown is no different than our forefathers; he is acting acording to his morals in what may be a suicidal attempt to draw attention to the cause of excess taxes.

  62. Sic semper deadbeats.

    Funny, that could easily be taken as rooting for these people to die for refusing to pay taxes.

    But we know liberals aren’t all about revenue and big government above all other things…

  63. The Union Leader interviewed this dope in 1994.

    These militia guys always come across as though they want the feds to send in the National Guard so they can become martyrs to their cause or something.

  64. Will Allen —

    If memory serves me well, a “direct” tax is a tax on property, real or personal. I think the wrinkle added by the Supreme Court in 1895 was that a tax can be “direct” even if it affected property only “indirectly”, i.e., by diminishing the net income return through taxation.

    But I also recall that there were one or more earlier Supreme Court cases that were difficult to reconcile with that.

    However, the whole point of the 16th Amendment is that, if it’s income, Congress can tax it, without apportionment.

  65. I’m still available if anyone needs me.

  66. Kwix —

    You wrote:

    “Mr. Brown is no different than our forefathers; he is acting acording to his morals in what may be a suicidal attempt to draw attention to the cause of excess taxes.”

    Our forefathers’ disagreement with the mother country was over taxation without representation in Parliament.

    I don’t think Ed Brown is, or the “tax honesty” movement supporters are, complaining that the taxes are “excessive”. He and they just got sucked into a belief system under which the taxes are “unconstitutional”, or that the I.R.S. is acting without Congressional authority, or that lower federal courts are ignoring imaginary Supreme Court precedents.

  67. John, one quibble if you please. There WAS sexual abuse – or predation, or whatever – going on at the DB compound in Waco. Religious freedom does not include license to screw other peoples’ pre and just-pubescent children (or your own). And there WERE teenagers and adults being held against their wills. And the fire was most likely caused by the Davidians themselves, whether deliberately or no (some of them had gunshots to the heads, indicating that weren’t all in full Masada mode). The FBI and ATF fucked up royally, we all agree – but Koresh’s people were not religious dissenters just trying to practice their lifestyle in peace, and it bugs me when Waco is used as an example of government persecution of innocent religious folk. A lot of people in the compound certainly were innocent – but it was not the Feds who posed the biggest threat to them.

  68. Here is Ed Brown, as quoted on the website of a supporter (www.ddayforamerica.com):

    “Of course the government failed [to build a case against him and his wife]. They didn’t prove a thing. There’s nothing to prove. We didn’t violate a statute because there is no statute, and they don’t even have jurisdiction. In fact, the court is operating out of a building that New Hampshire never ceded to the federal government-as the law requires in order to have jurisdiction over anyone who has ever been tried in that court!”

    I did not look to deeply into the supporter’s website, but apparently there is a Bible prophesy involved.

  69. Ed Brown is on The Howie Carr Show, right now:

    http://www.howiecarr.com

  70. Like I said, at least the income tax proponents had enough respect for the law to work through the amendment process. If only the same could be said for those who followed in the attempt to remove constraints on national government.

  71. “There are a few places in the world where there is no government, but I bet you wouldn’t want to live there.”

    You’re talking about Somalia, right? As I understand it the chief source of conflict there is people resisting the government which “the international community” is trying to install. That and the place isn’t in great economic shape since they haven’t had enough time to full recover from the previous dictatorship.

  72. John, libertarianism doesn’t have to be anarchism but that doesn’t change the fundamental nature of taxation. And guess what, a lot of us could turn a blind eye to taxation at 1880 levels. However, as Dhex pointed out things tend to degenerate as in gov’t spending is currently about 10,000 times 1880 levels.

    David, I agree family is important but aren’t this guy’s kids all grown up? Does that change things?

  73. “And guess what, a lot of us could turn a blind eye to taxation at 1880 levels. However, as Dhex pointed out things tend to degenerate as in gov’t spending is currently about 10,000 times 1880 levels.”

    I am all for lower taxes, it is the no taxes I disagree with. That said, in 1880 we lived in splendid isolation from the world and could have a practically nonexistant Army and Navy (the air force hadn’t been invented yet) and there was no nead for paved roads since cars didn’t exist yet and trains were the main form of transportation. I don’t think we could get away with 1880 taxation levels today, but we certainly could get away with a lot less than we have.

  74. Seriously, when did it become wrong to place yourself at risk to oppose criminals?

    RC, I had used paying Tony Soprano as a metaphor for paying taxes to the government and I think our friend was carrying that forward. He didn’t literally mean opposing crime, but opposing taxation and government theft.

    Well, so much for putting words in OP’s mouths.

  75. “I don’t see how you can seriously argue that it is best not the have any form of government.”

    because government isn’t the only form of law; nor is it the only form of force; nor is it the only form of cooperation and interdependency.

    i.e. it is not the social glue it makes itself out to be.

  76. speaking of which have you guys seen from freedom to fascism? i’m going to watch it tonight while i make chili. i’ve heard it’s tax resister-licious!

  77. John, we could cut our tax bite by two thirds tomorrow and not suffer a bit. We’ve had an Army, an Air Force, and not lived in splendid isolation for the better part of the last 75 years. We’ve even had paved roads. In fact, the roads were better 30 years ago than they are now. Except maybe that got dam Pa Turnpike.

    I realize that you probably agree with that but I’m pointing it out because even under the dreaded cigar chomping Clinton we got along just fine for a trillion dollars less than we do now. Just ten short years ago.

  78. Besides, Pinkertons did a hell of lot better job than the Feebies do now. Just ask Al Swearengen.

  79. Wine,

    Preaching to the choir on that one. We could get by with a lot less government than we have. That just doesn’t cause me to have any sympathy for these lunatics.

  80. David, you can always have more kids. But there aren’t many countries that have freedom as their founding principle. This little experiment may actually be bigger than your precious family.

  81. This guy didn’t pay his taxes. Won’t comply with the court-ordered restitution, and is now fomenting armed insurrection?

    What, exactly, would it take for the Feds to shoot him, if not this?

    Why should the government agents put themselves at risk by attempting a non-lethal intervention?

    Do laws not apply to people with guns?

  82. What kind of business did Elaine Brown operate?”

    She ran Half Hollow Dental Center in West Lebanon, NH, in a building she and Ed owned (Ed used to have his U.S. Constitution Rangers office in the building as well, with some, um, interesting signage). I actually went there as a dental patient once, the experience was enough to make me not return.

