We taxpayers are supposed to be down upon our knees thanking “massah
gov’ment” for having passed the IRS Overhaul Bill into law. The IRS is
reformed and will no longer terrorize taxpayers. They have put in place
a whole series of measures for our protection, and we are now safe from
the IRS. So let’s hear it for “massah gov’ment,” courageously
protecting us from the thugs they sent to terrorize us in the first

I’m sorry, but I am not overjoyed at this supposed relief, because I
don’t believe it is real. Let’s take one example. Much is being made
of the famous switch that has occurred in the burden of proof under the
new law. Under the old system, the burden of proof was on the
taxpayer. In disputes with the IRS there has been a “rebuttable
presumption” that the IRS’ determination of tax liability is correct.
In other words, it is up to the taxpayer to show that the agency is
wrong. Now, under the new system, that has supposedly changed. Here is
how the Washington Post describes the new situation: “In court
proceedings, the burden of proof will be on the IRS with respect to a
factual issue. …”

Isn’t that wonderful? Except that the Post goes on to say, “if the
taxpayer produces credible evidence to support his or her position.”
That means the burden of proof is still on us. When I read something
like this, I realize that our lawmakers think we are very stupid
people. They are jockeying to take credit for a bill that says that the
burden of proof is now on the IRS, so long as we can prove that we are
innocent. What does this say about their opinion of our capacity for
passing reasoned judgment on what they do?

Our leaders increasingly now count on getting away with treating the
American people as stupid and gullible. They are confident that the
slogans will win out, and that all they have to do is organize
impressive enough Rose Garden signing ceremonies when they pass these
phony things into law, and we will sit back, breathe a sigh of relief,
and continue happily under the slave tax system that is the income tax.
And sadly, for a number of people in this country that is exactly what
will happen.

The IRS overhaul bill that President Clinton signed last week is a
charade. The fact that the Republican leadership are in unseemly
competition with the President to claim what they believe to be
politically advantageous credit shouldn’t fool us into thinking
otherwise. Various administrative and procedural changes, intended to
humanize the actions of this inherently tyrannical agency, are being
elaborately damned with faint praise as “the most fundamental overhaul
of the IRS in the past thirty years.” So what?

What is amusing about the new law is that any account of why it was
necessary automatically emphasizes the tyrannical tendencies to which
the agency is necessarily prone. Now they have to tell us before they
file for liens to take our house. But what kind of agency would need to
be “reformed” in that way? Obviously, one that is prone to take our
things without even the appearance of due process. Now they have added
that appearance. Again, so what?

The bipartisan slave master has stood up and announced to us slaves
the plantation that the overseers will now treat us more kindly. He has
called us all together and said “I’ve written it down so that everybody
will know — the overseers on this plantation will now treat you better.

They will have to listen to you before they beat you. And they will
have to seem to care a little bit before they expropriate your goods
using illegitimate means. So please go back to your labors and wear
your chains now with a greater sense of comfort.”

They may follow up this “reform” by determining for a while that we
keep a little more of our money. They want us to feel comfortable right
now, because the tide that’s rising in the country isn’t just a tide in
favor of lower taxes. People are seriously raising the question about
the whole existence of the income tax. The public reaction to last
fall’s congressional hearings warned the politicians that the people are
beginning to realize that the income tax itself is the problem, and so
the politicians are joining forces to diffuse the anti-income tax
sentiment that is rising in the country

President Clinton’s cynical decision to support IRS “reform” should
the giveaway that the politicians aren’t really concerned with taming
the IRS — they are concerned with keeping us tame. Our chains won’t be
off until the income tax is dead and gone. As long as it exists, we are
wage slaves of the government, and we earn at the behest and with the
sufferance of those who are supposed to represent us but who in fact now
rule over us.

We should seize the moment to push for the restoration of the regime
the economic liberty under which the country was founded. The income
tax should be replaced with a national sales tax, so that the government
can no longer invade the most private aspects of our economic life, but
must instead depend on the transactions that we conduct in the public
marketplace, at a place, time and under conditions of our own choosing.

A free people does not line up to report its income to government
overseers and then meekly submit to the retention of whatever portion
the government determines — it’s that simple. The income tax is
fundamentally incompatible with liberty, and the only “overhaul” of
federal income taxation that we should be concerned with is the
abolition of that slave tax itself.

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