Re: Two great articles on ignoring government

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Dec 01 2000 - 11:00:43 MST

James Wetterau wrote:
> Michael Lorrey cites a number of grounds for questioning the limits of
> the 16th Amendment.
> Since this whole topic came up, I've done a little more reading. I am
> not a lawyer, but I bounced a couple of questions off a law student.
> This is however, not legal opinion, just some random discursive
> thoughts on the topic. Let me take the points one by one:
> 1. Some of the arguments are based on the idea that the amendment was
> not properly ratified. I've not seen the evidence, but whatever it
> is is presumably part of public records. Everyone who pays income
> taxes has had a tremendous interest in seeing them nullified for
> decades, but there's been not much progress in that direction. It
> seems that barring a wealth of new evidence, the overwhelming
> success the government has had in getting acceptance that the
> amendment was ratified will not be reversed. It's been almost a
> century. It would probably be easier to repeal the amendment than
> to get it nullified on such grounds, in my humble opinion.
> 2. The definition of income. The amendment says, "incomes, from
> whatever source derived". I suspect that many ordinary citizens
> who might otherwise be allies in seeking to nullify the income tax
> on these grounds, agree with the Libertarian Party on this: they
> aren't interested so much in judicial theories as in what the
> "plain language" seems to say. Naturally, this may sometimes be
> controversial and misleading, but in this case, if income were
> meant to have a narrow definition, the term used is colossally
> misleading. Even if it is meant that way, again, the long history
> of interpreting it the way it is now extends back nearly a century
> and has been well accepted. As long as there is any room for
> doubt, I suspect the plain language to be so persuasive that most
> people will willingly grant the government the benefit of the
> doubt. Again, I think it would simply be easier to get the
> amendment repealed than to win the argument on these grounds.
> 3. Yet another argument is that there are loopholes which the
> amendment doesn't cover, such as one established by a really old
> case cited in the article. I suspect this to be a mirage,
> essentially. My guess is that the case history on many laws
> contains some conflicting or inconsistent opinions. It's
> unsurprising that the opinion that seemed to find a loophole was
> very old. By now, I suspect one would meet with near unanimity
> from the courts in rejecting such arguments.
> 4. Finally, there is an argument that the code itself makes payment
> voluntary. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if there are portions of
> the code that seem to say that -- it's gigantic. However, as with
> the case law, though there may be inconsistencies, I expect the
> courts are not going to accept such a questionable exemption, or
> else wouldn't many wealthy people routinely be paying no income tax
> on those grounds? If their tax advisors thought they could get
> away with it, the wealthy people would. If anyone is getting away
> with it, I suspect it's because the number of people and amount of
> money in question is small.

Wealthy people tend to be vested in instruments that place them in
positions of liability underthe code, so they tend to, as a rule, be
liable for taxes. Allegedly the nomenclature in the tax code that
explains the various portions of individual people's tax ID numbers
within the IRS computer system shows that this ID number states whether
the individual is liable for paying taxes or is merely a voluntary

> If people get away with not paying income tax, I'm happy for them. I
> think taxation is theft. I pay my taxes because I can't afford the
> risk, and I don't expect the courts or our society really to respect
> any arguments on these grounds. I think it would be easier to get the
> 16th Amendment repealed than to win widespread respect for these
> questionable loopholes.

There is also the argument that I didn't mention: You cannot
legitimately be required to comply with a law you cannot understand. A
number of tax cases have been won by presenting sections of tax code to
the judge and asking him to explain what they mean. If the judge, a
lawyer, cannot understand it enough to explain it to people, then
average people cannot be expected to understand it either. Because the
tax code is such a huge heap of spaghetti code, referencing code in many
other locations back and forth, it is legitimately incomprehensible by
the average citizen. Just as children, and severely mentally retarded or
insane people cannot be convicted of some crimes due to their inability
to comprehend their crime, if you can't comprehend the tax code, then
you cannot be held responsible for not obeying it.

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