  83. Kwix, the Boston Tea Party had a number of armed supporters much greater than 25, against a government with far less coercive power than our own. Not to mention the sympathies of a larger part of the population.

    It’s stupid to revolt when you have no chance of success, even if your cause is just.

  84. you can always have more kids

    Not iffen yer fertilizing Pine Trees at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

    the experience was enough to make me not return.

    Come on Rich, you’ve got to give us more than this.

  85. There are a few places in the world where there is no government, but I bet you wouldn’t want to live there

    There are almost 200 other places in the world where there IS plenty of government but I bet you wouldn’t want to live there either.

  86. Preaching to the choir…..

    John, I know. I’m bad about that. Not just here, either.

  87. This guy is right. Live free or die! Who among you is ready to move anywhere else. This is the last stand. This guy might inspire others to do the same and then the feds will have a revolt on their hands.

  88. Paying taxes IS voluntary.Just don’t work too hard.
    All he had to do to avoid tax liability was be in the lower 49.9% of earners. As Wine Commonsewer often reminds us these people pay no Federal Income Tax.
    If Ed Brown is so smart…Why is he Rich?

  89. If the government has no claim to my first buck of income, on what basis does it have a claim on my last buck no matter how many dollars are between them? And you can get rich in only two ways. One to coerce others or two to be productive. Smart is not a requirement of either.

  90. A question for free marketeers (and I am one):

    Hasn’t the market already accounted for taxation in all its forms? While taxation distorts the real prices of things (labor, goods, imports) don’t the market prices of those thing reflect taxation, and thus, while distorted, reflect the real value of them?

    In other words, over a ten-year period of time, Mrs. Brown was able to earn over 2 million dollars. Without taxation, wouldn’t the amount of money earned have been less than that, but still had the exact same purchasing power (adjusting for inflation, which is the truly insidious player in this game)?

    Have I even posed this question in a coherent manner?

  91. You can get rich more ways than ….
    “One to coerce others or two to be productive”
    Try luck
    Although productive work combined with State forced coecion seems to be the preferred “sure thing” method.

  92. What’s wrong with anarchy? Globally, all countries exist in a state of anarchy. The UN tries and wants to be a world government but, fortunately, just doesn’t have the nut to back it up because countries with power won’t be handing it over any time soon.

    And why does everyone get the motto wrong? It’s ‘Live cheap or free’

  93. John | January 19, 2007, 11:20am | #

    “Here’s one time when I’m rooting for the government. Freeloaders like Ed Brown want to enjoy the benefits of America while honest citizens pay the costs.”

    What you mean like a professed anachist who calls the cops when somone robs his house? I bet a $100 that at least one of these clowns has called some government agency somewhere at one time or another to complain about the quality of service they got.

    uh, no it’s not like that unless the professed anarchist is also a tax resistor, but in that case, the fact of being an anarchist seems irrelevant, unless you’re just trying to point out the hypocrisy. refusing to pay for services you enjoy doesn’t make you a hypocrite so much as a deadbeat

  94. Do laws not apply to people with guns?

    Not if they’re carrying badges, no.

  95. And yet his ideals are the ones our troops are supposedly dying for. The irony is that he’s the courage to say “enough.” and do it in his own backyard.

  96. In response to various posts. The IRS wasn’t a full time venture until 1913. Same year the central bank surfaced and senators became elected not nominated by their respective states. The tax was supposed to be a 1 percent tax on 1 percent of the populace.
    Roosevelt had his friends devise the witholding concept to keep the war tax in place. The bottom line is, we pay to much to government at all levels and there is no accountability, other than the intentionally uninformed voters. We funded government originally by fees, fines and tariffs. We still collect those in addition to the multi-trillion dollar budgets. By in large the IRS enforces the tax code. Sub committees of the Ways and Means committee actually write it. That’s one reason the code is such a mess.

  97. A documentary movie exists on this subject:
    http://www.freedomtofascism.com/

    According to the film:

    Not a penny of your income tax goes to any public works. All of it goes straight into the “Federal” Reserve bankers pockets to pay interest on the national debt.

    It is not a cooincidence that the income tax and the central bank were created at the same time.

    The Federal Reserve is a private corporation, not a government agency. They have a license from Congress to print money.

    The entire system is based on fraud.

    Whether or not the 16th amendment was properly ratified, the only entities liable to pay federal income taxes are corporations, people who are not citizens of a state, and those who volunteer to pay.

    If you volunteer to pay, you are then subject to the IRS regulations. If you don’t, you aren’t.

    Also in the film is an interview with a juror who sat on a jury which acquitted a man of charges similar to those of which the Browns were convicted. The decision to acquit was made primarily because the judge could not provide a copy of the federal statute involved. The jury rightly decided that they could not convict unless they knew what the law was that had supposedly been violated.

  98. The Federal Reserve is a private corporation, not a government agency. They have a license from Congress to print money.

    According to the US Treasury:
    “Federal Reserve Banks obtain the notes from our Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). It pays the BEP for the cost of producing the notes, which then become liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks, and obligations of the United States Government.”

    Source – http://www.treas.gov/education/faq/currency/legal-tender.shtml

    Still, the Reserve performs duties as a private corporation that might have been the fiduciary responsibility of Congress and the treasury. For instance, they are in charge of bank audits. Since the Federal Reserve is made up of banks and other financial institutions, I find that rather odd. They receive no outside audits?
    Lastly, the Fed is the agency that permits the government to deficit spend. Once a budget is blown, Congress, who should come to the people and request more revenue, go behind our backs, without our permission and issue instruments of debt to the Fed. The Fed happily obliges using Federal Highways, Federal buildings and unclassified military equipment as collateral. To my knowledge it’s never happened but that means your local interstate might turn into Citicorp highway, including tolls and we’d have no say in it.
    Then politicians get on the, “we must pay off the debt” mantra. It would be nice if the lazy media asked “why?” You created it, you pay it. But I won’t hold ny breath awaiting that event.

  99. For anyone who wants to watch a low res version of the freedom to fascism film:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4312730277175242198&q

    It is also worth watching the interviews on the freedom to fascism website

    Also worth watching: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5824859883322263421

    You just have to see the interview between Aaron Russo and Sheldon Cohen to start to worry.

