February 6, 2006
Should truth be required at tax time?
By Jim Babka
T. Coleman Andrews was IRS Commissioner from 1953-1955. A look at the workings of the IRS, way back then, repulsed him so much he couldn’t remain silent. In April, 1956, he gave an interview to U.S. News & World Report. Mr. Andrews would’ve loved the Read the Bills Act, as will be demonstrated in a moment. He also has another suggestion for truth at tax time that is just delicious. Andrews was so opposed to the Income Tax that he ran for President in 1956. He only appeared on the ballot in couple of states and so only got 107,000 votes (.17%, nationwide). However, he managed to win two counties, one in Virginia and one in Tennessee! Here is some of what candidate Andrews had to say… "People are kidding themselves. They don't have the buying power they used to have. A lot of the people living today don't know what the buying power of success was before we decided to use excessive income taxes to punish success and estate and gift taxes to force every generation to start from scratch." He was asked, “Do you think the corporation income tax should be abolished altogether?” to which he replied, “"I would hope... because it costs entirely too much to administer and the cost... is pure waste... Moreover, the gap between the individual and the corporation is driving small business right into the maw of big business. At the present rate, we soon won't have anything but big business, and the situation will be just right for the final move to a completely socialistic government." Which brings us to his “delicious” proposal… “Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what's happening to him." Frankly, I can’t think of any reason not to be fond of this idea. Keep in mind that during the 1950s Americans were being taught that Communism was the most dangerous enemy to the American way of life. They were fighting a Cold War, much like we’re fighting a War on Terror today. Yet, here are the ten planks of Marx suggested for implementation of the Communist agenda:
  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries…
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
Hey, at least we don’t have “agricultural armies” and we’re permitted some inheritance! What would the effect be if these planks were placed on the cover of the IRS’s 1040 manual? What if Congress passed a law requiring such a distribution? Would so-called “voluntary compliance” go up? Would the public clamor for an end to this tax? It might be fun to find out. Coleman also seemed to be a fan of the Read the Bills Act, albeit 50 years early! Consider these statements:
  • "I have had members of Congress tell me frankly that they just don't have time to give thorough consideration to a good deal of what comes before them for attention."
  • "I've had some of those men tell me they had to depend absolutely upon the staffs of their committees for advice as to what to do."
  • "Our tax laws are not made by members of Congress... nor by the committees of Congress... but by the staff members of the tax committees. That's true of all legislation."
  • "...they began to discover that while the law was simple it was unjust, and they had to do something about it, they began to add on all kinds of fancy gimmicks, gadgets and thou-shalt-nots, until it now adds up to the point where it's so complicated that noboby can understand it... I say to you that any law that isn't understood even by the people who pass it, let alone by those subjected to it, shouldn't be imposed."
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