Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Moral Derpitude

Moral Derpitude is a legal concept in the United States and some other countries that refers to conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of intelligence, rationality or good sense.

OK, so I just made that up. But there are plenty of places to apply it. Take, for instance, the case of Mark Weston writing for Time magazine, who ran an op-ed today under the title "65 Million Americans Should Threaten to Not Pay Taxes". His reasoning, such as it is, is that he's very butt-hurt that Hillary Clinton did not win the Presidential election (decided as it has always been, by the Electoral College) and therefore all Hillary voters now find themselves victims of "taxation without representation"[1]. Ignore for a moment that he doesn't know what that phrase means. What he can't get through politics, he would seek through extortion.

Before you ask... why yes... I do believe he drank a large can of dumb-ass this morning.

There is no rational explanation for how such foolishness could make it into Time. I'm not responding here because it needs refutation or any action. I'm only writing so that I have something convenient to point to for those who think he wrote something clever.

Weston is apparently unaware that this is a strategy that has been touted by others, and which has failed every single time it has ever made it into a courtroom. And Lord knows, enough backwoods survivalist log-cabin lawyers have tried it. Perhaps some of them are itching to welcome the citified-tinfoil-hatted-Leftist-suddenly-turned-small-government fanatics into their ranks. Personally, I congratulate Weston on finding yet another way to demonstrate that there is absolutely no conceptual difference between the tribes on the extreme Left and Right of the political spectrum.

I'll give you the punchline and let you read his missive yourself without suspense:
The beauty of a no-taxation pledge is that it almost certainly won’t have to be carried out. The mere threat could be enough to propel a Constitutional amendment. If millions sign now, Republicans will know that a third modern Republican runner-up presidency is impossible; Democrats will not be cooperative again.
What you see while reading through his proposal is that the "mere threat" he poses is as mere as it gets... it's actually a "threat" of nothing. For instance,
  • He ignores that most people who file taxes do so in order to recoup some of the money they've already paid in through payroll deductions. None of them will participate.
  • Likewise, he has hypocritically given no thought to the people served by the government agencies he would attempt to starve of cash. That's hardly a real concern as you'll see, but the fact remains that he's given them no thought. 
  • He suggests that people pay their local and state taxes anyway, which necessarily includes a declaration of income. This makes it a practical impossibility to justify non-payment. In some states (such as South Carolina) your taxable income is determined by your Federal tax return. You're simply told to copy that amount to your State return. In those states, merely filing local taxes is a literal declaration of Federal tax liability.
  • Nevertheless, Weston suggests that millions upon millions of people file taxes and then give the money away to a non-government entity. AS IF THAT MATTERED. He is of the naive opinion that you can give the "tax money" to a third party to make it untouchable, and that doing so gives you the power to say, "your money is over there... good luck getting it!" It doesn't even slow them down. There is no special "tax money" that the IRS has to go get. If you give your tax payment away, you still owe just as much money to the IRS as before, no excuses. No buts. And the IRS has access to your house, your car, all of your property, and any disposable income you may be using to live on, and they do not need a court order to take it. Lacking anything else, they have access to YOU, and will cheerfully lock you up, as you'd have already provided the ample evidence in the form of a state tax return. In other words, you'd have just given your money away for nothing
  • He ignores that nearly all taxes are paid by the richest few percent. While there are a great many filthy-rich Democrats as well as Republicans, that kind of big money is what the IRS would target first. The low-income blue collar worker will either not participate or cave at the first audit letter, and those owing large sums aren't stupid enough to let it go that far. The IRS would not need to audit 65 million people. Just a few would do it. Ask Wesley Snipes how things work out when you get all clever and "outsmart" the IRS.
  • Considering that your reputation and job will go right along with your conviction, Federal tax evasion is simply stupid... not clever or cute.
  • Weston forgets that you must actually be credible to be threatening.
Weston is fantasizing. Seriously, he's written a government fanfic in which he is Mary Sue. But I'm not going to tell you not to listen to him. On the contrary, I'm just evil enough to want to see you march in his parade if you think he has the slightest thing on the ball. I'm heavily into schadenfreude when it comes to people like this, and it would make my day to see the look on his face when he realizes that today was the day his brain died.

Again: The IRS does not need you to give them the money. They can just take it. Hiding it doesn't mean you don't owe it, or that you've cleverly "paid" it with conditions. And no one is interested in your pipe-dreams. Remember, this is a system put in place by big-government Progressives who decry the fat cats and one-percenters who would skip out on "their fair share". It was designed and empowered by people like Weston to be absolutely merciless toward people like Weston. To be completely frank, such a scheme doesn't work because most Americans aren't that stupid.

We have an Electoral College, and part of its purpose is to assert the Federal nature of our government, balancing the influence of the population as a whole against that of the individual States. On several occasions it has done exactly what it was intended to do[2]. When that happens it is simply childish to cry foul. So if you want to not pay taxes, then grow up. Elect people who will lower your taxes. Trust the People with control of their own lives. If you think that taxes should be high or higher, fair enough... stow the hypocrisy and pay them yourself. Then we can have a discussion to determine what's an acceptable balance.

But if you want to use taxes as a weapon, fuck you.  The worst of the slimy politicians think taxes are weapons. When in power, they direct the IRS to target their enemies and tie them up with audits. They control the States with strings-attached Federal funding. They control the populace the same way, with "incentives" that are later deemed "loopholes" when they're used. And when not in power, they want to lazily employ the same weapon in reverse. And they're too stupid to see the problems they incite and perpetuate through their moral derpitude.

[1] Note: I didn't vote for Trump, either. 
[2] In 1800 the election went so far as to be decided by the House of Representatives... one vote per state. Being elected by a decisive majority of electors is nothing by comparison.

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