cartoon by Gibbleguts
The Tax Movement
"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward."
John Maynard Keynes
The "Tax Movement" is made up of millions of Americans who have discovered that, bottom line, the written laws do not say or support what the vast majority of people believe they do. It is quite shocking to read the written law for oneself and find that it does not say what your CPA, attorney, tax advisor, or Congressman seem to believe it does. It is even more shocking to confront these folks with simple questions, only to encounter stonewalling and backpedaling as opposed to receiving the clear, reasonable answers one should expect.
Many discover the shocking truth while themselves being brutalized at the hands of ignorant or arrogant bureaucrats who show all the compassion of a pack of sharks. The abuses of the IRS are both legion and legendary. These abuses have been largely responsible for awakening and outraging many Americans who, either out of principle or having nothing left to lose, have dedicated their full time and resources to exposing and fighting this corruption. A small, uncertain percentage of Americans seems to have awakened to a set of disquieting, even horrifying facts about a web of constructive fraud spun by government over several decades. Many of these Americans do not wish to live this way; some find themselves with little choice, having already become targets of (at least) financial destruction.
In consequence of this situation, there has arisen quite a number of knowledgeable and experienced people and organizations around the country, which are actively exposing the corruption and fighting it on both administrative and judicial levels. As in all avenues of human behavior, there are disagreements, as well as judgments made as to the skills, correctness, motives and integrity of the "players". Because the underlying problem is well established in my mind, I prefer to think of all those in the battle as my allies, in spite of minor or even major disagreements with their views or strategies. Given the gravity of the issues in this movement, it is possible, perhaps even probable, that there are people who are carrying on deliberate campaigns of disinformation; indeed, who may promote programs and services designed specifically to deceive and entrap the unwary. Some people seem to have no scruples. Some appear to have such a need to be important in the eyes of others that they will make almost any representations to achieve that end; facts which do not contribute to their personal "importance" somehow are ignored or expediently manipulated. Then there is the complexity of the subject matter and the desperate mindset of many who are forced to investigate it. All in all, it's an environment ripe for abuse and serious damage to the unwary. With regard to the presence or activities of actual traitors or "agents provocateur", I personally have only the most circumstantial evidence and wild allegations to go on, and thus can make no meaningful comment.
How does one separate the "opportunist" from one who has a legitimate service to offer for a price? This is a very difficult matter to address. In the "Tax Movement", there is an exploding number of "experts", "gurus", and organizations which offer "tax answers", "tax solutions", and "tax freedom". Most will tell you that "they" have it figured out and are having "great success" against the "unlawful actions of the IRS". Others say they have uncovered the "mysteries" of the law, have judges "shaking in their boots", the IRS "removing liens and levies", and employers ceasing all withholding. Still others, including respected patriot "legends" and even attorneys, rail against the "unscrupulous gurus" as "leading lambs to the slaughter", accusing the gurus of the worst type of "opportunism" and "exploitation", as well as despoiling the legal landscape with bad legal precedent.
Having met some of all of the above, I can only offer the following observation: Caveat Emptor or "Buyer Beware!" For what it's worth, the "tax issue" simply cannot be isolated from the overall socio-political picture in this country. It's a serious mess -- a dangerous and serious mess for anyone who chooses, for whatever reasons, to engage it. The question has rightly been raised as to whether any American has a "right" to expect someone else to figure out the law for him, or extricate him from his problems with it? It is, after all, the "American people", several generations of them, that have allowed this bureaucratic and legalistic nightmare to set upon the land. As long as the bulk of the American people remain ignorantly or apathetically supportive of a system of laws and government which is both incomprehensible and dishonest, it will be highly dangerous for anyone to attempt to stand in opposition. While no one has a "right" to expect anyone to fight his chosen battles for him, one would have, it seems to me, at least a moral expectation that his fellow human beings owe him the truth -- especially if they claim to be on the same side of the issues.
However, even tax movement veterans, having extensive experience both in administrative and judicial battles, have a difficult time agreeing on the nature of the problem. Thus, understandably, they find it almost impossible to arrive at any uniform strategy, much less a "solution". That should tell the novice something right off, wouldn't you say? I have met all types of personalities in this movement. Most appear sincere, many to the point of what might be considered "fanaticism". Well, when your entire life has been derailed by something you subsequently discover to be a hoax, it has a way of upsetting you! (Is that putting it mildly?) So, when we meet folks in this movement who appear to have "gone over the edge", perhaps we should "walk a mile in their shoes" (equipped with their fallen arches), before we set about judging them.