  100. “Modern interpretation

    In Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass Co.,[12] the Supreme Court laid out what has become the modern understanding of what constitutes ‘income’ to which the Sixteenth Amendment applies, declaring that income taxes could be levied on “accessions to wealth, clearly realized, and over which the taxpayers have complete dominion.” Under this definition, any increase in wealth-whether through wages, benefits, bonuses, sale of stock or other property at a profit, bets won, lucky finds, awards of punitive damages in a lawsuit, qui tam actions-are all within the definition of income, unless Congress makes a specific exemption as it has for items such as life insurance proceeds received by reason of the death of the insured party,[13] gifts, bequests, devises and inheritances,[14] and certain scholarships.[15]

    [edit] Recent rulings

    On December 22, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated its own August 2006 ruling in Murphy v. Internal Revenue Service and United States.[16] In its original August 2006 decision, the Court had ruled that 26 U.S.C. ? 104(a)(2) was unconstitutional under the Sixteenth Amendment to the extent that the statute purported to tax, as income, a recovery for a non-physical personal injury for mental distress and loss of reputation not received in lieu of taxable income such as lost wages or earnings.

    The Murphy ruling had been mandatory precedent only in the District of Columbia. The December 2006 order vacating the Court’s own prior judgment also included a scheduling for a rehearing for April 23, 2007.

    [edit] Tax protester arguments regarding ratification

    The article Tax protester constitutional arguments covers this topic in considerably more detail, including details on the specific arguments made against ratification.

    Some tax protesters, conspiracy investigators, and others opposed to income taxes cite what they contend is evidence that the Sixteenth Amendment was never “properly ratified.” One such argument is that because the legislatures of various states passed resolutions of ratification with different capitalization, spelling of words, or punctuation marks (e.g. semi-colons instead of commas) from the text proposed by Congress, those states’ ratifications were invalid. A related argument is that various states illegally violated procedural requirements of their constitutions when passing their ratification resolutions. Another argument made by some tax protesters regards Ohio, one of the states listed as ratifying the amendment. They contend that because Congress did not pass an official proclamation recognizing Ohio’s date of admission (1803) to statehood until 1953 (see Ohio Constitution), Ohio was not a state until 1953 (and, therefore, could not have ratified the Sixteenth Amendment). These and similar arguments have been universally rejected by the courts.”

  101. 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.

  102. Have I even posed this question in a coherent manner?

    No, but I’m drunk and I’ll try to read it again in the morning.

  103. Have I even posed this question in a coherent manner?

    Yes, but it makes my head hurt.

    More wine.

  104. I’m not suicidal enough to be join the tax protestors, however much they may have my sympathy. One of my favorite anti-income tax arguments goes like this: Prior to the imposition of the Income Tax, an income, in plain English, was something you realized from an investment. Rent was income, as was interest on long-term government bonds and other securities. If you read 18th and 19th century fiction, when some middle or upper-class lady trying to arrange a suitable match for her daughter and some gentleman considered husband material, the fellow is inevitably described as “having an income of ?(some large number) per annum.”

    In short, wages weren’t considered income. Wages were undependable, and one had to do some kind of work for them. “Income” was a river of cash, flowing like snowmelt from the mountain of capital owned by your family. At most you might have to hire a land agent or farm manager, and oversee your overseer. Eligible Young Gentlemen, when they came of age, often had An Income settled on them: the proceeds of This Estate or That Plantation, the interest from a specified amount of “gilts” issued by the Bank of England, etc. (We have the Long Bond. The UK under the gold standard had “centuries.”) Junior would not necessarily own these assets, which his Pater might hold onto until passing away. Ownership might devolve on the younger man when he reached a certain age, or he married, as the family patriarch pleased.

    So, when the Income Tax went through, yeoman farmers and factory hands never expected it to apply to them, and at the 1% rate mentioned above, it wouldn’t, either. Only when the government’s hunger for cash became ravenous did the income tax start touching on middle-class folks, then eventually those in the lower quintiles.

    Of course, the IRS and the courts will not accept the “wages aren’t income” argument, if for no other reason than that they believe that the …from whatever source derived … verbiage in the 16th Amendment authorizes the government to ignore what “income” meant of old, and supercede the English language with a legal term of art that happens to use the same letters in the same order. Since they have the power to enforce that, almost everyone has come around to their view.

    Kevin

  105. from freedom to fascism is unwatchable if you know how to read. really.

    it’s michael moore for paranoids.

    it does have some larfs, however, so it’s a good match to making a delicious black bean chili.

  106. More wine.

    Actually, TWC, your input would be invaluable to me. I’m pretty sure that in our economy taxes are merely distortions, which are accounted for in the market prices of everything from goods to wages. Inflation is the “hidden tax” from which there is no escape (although I guess there’s an argument that taxes increase price inflation, which leads to monetary inflation, and here I go muddying everything up again).

  107. from freedom to fascism is unwatchable if you know how to read. really.

    Actually I found it an interesting movie, even though it really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Maybe it might create a few new converts somewhere out there, because we all know there has to be some critical mass before any real change is going to be made.

  108. jf —

    You wrote:

    “Actually I found it an interesting movie, even though it really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.”

    Shouldn’t “know” have been in quotation marks? I mean, for something to count as “knowledge”, it has to be factual.

    If something someone is telling you is patently false (i.e., that under the Constitution, income “from labor” has to be apportioned among the states, that the income tax only applies to corporate activity, that a former IRS Commissioner — in the very interview appearing in the film — “threatened” Aaron Russo, or that the lower federal courts are flagrantly ignoring Supreme Court precedents in income tax cases) then the proper way of wording what you said is

    ” . . . even though it really didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already heard.”

  109. Interest on the national debt is substantially less than revenue from income tax. Gross interest was $352 billion in 2006. Net interest payment was $183 billion. Individual income tax collections were $966 billion.

    The Federal Reserve is an independent agency within the U.S. government. While there are elements of the Federal Reserve system that operate a bit like a private corporation, the system is under federal government control and over 90% of the profit from the Federal Reserve is transfered back to the U.S. Treasury (of course most of the Fed’s revenue comes from the U.S. Treasury.)

    Federal Reserve conspiracy theory is at least as ignorant and foolish as income tax conspiracy theory.

    The biggest embarassment is that there is any association between this crank patriot theories and libertarianism.

    The Fed may be a bad institution, and the income tax a bad idea, but none of this makes crank patriot theories any less fantastic.

