Belmont Club

"Pay to Play" vs "Pay to Pay"

The problem with becoming a taxpayer is that it puts you in the system. You become a database record, and there’s no end to the uses that government can put that too. A proposed bill would allow the State Department to “deny, revoke or limit a passport for any individual whom the Internal Revenue Service has certified as having a ‘seriously delinquent tax debt’ in excess of $50,000. The amount would be adjusted for inflation in future years.”  The provision was part of a larger amendment by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. to fund a highway bill.

Senator Reid may wish to reconsider.  Some well known public figures may be inconvenienced, but with any luck, not too many.

Sharpton owes $359,973 to the IRS for 2009 personal income tax, according to documents on file with the city.

Public records show he owes a total of $3.7 million in city, state and federal taxes, including penalties, dating to 2002. But Sharpton’s spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger, said that he had paid back “well over seven figures” as part of agreements with the state and IRS and that the liens remained on the books as “a matter of bureaucracy.”

Sharpton made $250,000 as head of the nonprofit National Action Network in 2009, a year that ended with the group owing $1.1 million in taxes and having just $36,397 cash on hand.

The organization also pays for first-class or charter travel for Sharpton and other NAN staff, according to its 2009 tax return. Noerdlinger declined to say for whom.

Databases hold no terrors to those who write the ‘where’ clauses. For example, you need ID to buy a beer but certainly shouldn’t be asked for ID to vote. The first is a select clause ‘where age is greater than a legal minimum’. The second is a select without a where clause at all. And anyone who suggests otherwise should be boycotted.  Walmart and Coca-cola are being punished for even suggesting it.

Democratic officials Wednesday launched a two-pronged attack on states with new laws requiring identification before voting, the highlight being a call to boycott Coke, Walmart and others that back a leading organization pushing for voter ID laws.

Coke was quick to react to the political boycott threat, pulling support from the targeted group just five hours after it was called. Walmart said that support for a group does not mean it backs every decision by those groups.

At issue: Liberal claims that some states are trying to keep minority voters from the polls via voter ID laws, a suggestion conservatives call silly.

“We are organizing. We are not agonizing,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., who is leading a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee effort to get government identification into the hands of the estimated 2-3 million Democrats who don’t have one. “We have staffed up,” he said.

One way to escape this hassle is not to join the system at all. Many Americans will never have to worry about getting their passport canceled for tax reasons because they don’t pay any. The Daily Mail reports: “Only half of U.S. citizens pay federal income tax, according to the latest available figures. In 2009, just 50.5 per cent of Americans paid any income tax to the federal government – the lowest proportion in at least half a century.”

They’re outside of the system. Government knows that they’re a dry hole and forgets about them.  Unless of course, they accept welfare. Then government can tell them what to do. Anybody who takes the taxpayer dollar assumes an awesome obligation. For example,  John Aravosis of America Blog Gay argues that Mormons, Catholics and other religious extremists are persecuting the American taxpayer by taking government money and refusing to give gays and lesbians what they want. He writes:

They’re just a church, the Salvation Army claims, when they take your money each Christmas and use some of it to lobby against the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

They’re not just a church when they’re the only hospital in town. They’re not just a church when they’re using taxpayer funds to discriminate against taxpayers …

So what’s next? If Catholic hospitals are permitted to discriminate against their non-Catholic employees in health care, then I assume they should be able to discriminate in who they hire. And who they serve.

The taxpayer dollar — the King’s Shilling — is a dangerous thing to accept. It is also a dangerous thing to start paying. In either case, you’re in the system. You’ve got the TIN, which as every database user knows, is the primary key for you and yours.

Aravosis’ article on the stern duties of those who take the taxpayer dollar revive quaint memories of the Royal Navy’s press gangs. These were bodies of burly men who combed the countryside for crews to man the warships. “Often men were knocked unconscious or threatened and often violent fights broke out as groups tried to prevent friends or workmates being impressed into service. When the press gang had seized a man, he was offered the ‘King’s shilling.'” Once he took it, the man was legally theirs. Often the wary man refused it. But then they took another tack and offered the man recently escaped from their clutches a friendly drink.

“There are reports that the “King’s shilling” was hidden in the bottom of a pewter tankard (having drunk his pint, the unfortunate drinker found that he had unwittingly accepted the King’s offer), and that this gave rise to glass-bottomed tankards. This may be a myth.

So too perhaps, might be the improvements to the highways that Harry Reid is proposing. But the world thrives on myth. Some myths are more equal than others, but one thing that is all too real is the King’s Shilling. Pay it — or take it — and join the parade.

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