Then there is the matter of money. While it is absolutely true that "the laborer is worthy of his hire," at least a couple of other points need to be made. As anyone who has dug into this very far will soon appreciate, the "tax movement" for the most part spills over into the "constitutionalist", "patriot", or "freedom" movements, all of which are generously laden with all manner of talk about "principles" -- religious and otherwise. There is much talk about "the battle", "the Beast", and the "defense of Liberty". Such talk certainly seems apropos, yet if it is sincere, it implies that we are all "in the foxhole" together. If that be the case, it feels darned weird to turn to your fellow "patriot" when your position is being overrun, and have him want money from you before he'll even talk to you. That happens -- a lot. I didn't say it was wrong; I said it happens -- and, given all the rhetoric, it feels weird.
The second point about money is somewhat related to the first. Perhaps I am a hopeless cynic, but experience has seemed to show me that, no matter how "sacred" the subject matter, whenever money joins the proceedings, people's judgment simply flies right out the window. Introduce money into the equation and otherwise honest folks will say and do things they easily recognize in the affairs of others as just so much "hype". I include myself in this, of course, as I know there have been times in my life when I have done it; most everyone who has ever sold a car to a private party has done it. There is, however, a considerable difference between hyping a used car and hyping services which will be depended upon to protect the livelihood (indeed, the very viability) of a family against the ravages of the IRS.
Why don't I simply name names and denounce those people and groups I see as "guilty" of this behavior? I do not because I am in no position to sit in judgment. Many of these "gurus" and groups have helped me learn, if only by showing me what does not work. I have communicated with many of these who I am convinced are completely sincere, are not just in it "for the money", and have both suffered and sacrificed greatly themselves. Yes, in some cases, these people have been somewhat "driven over the edge" by a monstrously insensitive system of "evil" which exists only to perpetuate its own power and cares not whom it destroys in the process.
It is somewhat discouraging to have to say this, but in my experience going on ten years investigating this "tax movement", there is hardly a group or expert out there that does not at least somewhat exaggerate the track record. The psychology of this movement may demand this. Many folks find themselves in a truly hopeless and intimidating position. Once one takes a stand against the IRS that lasts much over a year or two, the government makes it almost impossible to turn back short of complete financial ruin. This, combined with the psychological crisis of abandoning one's principles under pressure (in spiritual terms, the ultimate testing of one's faith), makes "going back into the system" nearly impossible for many. So, trapped in a lose/lose situation, it is understandable that some will see mirages of victory out of psychological self-preservation, if nothing else.
How anyone in the tax movement can rave about "victories" is simply beyond me. The government wins 98% of the time in court. Yes, the number of people who are waking up to the fraud appears to be growing steadily, and a good number of folks are, indeed, being left alone at present. Yes, there have been a few dramatic wins in "willful failure to file" cases, and the number of actual indictments for "willful failure to file" make the likelihood of jail time for the average "tax protester" about equivalent to that of being struck by lightning.
Further good news is that the sheer numbers of people "dropping out of the system" are beginning to make any credible prosecution of them by the government less and less feasible. This may account for what appears to be a lessening of at least the numbers, if not the intensity, of IRS attacks on "nonfilers". In addition to having its hands full with Y2k and other political concerns, the IRS may have acquired the view that the most effective strategy against the tax movement may actually be to leave it alone. The seizing of as much property as manpower levels will allow, along with the obligatory show trial around April 15 of each year may be adequate to maintain the necessary illusion of "enforcement". You see, in reality, the whole system really does work on lies, bluff and fear. Few in government really understand the written law in any case, they often deliberately misapply what they do understand, and rely upon the courts to uphold whatever they do, however they do it. I'm not really sure what the vast majority of "employers" and "employees" in this country would do if they really understood how badly they have been deceived with regard to the entire tax code ("income" and "employment" taxes combined). In any case, the fact remains that virtually all "employers" are scared to death of the IRS and will do what it says to do no matter what one shows them in the "written law". Given that, the "employees" (the vast majority of Americans) have little if any real leverage. This is a fact not lost on the IRS and the Congress, I'm sure.