  110. Kevrob –

    Yet another reason why the IRS and the courts will not accept the “wages aren’t income” argument is that it is total, complete, utter bullshit.

    Even if, as you say, at the time of ratification of the 16th Amendment “income” did not include wages, that just means Congress’ power to tax it does not derive from the 16th Amendment. Before and after the 16th Amendment, the Constitution said, and still does say, in Article I, Section 8:

    “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

    Nothing in that taxing power excludes a tax on wages. Furthermore, the Supreme Court held that taxes on occupations were “excises” or indirect taxes, not subject to the apportionment requirement of Article I, Section 9.

    The 16th Amendment did not give Congress any new taxing power. But to the extent the income tax is a “direct” tax, Congress is relieved by the 16th Amendment of the requirement to apportion it. Also, to the extent the income tax is an “indirect” tax, Congress was never subject to an apportionment requirement.

    (Bear in mind, also, that in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. — the case which held taxes on income from property to be “direct” taxes subject to the apportionment requirement, the reason for the subsequent proposal and ratification of the 16th Amendment – there was no challenge to the tax as it pertained to income from compensation for services.)

    Therefore, Congress was free to define “income” to include wages and salaries. And (contrary to what this buffoon Aaron Russo says), it did. United States Code, Title 26 ,Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Part I, section 61, subsection (a) says:

    “Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived, including “(but not limited to) the following items:

    “(1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;

    “(2) Gross income derived from business;

    “(3) Gains derived from dealings in property;

    “(4) Interest;

    “(5) Rents;

    “(6) Royalties;

    “(7) Dividends;

    “(8) Alimony and separate maintenance payments;

    “(9) Annuities;

    “(10) Income from life insurance and endowment contracts;

    “(11) Pensions;

    “(12) Income from discharge of indebtedness;

    “(13) Distributive share of partnership gross income;

    “(14) Income in respect of a decedent; and

    “(15) Income from an interest in an estate or trust.”

    Subsection (b) of same says:

    “For items specifically included in gross income, see part II (sec. 71 and following). For items specifically excluded from gross income, see part III (sec. 101 and following). ”

    Wages and salaries are “compensation for services”, are they not?

  111. Peter K.

    …gross income means all income from whatever source derived…-United States Code, Title 26, etc.

    That’s what’s known in logic as a tautology. Tautological definitions are to be avoided.

    If Congress had imposed a separate “wages and salaries tax”, I’m sure they could have made it stick, but it would have faced political opposition from the same folks who plumped for an income tax they were foolishly sure would never touch them. If spending from such a federal tax had to be apportioned among the states, the proponents wouldn’t have been for it, either, though they might have fought for state taxes that were motivated by redistributionism. Mine is essentially a political, not a constitutional point, as much as the tax protesters want to concentrate on the ConLaw side of things.

    Funding the government by an explicit, continual debasement of the currency would erode confidence in the unit of account even more than the disguised method currently in use.

    Kevin

  112. kevrob:

    I’m pretty sure Peter K.’s definition of gross income is not a tautology.

    Since you think it is, please provide a definition of gross income consistent with Peter K.’s assertion of its definition, and which is not a tautology.

  113. I hope they jail this turd and throw the key away. Fucking lunatic.

  114. DC:

    That definition of “gross income” includes the term “income.” That’s like saying:

    “A large automobile is an automobile that seats 6 or more or that weighs more than 2 tons.” It only makes sense if you already know what automobile means.

    Once “income” was defined, defining the compound term “gross income” in the manner displayed above would make perfect sense.

    Again, this is a logical nitpick, not an effective defense against Federal Marshalls armed with weapons and the power to drain your bank accounts. But, if the original proponents of income taxes had proclaimed that their incidence would fall on the average working stiff, I doubt if they would have passed.

    Kevin

  115. kevrob —

    The tax protestors’ claim — and yours — boils down to the assertion that a law is not valid unless every single term used in the law is also defined in the law. This is not a valid point. If it was, then no law would be valid, because the legislature would have to define each word used in each definition. And then the tax protestors — and you — would complain that the definitions are not valid because the terms used in the definitions are themselves defined in the same law. Then you and they would call it a tautology.

    But the statutory definition I quoted is not a tautology. (Neither is the definition of “large automobile” you gave as an example.)The U.S. Code definition of “gross income” does not employ the term “gross income”. It does employ the term “income” which is itself in common usage. For those who do not know what it means, the statute gives a long list of examples. And I quoted the section in my previous post.

    Your assertion that the people would never have supported a “wage and salaries” tax is seriously undermined — to say the least — by the fact that Congress did pass such a tax (FICA) to fund social security and medicare, programs which are, unfortunately, so popular that to question them is known as a “third rail” of national politics.

    Furthermore, you have failed to respond to my main point, that a tax on wages and salaries did not need the 16th Amendment to be constitutional yet unappotioned (only taxes on the income derived from property did), and therefore it does not matter — for the purposes of this discussion — what the rubes who supported the 16th Amendment thought “income” meant.

  116. “(1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;

    Wages and salaries are “compensation for services”, are they not?

    Actuall, Peter, they are not…corporations receive “compensation for services”, but you do not normally think of corporations receiving “wages”….and the primary definition of “income” by the Supremes with reference to the 16th Amendment has to do with the Corporation Tax Act of 1909, which was the Act for which the 16th was passed….so compensation for services, if derived from a corporate balance sheet as “profit” which is interchangeable with the word “income” is taxable…

    However, some wages are taxable, but not under the 16th Amendment. Wages of some folks fall under the local jurisdiction of Congress, not its general jurisdiction….these folks are non resident aliens or the foreign earned income of US Citizens working abroad…

    And those who have a federal license as a requirement of work and file a “Federal Excise Tax Form” or Form 720 may indeed have commissions, etc.

  117. The tax protestors’ claim — and yours — boils down to the assertion that a law is not valid unless every single term used in the law is also defined in the law.

    Peter again overstates the case. The object is to have certain key words clearly defined, which if you read Title 26 and Title 27 is not the case.

    They are a hodgepog of sections. Truly the Ways and Means committee may have inardvertently made the law almost impossible to read, but an alternate view is that the law is deliberately vague to bypass Constitutional difficulties, and thus constitutes a legal fraud.

    In fact, the 1954 tax code revision is particularly troublesome to many because some key sections of the code where rearranged and the references to income exempted by the “fundamental law” was changed…

    What is so special about 1954? Well, the World War II “Voluntary tax” could have been mothballed, but the two parties had decided to take us into the Cold War and fund the Military Industrial Complex….

