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Joe Stack IRS attack and the growth of the tax resistance movement

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Though few hail Stack’s arguably terrorist act as an appropriate retort against the taxman, his lament does dovetail with a deep resistance in the American zeitgeist to over-bearing taxation.

That’s why the Drudge Report made much of a recent IRS purchase order for 60 sawed-off shotguns, which shouldn’t have been that surprising since the IRS’ criminal division already has 2,700 armed special agents.

Escaping European serfdom, Americans mixed their latent distrust of centralized power with a sense of individual and economic freedom, which modern conservatism, especially, equates with tax relief.

At the same time, the Great Depression and rise of the New Deal showed many Americans that the industrial era required new federal protections for workers.

But that decades-long expansion of federal power and national debt has come under fire as President Obama and the Democratic Congress attempt to expand Washington’s power to tax and spend even further, ostensibly for the good of all Americans.

“Most Americans would probably agree that our hatred for taxes has something to do with a more profound aversion to government in general – an aversion with deep roots in our history,” writes Robin Einhorn, author of “American Taxation, American Slavery,” in a 2006 essay. “A nation founded in a tax revolt, we are told, is true to itself only when it is ‘starving the beast.’”

Yet the fomenters of the original Boston Tea Party, Mr. Einhorn writes, “had no interest in renouncing their own power to tax themselves.”

Terrorist plots against the IRS

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project counts five known domestic terrorist plots against the IRS in the past 15 years. Tensions are rising as federal tax authorities have begun stepping up collection efforts in the midst of flagging tax receipts.

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