The reality of this situation, and, indeed, the real bad news, is that the "tax movement" has little if anything to offer the vast majority of Americans who are working for the typical "employer". Yes, there have been a few lawsuits against "employers" and a couple of interesting, potentially useful cases. However, the "employer" situation is still very much a case by case battle, and I am aware of no instance where any "employer" of any consequence has lost or agreed to employ anyone either without a Social Security Number or without "withholding". Yet, tax groups all over the country continue to both speak and act as if "the war is all but over". They routinely give the impression that withdrawing from Social Security and eliminating withholding is a simple matter of presenting the correct (their) paperwork to one's employer. Yet, maintaining communications with major players and groups in this movement for the last several years, I cannot tell you of one single man or woman working for any company of any consequence who has been doing so without an SSN or withholding for any meaningful period of time. Furthermore, "self-employed" people who attempt to operate "outside the system" without Social Security Numbers, government licenses, etc., are severely handicapped and virtually shut out of significant sectors of the financial world. This is, in my view, the real Achilles heel of the movement, and possibly the reason why the government does not expend more resources exposing and enforcing the law upon the increasing numbers of "self-employed" people who are "dropping out of the system". Though growing, they are still a small, severely handicapped minority, operating largely out of view of the mainstream.
The further bad news which practically no one in the movement will acknowledge is that few "tax protesters" own any property, nor will they ever. The fact is that "nonfiling" while openly owning property is as yet not only ill advised but downright stupid. Yes, there are significant numbers of people who have begun to move assets offshore, and to acquire ownership of property through artificial entities such as trusts, corporations and the like. The flight of assets into artificial entities and offshore investments has accelerated to a degree that has the government's full attention.
The almost stunning growth in this area may be good news, for certainly the word is spreading. Increasing numbers of people are seeing possibilities for escaping the "employer/employee" trap, launching their own enterprises and keeping a far larger percentage of the fruits of those enterprises. Time will tell. However, what kind of "patriotic" sense does it make for all Americans to "go offshore"? Do those who "go offshore" realize that by so doing they have raised the legal stakes to a whole new level? Once "offshore", one becomes a bona fide candidate for felony prosecution of "tax evasion". "Hiding assets" constitutes "attempting to defeat the tax", don't you know! "Willful failure to file" continues to be a misdemeanor that does not generate nearly the scary publicity the IRS can achieve with a ten-year sentence for "tax evasion". Have those who go "offshore" simply given up on America and simply opted for their own economic well being? True, the spirit to be free from tyranny is worthy and admirable, but if we have to leave the country to exercise it, do we really understand the significance of such a move? I'm not making value judgments here, just asking questions.
To conclude, in the past I have "endorsed" or recommended one or two groups and several "experts". Given the current track records I see out there, along with the perplexing level of both hype and bad blood among experts and groups, I feel that I can no longer wholeheartedly endorse, without reservation, anyone or any group. When asked specific questions about specific people or groups, I will respond with my honest opinion based upon the latest information available to me, short of judging anyone's character or motives. I will continue to post to the ICE site, without comment, various information provided by or about the efforts of those who are working in the tax movement; as you consider that information, please remember what I have said in this article. Also, remember "Caveat Emptor" when considering information on sites in the ICE Links section. I will link almost any site that treats subjects related to the tax movement. This is because there is much to learn, even in bad material. I leave it to the reader to exercise care and judgment in evaluating all material at linked sites.
With respect to the "Tax Movement" generally, its cause is just, and a study of its related subjects is, I believe, essential to having any real understanding of the social, political and economic realities of our time. I do the best I can to stay abreast of who is doing what, what successes are being had, and so forth. I try to pass such information along as best I can. When people contact me in a search for assistance, I will refer them to whomever seems to be offering the most honest, experienced help available, given the particular nature of the problem at hand. Beyond that, I can only suggest that those needing assistance will need to examine all of the sites on the ICE Links page, make contact with those whose sites make a compelling case for their services and, most importantly, take responsibility for any subsequent choices and decisions.
Note from editor of Wisdom and Freedom:
This excellent article from ICE should be lodged in a subsection of this chapter. It is linked in this position because the word "tax" draws more response than Fed, FDR, and even money. Hopefully, you will be encouraged to read all the links and then do some of your own research after reading this page.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Beware of gurus who can lead you into trouble but are unable to lead you out. The evidence of a fraudulent tax system is OVERWHELMING, but nontheless, YOUR presentation of this evidence can cause a lot of suffering. Your adversary has enormous assets to use against you; the courts, federal prisons and numerous 3-letter agencies.
The problem seems to be that although all of the "gurus" are correct about the fraud, they, like churches, are not in alignment on presentation of the truth. To paraphrase Bill Benson, "I wish these people would stop backstabbing each other and join forces."
Your enemies in the "court" are the attorneys of the BAR. Today an attorney is a sworn officer of the court, and by his own admission, as that officer, his duty is to impose the will of the state against the citizen. Click here to meet your unseen enemy.
SEE Operation Glove in Face
READ THE ARMEN CONDO LETTER
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