  118. m pretty sure Peter K.’s definition of gross income is not a tautology.

    Since you think it is, please provide a definition of gross income consistent with Peter K.’s assertion of its definition, and which is not a tautology.

    Gross income is not taxable income. The key element of the fraud, if it is a fraud, is to parse out the meaning of “taxable” income, payable by a “taxpayer” made “liable”.

    Are you a taxpayer made liable? That is what the tax honesty folks are saying. “Show me the law that makes me liable” ie that says I have taxable income.

  119. These and similar arguments have been universally rejected by the courts.”

    With respect to the argument against validity of ratification of 16th Amendment, to my knowledge the courts have NOT ruled against it, they have only referred it to Congress, who turned around and referred it back to the Courts

  120. “accessions to wealth, clearly realized, and over which the taxpayers have complete dominion.” Under this definition, any increase in wealth-whether through wages, benefits, bonuses, sale of stock or other property at a profit, bets won, lucky finds, awards of punitive damages in a lawsuit, qui tam actions-are all within the definition of income, unless Congress makes a specific exemption as it has for items such as life insurance proceeds received by reason of the death of the insured party,[13] gifts, bequests, devises and inheritances,[14] and certain scholarships.[15]

    I have not read this case, but I wonder where you get the leap to go from “increase in wealth”to “wages”…wages are not necessarily to be considered an “increase”, or “gain” or “profit”…wages are much more in the nature of an exchange of labor hours for money. IE an “even exchange”

  121. Wouldn’t Congress just come out the next day and close whatever legal loophole they found?

    Actually, not so fast. It depends on what grounds and under what legal theory the Income Tax is overturned by the Supremes.

    A total victory would require a constitutional amendment to rectify. Some people think that would happen quickly. However, after the uproar over the Kelo decision, I would say that if the Supremes were to get the tax honesty flu in its entirety, they would have to admit that the goverment was guilty of some shady practices. A new Amendment to clarify the taxing power might very well meet a good deal of resistance.

    A very narrow victory to clarify certain points in the tax honesty movement’s favor might be fixable by passing a statute, but again it would depend on public opinion as well
    as congressional greed.

  122. I think the merits of this case are that the IRS 1040 forms have no OMB designation numbers as they are required to. This theoretically makes the form void. The 1040 forms have not had these required designation #’s for about 20 years. Lets say the guy wins the case over this issue. Then the govt. IRS puts the designation #’s on the forms to comply for the future. They still owe everyone a tax refund for all those undesignated 1040’s that were filed. Yeah, that will happen. Its just easier to send in tanks and troops and be done with it.

    The OMB number issue does not stand simply alone on its own merit as an argument. The lack of the number is thought to verify the underlying Constitutional theory . The Form 1040 does have an OMB number, but it does not correspond to the taxing regulations it should, nor to the regulation that the government says it applies to in its OMB application for the number…The number that applies to the general
    regulation regarding income tax which is quoted
    above by Peter K corresponds to the Form 1055, or Foreign Earned Income…

  123. by the fact that Congress did pass such a tax (FICA) to fund social security and medicare, programs which are, unfortunately, so popular that to question them is known as a “third rail” of national politics.

    These payroll taxes are direct taxes without apportionment. They are only legal for non resident aliens, and federal employees, and folks living in the “States of the United States” or the territories (by the definitions in the code you claim the government does not have to clarify for us peons)…

    The rule of apportionment applies only to the states. The territories and possessions are not real states for constitutional purposes, and those living in them are not protected by the rule of apportionment from direct taxation.

    No one really cares if the SS and Medicare taxes are repealed for everybody. Like you say, a lot of people like them. Tax honesty folks just want the right to opt out.

  124. Social Security is really the Northern Marietta Islands Social Security program, legally.

    Hey, I don’t know if anyone will read these posts, I came to this thread late. However, it is my belief, after reading the law and also getting insight into the IRS procedures by the Freedom of Information Act, that there is no lawfull general tax on income as it is collected today.

    There are several smaller, legal income taxes that by various legal theories are lawfull, but they do not apply to most folks in the Good Ol USA.

    Take it or leave it. Live free or die, or pay up and bitch…

  125. It does employ the term “income” which is itself in common usage. – Peter K.

    Your point about legislators not having to include definitions of every common term in a law is valid. However, I explained above that what “income” meant in the 1860s, when an income tax was imposed to fund the Civil War, to what it meant in the Wilson administration, to what it means now, has changed. That change has been in no small part due to the expansion of the incidence of the income tax. Want to tax a stream of funds previously not taxed? Redefine it as “income.” There are assuredly technical terms and terms of art – gross, adjusted gross, taxable, non-taxable, “earned”, “unearned”, etc., but the idea that “an income” is something derived from property ownership is today encountered only in the pages of Jane Austen.

    Here’s an alternative problem. I am against the death penalty, due to the lack of human infallibility in our justice system. Others try to claim that the DP is unconstitutional, leaning on the clause banning “cruel and unusual” puniahment. OK, the executionists said, we’ll use more humane ways to kill people, and we will try to make judicial killing less unusual, too. The retort is that no form of execution can be sufficiently non-cruel. But the Constitution contemplates “capital crimes.” In the late 18th century, that meant crimes punishable by death. Some moderns want to pretend that it doesn’t mean that, just “the most serious crimes” that would merit life without parole. That might be an outcome I desire, but it is historically ignorant, and philosophically sneaky.

    If one is going to take an existing word and use it in a novel way, the law had better include a non-tautological definition of it. If the law, when first enacted back when the word had a more limited sense, had said something on the order of:

    “The following events, for the purposes of this Act, shall be considered income subject to tax:

    1.) blah, blah, blah…, etc.”

    then I might criticize it for causing needless novelty in the language, but absolve it of trying to pull a fast one on the citizens. Perhaps there were such clear declarations in Lincoln’s tax, or Wilson’s or any other iterations of the Federal Income Tax, in which case my nit is not worth picking. But laws should not get magically amended by the shifting meaning of a word through time.

    Kevin

  126. kevrob —

    For the third time: Even if everyone who supported the 16th Amendment at the time it was proposed and ratified thought what was meant by “income” is, as you say, a steady stream from an asset, it does not matter on the issue of the constitutionality of our present-day income tax. This is because the only reason the 16th was proposed was to relieve Congress of the burden of apportioning any taxation of income from assets.

