Thursday, 13 October 2011

Hannibal Lecter, the IRS, and the Fed

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Oh happy day! A check from the government! No, not a welfare check or a “stimulus” check, but a refund check to your editor from the U.S. Department of the Treasury — for tax year 2007. Seems the IRS — a division of the Treasury — with which this scribbler has had a running feud, has surrendered. After years of dunning me with claims that I owe thousands in back taxes and penalties, the good folks at the IRS have shown mercy; they have agreed with me that I overpaid my taxes. And they have generously deigned to return several thousand dollars of my meager salary that they had previously confiscated — with interest, no less!

What’s not to love about a government so kind, and munificent? Of course, in order to obtain the refund (of my own money), yours truly was forced to spend a couple hundred hours of indentured servitude researching, copying, and documenting records and receipts. Not to mention hundreds of dollars in accounting fees. Even worse though is the incredible invasion of privacy one faces for the decision to itemize deductions and business expenses, in the hope of retaining a fraction more of one’s hard-earned income. But after all, Big Brother must know of, and approve of, every penny earned and spent by the taxpayer — to keep us all honest, and keep us all paying our “fair share,” so that the government can keep doing all the wonderful things it does for us, right? That’s the “American way,” yes?

Well, no. The income tax is a very un-American — even anti-American — thing, despite the fact that it has been with us for nearly a century and most Americans have come to accept it as a necessary evil. The graduated income tax is, in fact, an artifact of Wilsonian Marxism, adopted from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto by President Woodrow Wilson and his allies in Congress in 1913. We exaggerate not. It’s easy enough to find Marx’s Manifesto on the Internet. Check it and you will see that Comrade Karl listed 10 “measures” that must be adopted to establish communism. Number two on the list of requirements is: “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.” ?

But back to our story… Naturally, your correspondent was elated at the sudden and unexpected repatriation of the long-impounded earnings. Even greater than the elation over the sudden windfall, however, was the relief that the federal constabulary would not be descending on my domicile to break down our doors, drag me away in chains, and confiscate the family treasure (such as it is) — down to the last farthing, including the spavined plough horse, our first-born child, the moldy seed grain, and whatever stray crumbs or bezoars might remain.

As one might expect, I made a beeline for the bank. Having read a news story or two, I was somewhat aware that the U.S. government is slightly deeper in debt than the Greek government. Surely, there would be no funds in the Treasury to cash my check. The bank, knowing this, would undoubtedly reject the check as a worthless, never-to-be-paid I.O.U.

I should have known better. No problem. The check cleared like a charm, cashed immediately. Amazing! How do they do this? The federal cupboard is beyond bare; it is an abyss of debt descending trillions of dollars into the netherworld. Nevertheless, presto, mirabile dictu — and here’s your cash. Alan “The Maestro” Greenspan must be right; the government can simply print more and more money — and more, in saecula saeculorum.

What about Rudyard Kipling’s corollary, which explains the disastrous inflationary results that inevitably follow promiscuous monetary policies: “But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: ‘If you don’t work you die.’”

Well, the good, all-knowing folks who run the federal government have thoughtfully provided thee and me with answers to these and innumerable other imponderables. In fact, the envelope that brought me my refund check also came with this information emblazoned on it: “Learn ways to manage your money — MyMoney.gov”

Hey, who better to tell you how to manage your money than the folks who’ve already managed it into a $14.7-plus trillion black hole? After all, if you were searching for a leader for your son’s Cub Scout pack, would you not seek the expert services of Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy? Or if in need of a tutor in table etiquette, would not Hannibal Lecter top the list? A teacher of virtue for your young daughters? The Marquis de Sade, of course.

“MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education.... You will find important information from 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help you make smart financial choices.” Big promises and lots of information here from the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, Treasury, etc. — the Dahmer-Gacy-Lecter-Sade school of money management — all the folks who love to “manage” our money, and who do it so well.

Photo: William F. Jasper