Government

Even without tax cuts, Congress has reduced federal intrusion in our lives in last 6 years

Conservatives in Congress over the last few years have actually done something that increased our liberty.

Things have changed a lot since 1913. There was no income tax, for starters. And even after 1916, once the income tax amendment had passed, there was still no automatic withholding by your employer. The responsibility was still up to the individual to send the IRS the taxes they owed each year. They didn’t automatically take it from your paycheck each month like they do now, through your employer. Wikipedia reports:

The Current Tax Payment Act [of 1943] compelled employers to withhold federal income taxes from workers’ paychecks and pay them directly to the government on the workers’ behalf.

You could also still exchange paper money for gold coins at your local bank. Just imagine this: swapping a $20 bill for a double eagle gold coin. Technically a coin worth $20 (face value), today it contains about $1200 worth of gold at the going market rates. That ended in 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order confiscating all gold coins:

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Executive Order 6102 is a United States presidential executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt “forbidding the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States”. The effect of the order, in conjunction with the statute under which it was issued, was to criminalize the possession of monetary gold by any individual, partnership, association or corporation.

WHAT WE’VE LOST

He did it so that the Federal Reserve, created in 1913, could inflate the money supply to expand federal government. The gold coin standard operating in America at the time restrained the Fed’s ability to inflate. It put economic authority in the hands of the citizens, in other words. Roosevelt stripped that authority from the citizens in 1933.

Lastly, there were no passports.

Anywhere in the West. Imagine travelling around America and Europe without needing a passport.

These incredible conditions were the result of small government and great individual liberty. They represent much of what we have lost, as well as the corrosive power that large government has on most everything it touches.

An important, conservative American sociologist named Robert Nisbet made an astonishing observation about the condition of American liberty before he died. He said this:

“In 1913, the year I was born, the only contact that the average American had with the federal government was the Post Office.”

RISING TAX LEVELS

Most of this began changing with World War I. Europe went down first. The United States succumbed by the end of World War II. The income tax showed up in 1916. It passed because of its envious promise: “soak the rich.” The law originally exempted the first $3,000 of income for single filers, or $4,000 for married couples. That means you didn’t pay any taxes on the first three or four thousand dollars of your income.

Adjusted to 2017 dollars, that’s equivalent to about $74,000 and $98,000, respectively.

In contrast, the personal exemption in 2017 is just $4,050.

If we adjust backward, to 1913 dollars, that means the personal exemption has decreased from $3,000 to just $165 over the last 101 years.

In 1913, the IRS exempted a large portion of the nation’s income from its grasp. Over time, through the process of inflation (engineered by the Federal Reserve), the IRS has increasingly taken away more and more of our income and productivity to fund big-government boondoggles and privacy invasion.

The IRS represents the greedy fingers of Federal Government. The IRS reviews your tax returns. If it spots an error in your favor, it will slap you with a fine. Unlike in the court system, you are guilty until proven innocent. They have the power to take your house.

If they spot an error in your favor, they will not let you know — they’ll just keep your money. If they make a mistake on their end and it causes them to think you are trying to cheat them, then you are guilty until proven innocent. This is the Napolean way, not the American way.

Individuals and families have to hire expensive accountants if they ever get targeted by an IRS audit. That’s additional expense you get hit with, just to prevent the IRS from taking more than they already have.

RESTRAINING THE BEAST

But in the last couple of years, the Conservatives in Congress have actually taken steps to alleviate this great burden. They have hit the IRS where it counts the most: in the budget.

Bureaucracies live and die by their budget. They don’t take orders from anyone. They have their own objective: to expand their turf. This results in budget increases. This lets them justify receiving large raises. Bureaucrats follow the book. They do not usually want to risk stepping outside of procedure because then they become personally liable for any bad press the organization receives. Bureaucrats prefer to operate in the shadows. They scurry in the light.

So if you want a particular bureaucracy off the backs of the American people, there’s only one way to accomplish that, short of abolishing it completely. You have to speak in the only language they understand: budget cuts.

When the Republicans took control of Congress after the 2010 elections, they began trimming the budget of the IRS. Its budget has decreased from $12.2 billion to $11.2 billion in 2016. Since then, the agency has lost 17,000 employees. That has translated into real results: audits are down. The IRS audited a little over 1 million tax returns in 2016, which represents the 6th straight year of decline in audits.

This is good news for our personal freedom. Most people don’t get audited anyway, but it’s good to know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Now, Trump is hinting at even deeper cuts to the IRS in his upcoming budget proposal: the New York Times reports he wants to cut the IRS by 14%.

This drives the liberals crazy. They understand what this means: less revenue collection next year. What smells like freedom to individual Americans smells like cheating to the liberals.

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