    The Supreme Court, in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co., said that the prevailing view among the founders was that wealth derived from property, that a tax on property is what the founders meant by a “direct” tax (subject to apportionment requirement in Section 9), and that a tax on the income from property is a “direct” tax, albeit accomplished by an indirect means.

    Earnings from one’s occupation were held (before Pollock) to be indirect taxes, excises, and thus not subject to the apportionment requirement of Article I, Section 9, and therefore the grant of taxing power in Section 8, as applied to these earnings, was unqualified.

    In other words, if the 16th Amendment were to be repealed tomorrow, Congress could — under Article I, Section 8 — still tax wages, salaries, and profits from the sales of goods and services, without having to apportion them among the states.

    But to tax income from rents, royalties, dividends, etc. Congress would have to apportion it among the states under Section 9. Which would mean they would not tax those forms of income.

    Which, in turn, means even more of the burden of paying the tax would fall on working people (like the tax-resistin’ Browns) than it does now.

    The definition of “gross income” is not tautological merely because it uses one of the two words comprising the term. Would it improve things if the introductory paragraph merely defined “gross”, as in “For purposes of this Chapter, income is “gross” if is [ . . .]”?

    Now for the libertreee vs. libertreee debate:

    libertreee:

    “[quoting me: ‘Wages and salaries are “compensation for services”, are they not?’]

    “Actuall[y], Peter, they are not . . .”

    libertreee:

    “wages are much more in the nature of an exchange of labor hours for money”

    So wages are only wages if they are in exchange for labor, and only if the labor is not the performance of any particular service for the employer? Why the hell would the employer be hiring the laborer to work, if the labor does not accomplish some kind of service?

    Just because corporations get compensated for services does not mean that human beings do not get compensated for services. Compensation for services are clearly included in the definition of “gross income”. Wages and salaries earned by an employee, or payment for services made to an independent contractor, are “compensation for services”.

    Congress also included income from “alimony” in the definition of “gross income”. Under what circumstances would a corporation be receiving alimony? The statute plainly applies to people.

    “These payroll taxes are direct taxes without apportionment.”

    See above. They are not taxes on account of property owned by the payor, therefore they are not “direct” taxes. The Constitution assigned the interpretive function in cases and controversies to the Supreme Court, and this is what the Supreme Court said.

    “. . . the primary definition of “income” by the Supremes with reference to the 16th Amendment has to do with the Corporation Tax Act of 1909, which was the Act for which the 16th was passed”

    Interesting theory. So Congress passed the Corporation Tax Act in 1909. Mr. Pollock decided to challenge it, but the Supreme Court docket was much too crowded, so he got into his time machine, flew backwards to 1895, got the Supreme Court to invalidate the 1909 tax in 1985, then he flew forward to 1909, only to find out that Congress had proposed the 16th Amendment, so he gave up and the states ratified it in 1913.

  127. Last paragraph should have said:

    Interesting theory. So Congress passed the Corporation Tax Act in 1909. Mr. Pollock decided to challenge it, but the Supreme Court docket was much too crowded, so he got into his time machine, flew backwards to 1895, got the Supreme Court to invalidate the 1909 tax in 1895, then he flew forward to 1909, only to find out that Congress had proposed the 16th Amendment, so he gave up and the states ratified it in 1913.

    libertreee —

    Your understanding of history seems to come from having watched and read too much ignorant nonsense, like Aaron Russo’s demagoguery in his piss-poor Michael Moore imitation film.

  128. Quoting Peter K.:

    In other words, if the 16th Amendment were to be repealed tomorrow, Congress could — under Article I, Section 8 — still tax wages, salaries, and profits from the sales of goods and services, without having to apportion them among the states.

    ..and I continue to say that, had that been attempted, in peacetime at least, in the 19th century it would have been a political non-starter. The tax imposed during the Civil War was allowed to lapse in 1872, based in part on citizen’s annoyance at alleged corruption and malfeasance in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and because prosperity having returned, enough revenue could be generated from tariffs and more traditional excises.

    But to tax income from rents, royalties, dividends, etc. Congress would have to apportion it among the states under Section 9. Which would mean they would not tax those forms of income.

    Which, in turn, means even more of the burden of paying the tax would fall on working people (like the tax-resistin’ Browns) than it does now.

    Again, back in the day, far fewer people worked for wages and salaries, subsistence farming being much more common than it is today. I’d hate to have to figure out what the “adjusted gross income” of yeoman Farmer Brown was in 1880, not to mention some sharecropping tenant farmer. An income tax that roped in such folks wouldn’t fly. And again, this is not a modern constitutional argument, but one about political history. After the end of the civil war, an income tax was seen as a way of redistributing wealth from the “money power” located in the northeast, the trusts and the “plutocrats”, to the poorer South and West. Without the removal of the apportionment restriction, that couldn’t happen, because, following the “Willy Suttton Principle,” that’s where the money was.

    Your point about sales taxes not needing to be apportioned does mean that we could repeal the 16th Amendment and replace it with a national sales tax or VAT, a la the Fair Tax movement. I would much rather our representatives reduce or replace income taxation than have a court strike the IT down. Should such an opinion ever be issued, Congress and/or the States would write a reauthorizing amendment so fast it would make our heads spin.

    Kevin

  129. kevrob:

    “..and I continue to say that, had that been attempted, in peacetime at least, in the 19th century it would have been a political non-starter.”

    Yes, you do continue to say it, but I do not see what the point is. It is January 23, 2007. The 19th Century ended 106 years and 23 days ago.

    “Your point about sales taxes not needing to be apportioned does mean that we could repeal the 16th Amendment and replace it with a national sales tax or VAT, a la the Fair Tax movement.”

    I did not make any point about sales taxes. Besides, the objective ought to be to reduce government, not find another way to finance it.

  130. Peter, my point about the 19th century is that it is useful to know some history when trying to fight metastasized government. We have been losing our liberties, sometimes in giant bites, but more often by nibbling. The erosion and mutation of the meanings of words, which is an inevitable and not always-to-be-opposed process in American English, results in our using the same words today to mean things they didn’t in the past, and for words to lose meanings they used to have. Example: outside of reading history or a historical novel, where will you run into “transportation” as a judicial punishment of exile? I happen to think that knowing how words have changed is important, especially if we are talking about the motivations of the Founding and Framing generations, or rehearsing any past political argument. I’m not a lawyer, but I know that both textualism and originalism depend on etymological and historical interpretation, with the ideal of interpreting laws with an eye to the meaning of the text that was current when it was adopted, and reading the opinions of those debating the legislation or constitutional clause without projecting anachronistic meanings onto the writer or speaker’s idiom.

