Every now and again, I hear people being interviewed who believe that federal income taxes are constitutionally invalid and, as a result, they refuse to pay them. My first thought is usually “have fun in prison.” In one instance at least, I think this is a cause worth fighting for.

Enter Ed and Elaine Brown, who don’t believe in paying income taxes. These people can thank their lucky stars Bill Clinton and Janet Reno aren’t in charge of the federal end of this standoff:

Federal authorities have cut phone, power and Internet service at the fortified compound of a couple convicted of tax evasion who have refused to report to prison.

It’s unclear what effect that has on Ed and Elaine Brown, who have solar and wind power generators at their 110-acre spread, where they have been holed up for months.

The terms “fortified compound” and “tax evasion” usually seem to go hand-in-hand. The Browns owe more than $200,000 in back taxes and have already been sentenced to over five years in prison. It seems as if Al Gore would be rushing to the defense of the aficionados of solar and wind-power, but he’s too busy on his book tour.

They say the only certaintees in life are death and taxes, and that sure is true. Only the former can get rid of the latter, and if you don’t pay the latter, you face the former.

Between 1996 and 2003, Elaine earned $1.9 million from a dental practice. That’s a gross income (what you end up with after taxes should be the called the “gross”) of about $271,000 a year. The couple has a huge home on 110 acres. If they’d have cooperated with the government in the first place, they’d be living in a three-bedroom ranch on a half-acre lot near the airport. The IRS knows they can’t use the promise of a lower quality of life as an incentive to make people pay taxes, so they fall back on the traditional motivators, including prison, fines, guns, and all of the above.

Taxes weren’t always such a treacherous undertaking. For a long time, this country was run on very limited funds. Up until the early 1800’s, the government was run purely on internal sales taxes and revenue from a gigantic powdered wig closeout sale. Then, in 1817, the government got rid of internal taxes and functioned completely on tariffs on imported goods.

Can you imagine running the bloated monster of a federal government we have today solely on the 4% we’d get from taxes imposed on imports of running shoes and plastic novelty poop?

We were created with the ability to create. All this is evidenced in the brilliance of many of our finest moments, from medicine to art to science—but that all came to an end with the adoption of the 16th amendment in 1913. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations.

At that point, all the creative energy that would have gone into curing disease, designing grand buildings, music, and exploring the farthest reaches of the universe, now goes into trying to figure out a way to write off our lawnmower as a dependent or simply hiding in a fortified compound in New Hampshire waiting for the tear gas to come flying through the window.

The Internal Revenue Service has one of the more misleading names in all of government. Labor unions aside, name any other “service” that, if you choose not to use it, surrounds your home and threatens you with bodily harm and/or prison.

In the meantime, as Ed and Elaine Brown, legal American citizens, stay in their home surrounded by their own government, many members of Congress, along with President Bush, are pushing to legalize 12 million “undocumented workers” (“the artist formerly known as ‘illegal aliens’”) while forgiving them any back taxes owed, along with any IRS fines.

When our nation has become one where our government wants to forgive taxes for illegals who never paid them, and then seeks to lead them hand-in-hand with Bush and Kennedy down the yellow brick road to citizenship, yet American citizens sit surrounded in their own homes for also not paying their taxes, something’s amiss.

Ed and Elaine Brown should renounce their citizenship, declare themselves “undocumented workers” and then push for the passage of the immigration reform bill. Their tax problem would be solved and they’d be free. Maybe all of us should try this.

Until American citizens are afforded at least the same rights and privileges as illegal aliens, the government must free Ed and Elaine Brown!


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