Tyranny is no longer ‘lurking’

Cal Thomas's picture

Given last week’s revelation that the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, it’s worth recalling President Obama’s Ohio State University commencement address. The president decried “voices” warning “that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.”

It’s no longer lurking. It’s here.

Testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee by the outgoing acting IRS commissioner, Steve Miller, as well as numerous statements by individuals claiming they have been harassed and intimidated by IRS agents, reveal a government agency out of control, or more precisely, under the control of political hacks.

It’s doubtful this was a freelance operation. J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified he knew as early as June 2012 that the IRS was targeting conservatives, but did nothing to stop it during the presidential campaign. Who else knew?

The delay in tax exemption approval prevented some conservative groups from donating money to the Romney campaign or to groups supporting his candidacy. The IRS even asked one tea party group in Richmond to identify all of their financial donors and volunteers.

There is a simple way to restrain the IRS so this type of intrusion doesn’t happen again: get rid of it. That’s what Steve Forbes proposed in his run for president in 1996 and 2000. So did former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Forbes proposed a flat tax of 17 percent and a simple tax code. Individuals could file their tax returns on a post card.

“In the late 1800s, when Congress first attempted to impose an income tax, the notion of taxing a citizen’s hard work was considered radical,” Paul wrote in 2001. “Public outcry ensued; more importantly, the Supreme Court ruled the income tax unconstitutional. Only with passage of the 16th Amendment did Congress gain the ability to tax the productive endeavors of its citizens.” And tax it did. And waste it did.

Paul contends the income tax amounts to only about one-third of federal revenue. I’m willing to wager that if nonessential government agencies and programs were eliminated and those remaining were reformed, or privatized, the savings would more than make up for the revenue loss.

Congressional Democrats — and some Republicans — will be reluctant to propose such a “radical” solution, because too many focus on revenue and not enough on misspending and dysfunctional agencies and programs.

The testimony that came out of the recent House Ways and Means Committee hearing is just a part of what constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead writes about in his new book, “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.” It sounds alarmist, but reading it should sound an alarm for every American.

The summary on the book jacket says Whitehead “paints a chilling portrait of a nation in the final stages of transformation into a police state.” Examples include the growing number of “surveillance cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT raids, roadside strip searches, blood draws at DUI checkpoints, drones, GPS tracking devices, zero tolerance policies, over-criminalization, and free speech zones.”

In his introduction to the book, writer and First Amendment authority Nat Hentoff says: “... I believe we are in a worse state now than ever before in this country. With the surveillance state closing in on us, we are fighting to keep our country free from our own government.”

Like most tyrannies, this one is being ushered in with a smile. The public is told it is for our “security” and that it’s good for us. With taxation, we are told the government “needs” our money and if we complain they are taking too much and wasting it, we’re thought to be “greedy” and “unfair.”

Thomas Jefferson foresaw what can happen when power corrupts: “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

Jefferson would see the IRS scandal and Whitehead’s warnings as prime examples. Repeal the 16th Amendment, eliminate the IRS, put the government back within its constitutional boundaries and tyranny will be defeated.

[Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist, appearing in more than 600 national newspapers. He is the author of more than 10 books and is a FOX News political contributor since 1997. Email Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.] ©2013 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

vortex100's picture
Joined: 07/04/2012
You call this tyranny?

A friend's parents lived in East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain in the 1970's, had a lot to say to me about living in tyranny and laughed a little when they read this article. The hyperbole is palpable. Cal has no idea what real tyranny and oppression looks like. He can only speculate and conjure is his mind the boogeymen that are out to get him.

This minor scandal-let can be easily handled in our society with some well worded legislation to control those agencies that get out-of-hand in this way. While the work of some low-level IRS workers in Ohio delayed some minor conservative group from getting approval for non-profit status, no groups of any sort seemed to have been out-right denied that status. There has been no evidence linking this activity directly to the President or his campaign, and the GOP admits there will likely never be any direct links. Sure, there is speculation and even some proof, there was an "atmosphere" of bias against the Tea Party and other far right groups that led to these abuses, but nothing more.

This is not real tyranny, and it certainly is not leading to any.

conditon55's picture
Joined: 03/12/2010
You drank the kool aid and now your brain is gone.

Predsident Richard M Nixon ran a dirty tricks operation out of the oval office. He diliberately targeted his opponents.
Iterestingly a side bar comment, he sign the bill into law that created the Environmental Protection Agency and he was the first modern President to visit China - a communist country.
Do you want him impeached ?

On their forms to claim tax exempt status the tea party claimed its primary role is education not politics. If their primary function is politics, then they cannot be tax exempt. So the education organization promots candiates for public office. What are they called? Teachers ?

What was the 'targeting of concervative gorups? They asked them questions about thier educational activities ?

I heard similar liberal psuedo political educational groups where 'tegreted' too. Is their outcrying about that? No ? Why not ?

Are you asking for a simpler tax code ? Where is the GOP and Tea Party cry for simplified tax code ? No, why not ?

S. Lindsey
S. Lindsey's picture
Joined: 12/31/2008
There's that "I heard" again....

...mind sharing with us C55 just where you "heard" Liberal groups were targeted and mind telling us which groups you "heard" they were?

S. Lindsey
S. Lindsey's picture
Joined: 12/31/2008
Yeah...didn't think so.

Well I heard C55 that you are just blowing smoke and have no facts to back-up your absurd assumptions and I heard that Obama is going to be giving out million dollar bills at the Starbucks in PTC on Sunday... Pickup one for me will ya...?

Oh and btw...

conditon55 wrote:

Predsident Richard M Nixon ran a dirty tricks operation out of the oval office. He diliberately targeted his opponents.
Iterestingly a side bar comment, he sign the bill into law that created the Environmental Protection Agency and he was the first modern President to visit China - a communist country.
Do you want him impeached ?

I heard..Nixon is dead... You might not know that either...but I heard you can channel him on Halloween if you dance naked in the moonlight.

Give it a try...makes more sense then what you are spouting here.

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