    As for the sales tax, maybe I conflated a comment of yours with something else I read. I’m positing that a national sales tax could be considered an excise, and you did point out that excises have never been consideredn direct taxes, and would not have to be apportioned, 16th amendment or no, just uniform.

    As for why we would talk about replacing the income tax, the Fair Tax people argue that:

    1.) The administration of a sales tax would be less intrusive and bureaucratic than the IT, and

    2.) A national sales tax would be more transparent. Everybody would know the rate, and would be constantly reminded of the government’s bite everytime they bought something subject to it. Arguably, this would be an irritant that would increase support for limited government. I don’t know if that would be sufficient to get people to lobby their congresscritter to vote for budget cuts, but that’s the theory.

    Kevin

  131. The “Fair Tax” discussion is off-topic.

    The income tax is quite an irritant and it has not brought about small government. Why would a V.A.T.?

    Anyway, there is nothing about it that would make it immune to exceptions, based on either the identity of the purchaser or the seller, or the nature of the good. Exceptions will breed lobbying by others for more exceptions, and that lobbying will bring new exceptions, etc.

    It would bring about diseconomies, such as end purchasers who would accomplish the final “value addition” themselves or with hired help, which would in turn create dangers to human safety, for which no manufacturer will be liable because none would be responsible.

  132. Earnings from one’s occupation were held (before Pollock) to be indirect taxes, excises, and thus not subject to the apportionment requirement of Article I, Section 9, and therefore the grant of taxing power in Section 8, as applied to these earnings, was unqualified.

    I disagree. They were certainly qualified.
    An excise tax on income as opposed to a direct tax is a tax on a privilege, and income is a measure of the privilege.

    I invite Peter K to go to the IRS office near him and request a copy of the Form 720, or Federal Excise Tax Form. There he will find a comprehensive list of the privileged occupations from which the government may demand a tax on the income.

    They include a variety of federally licensed occupations, such as selling foreign bonds and foreign insurance. If you are engaged in one of these occupations, you indeed have a federally licensed, and privileged, source of income that can be taxed.

    If you are not, and are a Citizen of the Several States (ie not the “States of the United States”, that is the territories and possessions, such as Northern Marrietta Islands,or have income in those possessions and territories, and if you do not have substantial foreign earned income, and you are not earning income as a corporation, then you are engaged in an “occupation of common right”, and the rule of apportionment protects your property, including such income, from federal income tax.

  133. Interesting theory. So Congress passed the Corporation Tax Act in 1909. Mr. Pollock decided to challenge it, but the Supreme Court docket was much too crowded, so he got into his time machine, flew backwards to 1895, got the Supreme Court to invalidate the 1909 tax in 1895, then he flew forward to 1909, only to find out that Congress had proposed the 16th Amendment, so he gave up and the states ratified it in 1913.

    I take it from this paragraph that Peter K has not read “Brushaber vs Union Pacific Railroad”, or the other Supreme Court decisions up to about 1922 that defined the scope of the 16th Amendment.

    Mr Pollock had nothing to do with those decisions. Those decisions were to clarify the Corporate Tax Act of 1909, and the 16th Amendment which was drafted to be sure that the act was constitutional.

    If you write to the IRS, and ask them how the income tax is valid, they will reply by citing the Brushaber case. Brushaber said that an income tax cannot be a direct tax without apportionment, it can only be laid as an excise tax. As I mentioned in prior post, the excise tax is a tax on privilege. To import a good is considered a privilege. To earn profit as a corporation is a privilege. To earn money in CERTAIN occupations is a privilege. A tax can be levied on consumption as an excise. That tax is on a transaction, not on income or profit per se.

    Mr Pollock had nothing to do with these decisions. The Supreme Court said in Eisner v Macomber, 252 US 189, 1920…”It is essential to distinguish between what is and is not income…Congress cannot by legislation conclude the matter, since it cannot by legislation alter the Constitution.

    In other words, the Supremes told Congress–You put the word INCOME in the Constitution, now you can’t go around changing its definition by legislation, or else you will be able to amend the Constitution by statute.

    The Supremes then in a series of cases worked out the proper definition of income to apply to the Sixteenth Amendment: “INCOME IS THE GAIN DERIVED FROM CAPITAL, FROM LABOR, OR FROM BOTH COMBINED INCLUDING THE PROFIT GAINED THROUGH A SALE OR CONVERSION OF CAPITAL ASSETS.

    In other words, corporate profit.

  134. libertreee —

    I am a libertarian. I believe in maximum human freedom, including the right to private property.

    I am opposed to the income tax.

    It has become embarrassing to call myself a libertarian, mostly because of people who are impenetrably ineducable who call themselves the same. They make stupid arguments, and they are unable to see how counterproductive to the cause of liberty they are.

    You appear to be one of them.

    If so, please stay off my side. I say this because I would like my side, the side of freedom, to win. It won’t win with people like you encouraging others to go off on ridiculous tangents, losing their property to the IRS, going to jail, and displaying complete ignorance. Once property is seized by the IRS, it cannot be donated to libertarian causes. When people are incarcerated, they can’t do anything to help liberty.

    And it really is a shame for people to go to prison simply because they just don’t understand the law.

    The Brushaber case holding has nothing to do with this discussion, and nothing in the case says what you say it says.

    The Brushaber case concerned whether a tax, which was not retroactive to a date before the effective date of the 16th Amendment, but which was nevertheless retroactive, violated the constitution. The Supreme Court said NO.

    In the course of so answering, the Supreme Court, in Brushaber (page 17 of the decision), discussing the tax law which had been before the very same court in Pollock stated:

    ” . . . in so far as the law taxed . . . income from ‘professions, trades, employments, or vocations’ (158 U.S. 637) its validity was recognized”

    Thus, the very case which you cite draws attention to the point I have made: That even without the 16th Amendment, taxes on incomes from work were constitutional under Article 1, Section 8, without apportionment under Section 9.

