America 3.0 will not have Federal income tax. Or so we hope.
The recent disclosures regarding the despicable malfeasance of the Internal Revenue Service provide support for a specific argument we make in America 3.0.
In a recent WSJ article entitled A Brief History of IRS Political Targeting, James Bovard provides a damning quote the book A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power (1990) “In almost every administration since the IRS’s inception the information and power of the tax agency have been mobilized for explicitly political purposes.”
The assertion that IRS employees in Cincinnati embarked on a localized rogue operation was preposterous on its face. The IRS employees did what their bosses told them to do. There is no incentive for a low level bureaucrat to do anything innovative and spontaneous, ever, for any reason. This case is no exception.
The problem here is not personnel. It is not whether the directive to harass Tea Party groups originated in the White House. It is not whether firing someone as a ritual sacrifice will assuage the public.
It is much bigger than that.
The IRS is structurally and inevitably a pathological organization that is destructive of our liberty. The people who work there, without regard to their personal morals, face pernicious incentives. That is one of the most poisonous things about bureaucracy. Ordinary, decent people end up participating in destructive policies and processes with no personal malice and even with little or no personal fault.
The power the IRS possesses, like every power granted to government, will be abused. And the IRS possesses enormous power, and the temptation to abuse that power will prevail, inevitably and frequently and destructively.
That is why, in our book, we argue for the abolition of the IRS.
The information routinely gathered by the IRS on law-abiding citizens is abusive and out of step with liberty and privacy. The routine gathering of personal information on every taxpayer is an affront to the letter and spirit of the Fourth Amendment. Yet we have come to accept this as normal and tolerable.
It isn’t, and we shouldn’t.
The required disclosure of personal economic information required in filing tax forms constitutes perhaps the largest single invasion of civil liberties in America, violating the spirit of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against search and seizure of personal information without a judicial warrant. … Ending income taxation will end this circumvention of the Bill of Rights, one which has been used again and again to political advantage by unscrupulous presidential administrations.
Repealing the 16th Amendment, ending the income tax, and abolishing the IRS are indeed ambitious goals. At the moment, they appear to be impossible goals. Americans are not yet ready to think this big. But these are goals worth pursuing, and what is possible is not set in stone. Today’s impossible can become tomorrow’s inevitable.
Destroying the files of the Internal Revenue Service would be the largest restoration of privacy since the destruction of the records of the East German Stasi and other Eastern European secret police services, possibly more so since the Stasi spied only on part of its population but the IRS is interested in everyone who makes any money at all.
Replacing the existing code with a VAT or sales tax would require different rules and procedures, and eliminating the existing IRS and creating a new organization from scratch would be a step in the right direction.
We should begin thinking and planning today for a successor method of Federal taxation, and a new organization with no track record to fund the smaller, more focused, more transparent federal government we will need for the 21st Century, the era of America 3.0.