AUGUST 13, 2001
Taxing debate
© 2001

Bob Schulz from We The People ended his recent hunger strike when, with the help and assistance of Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, the government agreed to meet and answer questions about the federal income tax. Schulz reportedly is going to get his long-sought opportunity to ask the seminal questions about what law requires us to pay income tax.

For over 10 years I have been interviewing a wide spectrum of people who question the validity of the income tax and even the ratification of the 16th Amendment: Bill Benson, Red Beckman, Devvy Kidd, Larry Becraft, Eustas Mullins, Joan Peters and former IRS agent Joe Banister.

In the wake of the hearings announcement, I received a lot of e-mail like this one:

"It's a good time for Bob Schulz, Bill Benson, Devvy Kidd, Larry Becraft, Red Beckman, Joe Banister and all of those named as witnesses (and their family members), to check their level of life insurance coverage. Their risk of fatal illness, accident, suicide and supposedly random violence, has just increased at least 10 fold. Extortion is also a very real risk. I may be paranoid, but look at how many people died that knew too much about Clinton. I believe that the same organization that protected Clinton and arranged Vince Foster's suicide, are going to try to prevent or subvert this event. A lot can 'happen' in two months."

I don't buy it. If anything (and some recent over-the-top unsigned propaganda literature suggests) evil happens between now and the scheduled Sept. 25-26 hearings, it will more than likely be the work of some agent provocateur doing something criminal and tragic that implicates the core of the "tax honesty" movement.

If there is another OKC-type tragedy presumably launched by vilified "patriots," it will in all likelihood be the work of some rogue, misguided government group trying (and probably succeeding) to undermine the credibility of the academic questions to be raised in September.

Frankly it would be both stupid and counterproductive for any group trying to get answers out of the federal government about these tax questions to do anything (procedurally or crazy) before the government has used their opportunity to "prove all these 'crazy' tax protestors flat-out wrong."

I have interviewed most of the participants in the forthcoming hearings and read more of the collateral material than anyone would want or need to read. I have said for years that as an academic exercise Bill Benson et al. are right; the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified. However, as a reality check there is no way, no how that the government can or would concede that. If they try to "fix" it (and they could in a New York second) some wag, or some hundreds of thousands of wags would litigate for "interest and penalties" of the trillions of dollars illegally taken by the federal government thus far.

If you read the May 2000 letter from Orrin Hatch's attorney Warren Richardson you get a keener insight into the validity of seminal questions being asked.

The Bartlett-precipitated hearings in September are a very big deal. I hope I can be there to observe the historic exchange. However, the danger facing Schulz et al. is not from some nefarious black-ops assassin but rather from the process and the clock.

Concurrent with the late-September hearings, expected to fill two days, Congress will be voting on a whole bunch of end-of-year stuff. Those Congress critters participating will have to excuse themselves periodically and frequently to vote on various legislation. There will be delays -- lots of them.

The tax honesty folks are to submit the first-tier questions to the government prior to the hearings. IRS and DOJ officials will respond to the questions, and there is supposed to be two rounds of responding to the responses and responding to the responses of the responses. I predict there will be long, long answers. Time-consuming, filibustering-long answers that will eat up the clock and become exacerbated by ubiquitous recesses so that Congress folk can leave to vote and return. Add in a couple of two-hour lunch breaks and the hearings may well become an exercise in form over substance.

Bob Schulz tells us they are organizing teams of researchers and lawyers to handle the questioning and the exercise.

I have often noted that if in fact we are compelled by law to pay income tax and the 16th Amendment was in fact properly and legally ratified (and it wasn't), then the government should be able to conclude their response in less than five minutes by merely stating, stanza and verse, where the law is, and how it applies:

The stonewalling, obfuscation, intimidation, litigation, storm-trooper siege mentality and abuse of power suggests the reason the government does not respond clearly and simply is because it cannot.

I hope to broadcast my syndicated radio talk program from D.C. the week of the hearings and hope we can also arrange to make videos of the event available to anyone who wants them.

We are not sure yet from where I will be broadcasting. The Heritage Foundation maintains radio studios in its Washington offices and, upon request, makes them available to virtually all radio hosts visiting the nation's capital. I've used their facilities in the past and have maintained a long-term good relationship with Heritage. Or so I thought. However, in the wake of WorldNetDaily's series on then Labor Secretary-nominee Elaine Chao, who used to work for Heritage, and her cozy relationship with Beijing, the venerable conservative think tank is apparently still PO'd about the reports. Since I work for WND, I'm a victim of their "shoot the messenger" policy.

When I contacted Heritage to request their broadcast facility I knew they were ticked at the Elaine Chao stories, but I didn't know how deep or petty their antipathy was. Apparently the leadership of the organization worked to get WorldNetDaily Editor Joseph Farah dis-invited to speak to another group in Washington. Interestingly, the leadership also declined to take up WND's invitation to set the record straight about any facts that were misrepresented in the reports.

Now this.

Sunlight is still the best disinfectant. However, I have a visceral feeling that there may be an unprecedented eclipse Sept. 25-26.

It was liberal Democrat John F. Kennedy who once said, "Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom."

Thomas Jefferson said, "If we run into such [government] debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-suffers."

Regardless of whatever does or does not result from the September hearings, it will be history -- government's defense of the indefensible and a for-real (although no-doubt heavily spun) response to grievances.

Film at 11? Maybe.