    As to the 16th Amendment itself, the Brushaber case said (court’s decision, pages 17-18):

    “It is clear on the face of this text [of the 16th Amendment] that it does not purport to confer power to levy income taxes in the generic sense — an authority already possessed and never questioned — or to limit and distinguish between one kind of income taxes and another, but that the whole purpose of the Amendment was to relieve all income taxes when imposed from apportionment from a consideration of the source whence the income was derived.”

    Again, your own case says Congress had the power to tax income from the very beginning, and that was unquestioned even before the 16th Amendment. The only thing the 16th does or was intended to do was to remove the requirement of “apportionment” from the power to tax the kind of income derived from property.

    Exactly what I have been saying.

    The Eisner case concerned whether or not, when a corporation issues a dividend in the form of stock, instead of cash, the receipt of same was income to the shareholder. The (rather obvious, in retrospect) answer was NO, because the shareholder had the same stake in the corporation before the new share or shares were issued as before. Just as in a stock split.

    Your own capitalized quote tells you that income includes compensation for labor.

  135. Please Share this important email with everyone on your lists.

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    The Rules of Engagement
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    Hijacking Catastrophe
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    Vince Foster
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    What I?ve Learned about Foreign Policy
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    Leave My Child Alone
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    The Money Masters Vol. 1
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    The National Tea Party
    Harry’s War
    What the Bleep

    Now, What are You Going To Do?

  136. Mr Peter K:

    I did not attack you personally. I merely refuted your statements like a gentleman. Since you have no answer for my arguments, you have seen fit to attack my intelligence. Those who stoop to that tactic, especially in this venue where a complex argument is being discussed, up to now, in a civil fashion in short messages, only betrays your own lack of courtesy and unwillingness to learn the truth.

    Some of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence lost their lives and their property. Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandella, Tommy Chong, Timothy Leary, Michael Miliken, and many millions of others throughout history have been put into prison for what they believe is right when the government says it is wrong. Believe me, I know many good people personally who have been put into jail by the Feds. Someday, I may be one of them . Don’t you think that a significant minority of Americans believe that the income tax is somehow voluntary, even if they never delve into the arguments in depth? Do you really believe, Mr Peter K, that if you be a good boy and sign the confession 1040 every year that the Feds won’t ever bother you? In fact, the Feds harass and steal from and imprison filers just as they do non filers.

    But, Peter K, juries have acquitted non filers of criminal charges. There is one example in the movie mentioned on these posts, From Freedom to Fascism. There are numerous others. In fact, the feds have resorted to disobeying the Supreme Court once more, even in criminal trials, by keeping the legal arguments from juries in a desperate attempt to silence these courageous people who challenge their unlawful deceits, in violation of the Supreme Court’s Cheeks doctrine.

    If you read down a paragraph or two in Brushaber you will the clause stating ?the contention that the Amendment (16th) treats a tax on income as a direct tax ?relieved from apportionment?thus destroy(ing) the two great classifications which have been recognized and enforced from the beginning, is also wholly without foundation?

    What Brushaber said is not what you say it said, sir. Brushaber said the 16th amendment :
    ? Gave the federal government no new taxing power
    ? Did not amend the Constitution
    ? It (supposedly) established income tax as an excise tax
    ? It forbids levying of income taxes on sources of income without apportionment

    Now, Mr Peter K, what exactly is an “excise” tax? It is settled over and over again that an excise tax is NOT a tax on property, but a tax on consumption or on profit. If there is income taxed as an excise tax, the tax (under the theory that long predates the 16th Amendment) is on some kind of privilege or franchise granted by the state and not on the income itself. The income is only the measure of the tax.

    If you ( I do not know what profession you are in , sir, but I would bet it makes money from taxation) work for a salary in an occupation of common right, then you trade your labor for a paycheck. You are converting your labor into a commodity in a direct fashion, without any “profit” or “gain”. In fact, your employer profits from your labor, as he can deduct it from his taxes as a cost of doing business. The money you receive from your job is your PROPERTY. You cannot pass on the taxes taken from your check to a consumer which is the characteristic of an excise tax. The payroll taxes and income taxes you have withheld, and the balance due if any in April, is therefore a direct tax on your property. It is protected by Pollock from direct taxation without apportionment.

    However, SOME vocations, some employments, are considered to be privileges, and not occupations of common right. Those are listed in the Form 720, which is aptly called the FEDERAL EXCISE TAX FORM. Those occupations generate taxable income, and the income is sometimes collected by using the Form 1040, along with the 720, to figure deductions.

    In addition, it is considered a privilege (The only nation in the world to do so) for a US citizen to have income from another country. That income is declared on the Form 1055, Foreign Earned Income, which is the only form approved by the OMB with a number that is linked to the tax tables in 26CFR 1.1 .

    Those citizens of other countries, or of the US territories and possessions, (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Marietta Islands) who earn money from within the 50 states either as workers or from a business but live in the US for less than a certain period each year, are also considered to have taxable income. However, their paychecks can in fact be directly taxed, because the Rule of Apportionment does not hold for the territories and possessions. They are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the local Congressional jurisdiction. They are mentioned frequently in the IRS Code, as “non-resident aliens” and they are made liable for income tax. Resident Aliens on the other hand, are generally given the same rights as citizens. These non resident aliens who earn a paycheck can be considered a flight risk, and may not simply fill out a tax form in April, so they can have taxes deducted from their wages on a Form W-4. This is not an excise tax, but is a direct tax, but does not come from Article 1, Sec 8, but rather Article IV, sec 2.

    There are numerous, numerous historical and court cites that discuss how an excise tax is a tax on a privilege, not on property. I understand you do not want to believe this, it shatters the myths you have held dear. If you are a tax professional earning an income from the income tax, it could cause you pangs of conscience. I leave that up to you.

    I also leave you with the definition of Income tax and excise tax from the IRS own Manual.
    IRM , MT 9900-26 (1-29-75)

    340
    Excise Taxes
    341 Definition and Purposes
    (1) Definition-An excise tax is a duty or impost levied upon the manufacture, sale, or consumption of commodities with the country, and upon CERTAIN occupations. (caps and emphasis added)

    342 Excise and Income Taxes Distinguished

    342.1
    BASE
    Income taxes are based on net income or NET PROFITS, and are graduated. Excise taxes are not graduated, and they can be based upon any of the following factors: selling price of merchandise or facilities; services sold or used; number, weight, or volume of units sold; and NATURE OF OCCUPATION. (caps and emphasis added).

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