Hughes suggests that tax resisters either register as “gadfly” candidates, or
ally with a “gadfly” candidate to spend these campaign contributions on
advertising for their causes, in a way that is ostensibly election-oriented
but really designed to promote the causes.
“[T]his could be a substantial guerilla advertising campaign on one or a
handful of issues,” Hughes writes. “Cleverly done, you could easily multiply
this through with free media and word of mouth. Obviously it is no substitute
for other types of organizing, I just think it is an interesting way to both
reduce your taxes while promoting your beliefs, without getting thrown in
Some more information on the
to turn over some of its cases to private debt collection agencies,
the New York Times:
will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less
in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors will continue to
be pursued by
The move, an initiative of the Bush administration, represents the first step
in a broader plan to outsource the collection of smaller tax debts to private
companies over time. Although
officials acknowledge that this will be much more expensive than doing it
internally, they say that Congress has forced their hand by refusing to let
them hire more revenue officers, who could pull in a lot of easy-to-collect
The private debt collection program is expected to bring in $1.4 billion over
10 years, with the collection agencies keeping about $330 million of that, or
22 to 24 cents on the dollar.
By hiring more revenue officers, the
could collect more than $9 billion each year and spend only $296 million — or
about three cents on the dollar — to do so, Charles O. Rossotti, the computer
systems entrepreneur who was commissioner
, told Congress
officials on Friday characterized those figures as correct, but said that the
plan Mr. Rossotti had proposed had been forestalled by Congress, which
declined to authorize it to hire more revenue officers.
Privatizing government services is often promoted as a way to cut costs. But
the government would probably net $1.1 billion from private debt collectors
over 10 years, compared with the $87 billion that could be reaped if the
agency hired more revenue officers, as Mr. Rossotti had recommended.
Under federal budget rules, money spent to hire tax collectors is treated as
a discretionary expense, and Congress is cutting discretionary spending. In
business terms, the rules treat the
a cost center, not as the government’s profit center.
The private debt-collection program, however, is outside the budget rules
because, except for the start-up costs, the collectors are to be paid from
Don’t know whether to laugh or cry? Try alternating between ’em.