Sprachkritik (im Sinne Krauses) #3: a message from the commissar

From the inside cover of this year’s I.R.S. Form 1040 forms & instructions booklet:

A Message from the Commissioner

Dear Taxpayer,

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. notably said Taxes are what we pay for civilized society. We should be proud that the vast majority of American citizens pay their taxes honestly and of their own free will. In an ever more complex and global world, we cannot take for granted this cornerstone principle of our democracy.

For the IRS’s part, we owe it to all taxpayers to make the process of paying taxes as easy as possible. IRS employees are dedicated to helping taxpayers to quickly get their questions answered, complete their forms, pay their taxes, and get back to their lives. From the telephone representative who answers tax law questions, to the walk-in site employees who help low-income taxpayers, to the technicians that design and build our website — www.irs.gov — we are committed to providing top quality service.

Unfortunately, there will always be some that cheat their fellow citizens by avoiding the payment of their fair share of taxes. The IRS owes it to the millions of you who promptly pay your taxes in fll to pursue these people through strong enforcement programs. I believe this is a basic matter of fairness.

If you need more information about taxes, I hope you’ll visit us online at www.irs.gov, or call us toll free at 1-800-829-1040. Your government works for you, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help.

Sincerely,
Douglas H. Shulman

See also:

19 replies to Sprachkritik (im Sinne Krauses) #3: a message from the commissar Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Black Bloke

    Are you practicing the “don’t owe nothin’” method this year RG?

  2. Nick Manley

    RG can’t say so out loud ( :

    How does he know whether “we” pay them of our own free will?

  3. Bob Kaercher

    Paul Begala says that April 15th is “Patriot’s Day”:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/15/begala.taxes/index.html

    I rather agree with him. All the bile-inducing garbage Begala uses to rationalize the shaking down of millions of people each year is what patriotism is really all about, which should cause any self-described “patriots” with an ounce of critical thinking skill to rethink their patriotism. (Unless, of course, they really do think getting mugged by the state is a good thing.)

  4. Nick Manley

    Paying for the DEA’s continued existence is NOT a patriotic service ( :

  5. Roderick T. Long

    The IRS owes it to the millions of you who promptly pay your taxes in full to pursue these people through strong enforcement programs.

    So coercing those who can’t or won’t pay is an obligation owed to those who are bullied into paying!

    Maybe we need a new petition: “We who have paid our taxes hereby waive and voluntarily relieve you, the IRS, of the obligation to hunt down those who haven’t. You have our blessing to just spend that time playing video games or something.”

  6. Nick Manley

    Roderick,

    Count me among the signers! You should check out this discussion: http://radgeek.com/gt/2009/04/05/shameless_selfpromotion/#comment-20090415122643

    I imagine you wouldn’t count among the externalist Libertarians ( :

  7. Gabriel

    Yeah on the issue of taxation being voluntary, RG should link to that piece he did about whether behavior can every be considered voluntary when there is a background of everpresent threats and coercion.

  8. Phil

    I think I would be much more pleased if the IRS didn’t go after the people who didn’t pay. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about my kneecaps if I miscalculated the proper tribute.

  9. Kevin Carson

    Sounds like something out of “Why Mommy is a Democrat.” I’m usually a couple days behind on the newspapers, but I think Dear Abby usually runs a similar bit of goo-gooism on April 15 (“But how would we pay for our roads?”).

    What’s really despicable is that while people of the “Why Mommy…” ilk are utterly clueless as to what goes into their sausage, this message is from the chief sausage-maker. And he’s entirely familiar with the rabbit warren of administrative law courts, filled with vindictive and pathological petty functionaries and wielding all sorts of prerogative law powers, described by James Bovard.

  10. Rad Geek

    Black Bloke,

    Yes, as I have the past few years. Although this year, as it turned out, it was more a result of sustained unemployment than deliberate efforts to offset reported income through deductions and credits. For years where I may need them, I do have both a Health Savings Account, which I can use to deduct up to about $5,600 per year from AGI, and a Roth IRA (Roth contributions can’t be deducted, because Roth distributions are tax-free when they come out the other end; but for the past couple years there’s been a non-refundable credit for retirement savings by low-income filers; if you put the max into an IRA, even if it is a Roth rather than a Traditional IRA, you may be able to take as much as $1,000-$2,000 directly off your tax bill).

    Nick,

    The DON method is David Gross’s method for avoiding federal income tax liability by deliberately keeping your income below the threshold, and if necessary by using deductions and credits to offset income that might otherwise be taxable. Since the method is legal, even according to the IRS (it uses their own rules), there’s no problem in talking about it in public.

    Bob Kaercher,

    Well, I think patriotism, as a term, is systematically ambiguous between love of the country you’re from and the people you live with, love of the nation you’re surrounded by, and love of the government that rules you. I don’t have anything against the first, but of course that has nothing to do with government; the third is alternately both despicable and pathetic; and I think that the second amounts to little more than confused wavering between the first and the third — but that’s because I think that supposed nations (like, say, America, or England, or France) are, in fact, more or less always politically-fabricated entities, in which many different countries and many different peoples are roped together based solely on their political subjugation, and so they represent false unities that are both imperfectly realized and heavily fictionalized through the mechanisms of a State that wants to pretend it is identical with the Country it occupies.

    Roderick,

    Personally, my favorite part is the part at the end, in which I am informed that the United States government actually works for me. I guess it’s just the special kind of working for someone, where you don’t have to listen to anything they say, can take as much money as you want right out of the till, and can’t ever be fired, for any reason.

  11. Aster

    “Personally, my favorite part is the part at the end, in which I am informed that the United States government actually works for me. I guess it’s just the special kind of working for someone, where you don’t have to listen to anything they say, can take as much money as you want right out of the till, and can’t ever be fired, for any reason.”

    Sounds like a patriarchal marriage.

  12. nath

    Kevin,

    What’s really despicable is that while people of the “Why Mommy…” ilk are utterly clueless as to what goes into their sausage, this message is from the chief sausage-maker. And he’s entirely familiar with the rabbit warren of administrative law courts, filled with vindictive and pathological petty functionaries and wielding all sorts of prerogative law powers, described by James Bovard.

    Isn’t this a classic example of doublethink?

  13. nath

    By the chief sausage-maker that is, not you…

  14. Soviet Onion

    I don’t know if you guys have seen this yet, but back in January the Canada Revenue Agency created this video soliciting movies from people illustrating how the underground economy hurts tax payers.

  15. Randy Rowe

    I have alot of respect for people who think an income tax is moraly wrong and dont pay it, they are syanding up for what they belive… They have far more balls than most, alot of them a totaly willing to go to prision over it… How i feel about it can be summed up in just a few word i saw on a sign the other day…. “Stand up or Bend Over”

  16. Rad Geek

    Randy,

    I’m inclined to agree with you about tax refusers, but I’m not sure what testicles have to do with it, or having sex from behind.

    People who have testicles (or more testicles) aren’t more courageous than people who don’t have testicles (or less testicles). And whether or not you like sexual positions where your partner is behind you has nothing at all to do with whether or not you have integrity or are willing to assert your rights.

  17. Nick Manley

    Amen, Charles.

    Amen

  18. Rad Geek

    Gabriel:

    Yeah on the issue of taxation being voluntary, RG should link to that piece he did about whether behavior can every be considered voluntary when there is a background of everpresent threats and coercion.

    You’re probably thinking of GT 2009-01-08: Can anybody ever consent to the State?

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