Seriously, what is this country coming to?
A new enforcement provision passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this month allows the government to revoke the passports of seriously delinquent tax scofflaws — people who owe more than $50,000 to Uncle Sam.
As with many such first steps, the limits seem high enough that most people won’t be able to imagine themselves in such circumstances, but this is an obnoxious line to cross. Primarily, it reinforces the sense that American government is mainly a money-confiscation scheme targeted at its people.
That’s a more fundamental problem than just concern that Uncle Sam has become a shakedown artist; it changes the relationship of people to their government. Government of, by, and for the people begins to look like something else when owing the government money becomes grounds for restricting their ability to travel.
Worse yet, as Investors Business Daily suggests, the IRS just can’t be trusted. The agency targeted groups for political reasons on the non-profit side and has suffered no consequences and has taken to confiscating people’s money simply because agents find small cash transactions suspicious. Worse, the corrupt organization essentially determines its own rules and polices itself.
Citizens of the United States can have no expectation that the IRS will apply this rule evenly, fairly, or honestly. A few trumped up allegations, potentially no more significant than a computer glitch, could find anybody who opposes the ruling regime in the cross hairs, while those on the preferred side have their transgressions overlooked.
Even when the country doesn’t have a president who jokes about using audits as a weapon, the IRS is many steps beyond its prudent boundaries.