A couple of days back, I noted that Glenn Beck, one of Fox News’s rabble rousers, had Craig T. Nelson on his show to advocate tax resistance as a response to the borrow-and-bailout policies of the Obama administration.
Beck delivered a follow-up . Excerpts:
Hello, America. Here’s The One Thing. [sigh] Going to… cause a lot of problems.
The government’s irresponsible spending is turning us into slaves. You might well literally lock us into chains — at least our children. USA Today — I don’t know if you saw the front page of the paper — that paper!: It reported that if you add up all of the federal debt that each American household now owes: $546,668. That is up 12%, or $55,000, from . [Pantomimes checking his watch] That’s four times what each U.S. household owes in car loans and credit cards, mortgages and all other debt combined.
Keep in mind: That’s the happy estimate. That’s if everything just keeps going as smoothly as it is right now. What is that number look like if you take an approach that’s not so sunshine and lollipops? They say that we can just pay all this — don’t worry about it: we’re gonna grow our way out of this, and you know what what — we’ll just tax that top 1 or maybe 5 or maybe 15, 25%.
To give you an idea how much money this is that we’re now on the hook for. There are three possible options to pay this off:
- If I took every single cent of GDP for this entire year and the next three years, we could pay it off.
- Take 54% of all corporate revenues and all of the wages and salaries for the next ten years, so nobody makes anything. Got it?
- Or option three: Take two out of every three dollars of all the wages and salaries paid US residents over the next ten years.
And remember things could get worse if the government wants to follow through with this giant progressive plan for health care spending and everything else.
There’s… you know there’s talk of a national sales tax? This is a spooky thing this isn’t a sales tax like you ring it up — you never see this tax. It’s called a VAT tax — it’s hidden. And when they implemented it in Europe that’s when spending went out of control, because you never see it. Prices just rise 25% on everything. 25% on everything you buy.
I know a lot of people have compared me to Howard Beale, you know, the guy from Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it!”
But , if you’re watching this program, you might think the guy who played “Coach” on ABC — Craig T. Nelson — is better suited for that role.
Here Beck plays an excerpt from that interview, then continues, (emphasis mine):
I want to be clear on one thing: I am not advocating that people should not pay their income tax. This is a spooky, spooky area. But I think he connected with an awful lot of people .
But one Craig T. Nelson or Wesley Snipes is not going to send a message. You know they’re just two out of 100,000 tax evaders in prisons today, halfway homes, or under house arrest. But what if, for arguments sake, a million Americans intentionally did not pay their taxes?
Right now the IRS is already able to go through over a 150 million tax returns and punish those, believe me, harshly who fail to pay, you know, their income tax. They fined them, between 5–25%. They’ll collect about thirty billion dollars in back taxes.
And going forward, the Obama administration is preparing. They are devoting an additional 400 million dollars of your money to get more money from you. And 800 people are being added to the rolls of the IRS to catch tax cheats.
Still, most actual tax evaders don’t wind up in jail. They… well I think they usually end up its nominees for Obama’s cabinet, but maybe that’s a different show. Let’s just say a million people don’t pay — not because they’re cheats, but because they believe the principles that we were founded on have been violated and they think this is wrong and they try to do something that they think is the only thing they can.
Put aside the fact that America’s 2.3 million federal state and local prisons are already overcrowded — they are packed. 36% beyond their rated capacity, overcrowded to the maximum. If you want to send these million people to minimum security, 192-bed prison, you can house them for a meager thirty billion dollars every year. Or if you want to grab those tax cheats, since they’re probably most likely all just hacks for the GOP — right wing Tea Party goers, extremists you know — get better put ’em in a maximum security prison. That’s a 500-bed prison. That’ll cost you $100 billion every year.
All in all, it’s probably not worth the government’s time to toss you in jail, but they gotta do something. Otherwise… otherwise they’re in trouble and we’re gonna be locked in shackles.
You know. I’ve I think there’s probably a better role model for “Coach” then Howard Beale: might be Gandhi. Gandhi said, “withholding payment of taxes is one of the quickest methods of overthrowing a government.” And it makes common sense: Starving them out of trillions of your hard-earned dollars would literally put them out of business.
But do Americans want to do that? Do Americans who want to do that have the guts to follow Gandhi’s example? In order to save children, our grandchildren, our great great great great great great grandchildren, from all of this insane debt?
Everything’s gone topsy-turvy. That’s Glenn Beck, right-wing Fox News host, namechecking Gandhi on the way to promoting mass tax resistance as a way of overthrowing the U.S. government. Completing the inversion, if you read the Daily Kos audience reaction you’ll see arguments as pointless and unhinged as anything the WingNutDaily crowd came up with back in the Dubya years whenever they caught a liberal acting insufficiently patriotic.
Beck’s pretty-transparently just trying to drum up controversy to boost his profile. I see no reason to expect that he has any plans to go mano a mano with the IRS. For him, it’s the old coward’s game of “why don’t you and him fight?” He doesn’t really even have the guts to forthrightly advocate that other people engage in tax resistance — doing everything but that, but only after covering his ass by explicitly denying that’s what he’s doing.
But it’s nice to see the idea of tax resistance as a technique of nonviolent resistance being introduced to a new audience.