The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 98
5 November 1997
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Congressional Record (Page H10028) Cached
Mr. PORTMAN. And now Id like to yield to Mr. PAUL of Texas for a unanimous consent request.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Texas.
1997 Ron Paul 98:1
Mr. PAUL. Thank you for yielding. I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. I rise in support of this legislation. Its a step in the right direction. Get rid of the Code, get rid of the IRS, and get rid of the income tax. Thank you.
1997 Ron Paul 98:2
The SPEAKER. Without objection, its so ordered.
1997 Ron Paul 98:3
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in tepid support of H.R. 2676, the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1997. As most recently evidenced by Senate hearings, taxpayers across the country are clamoring for real reform. Yet, instead of delivering genuine reform, the Congress delivers an Oversight Board made up, in part, of experts from the fields of management, customer service, Federal tax laws, and information technology—in other words, more guards to oversee the watchdogs.
1997 Ron Paul 98:4
I can support this bill because it partially shifts the burden of proving guilt from the taxpayer to the Government. Innocent until proven guilty is a tenet that permeates any free society but has somehow been ignored with respect to the Internal Revenue Services imposition of criminal penalties. Additionally, this bill makes political audits by executive branch officials felonies punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
1997 Ron Paul 98:5
While these small steps are laudable, in light of the massive nature of the problem, the complexity of the Tax Code, and the oppressive nature of the excessive taxation under which we are currently so heavenly burdened, this bill is but token reform. The current taxation problem is rooted in the excessive spending by Government resulting from a bad case of congressional activism under which the legislative body has repeatedly overstepped its article I, section 8, constitutional powers.
1997 Ron Paul 98:6
No one likes to pay taxes—almost. The large majority of people in any society enjoy the benefits that come to them through Government programs, yet, essentially no one likes to have their taxes increased, believing they are always on the short end of receiving benefits in return. And this of course is true. The most people never get back what is taken from them in the form of taxes.
1997 Ron Paul 98:7
Oliver Wendell Holmes, however, was different. He claimed he likes to pay taxes saying: I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization. In a more famous quote, Holmes said: Taxes are what we pay for civilized society. A more accurate statement might be that taxes, especially if collected with the tactics of the IRS, are what permits Governments to act in a most uncivilized manner.
1997 Ron Paul 98:8
Teddy Roosevelt, during the Progressive era, 1902, appointed Oliver Wendell Holmes, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a time during which the ground work was laid for the modern welfare state later promoted by Teddys cousin FDR. And it was not too many years after the appointment of Oliver Wendell Holmes to the Supreme Court that these progressive ideas led to the establishment of the income tax, the IRS, and an equally threatening organization, the Federal Reserve.
1997 Ron Paul 98:9
Frank Chadorow had a much better understanding of what the income tax meant.
1997 Ron Paul 98:10
Income taxation is in principle the worst of all forms of taxation because it begins by asserting the prior right of the state to all wealth. This principle can be applied to almost all taxes. A tax on inheritance could be considered even worse since we accumulate property and capital often with after taxed money. Since all taxes are essentially a tax on productive effort, whether it be corporate tax or even a sales tax, this principle is certainly accurate when the revenues are used for redistributive purposes.
1997 Ron Paul 98:11
I see nothing wrong with the slogan taxation is theft, when the revenues are used to transfer wealth or privilege from one group or person to another. In spite of all the talk in recent months regarding the method of taxation and the abuse by the IRS these basic principles are not being discussed. There has been too much emphasis placed on the taxing process rather than the philosophical principles that not only endorse but encourage an abusive tax system.
1997 Ron Paul 98:12
The recent Senate hearings on IRS procedures however were very beneficial in that they were reported by the major media and confirmed what most Americans suspected. Probably the most outrageous confirmation was that IRS agents did confess to a deliberate policy directed toward the weak and the poor to intimidate and make examples of them. Agents testified that the wealthy and the sophisticated were generally left alone because they were more capable of defending their rights. This is an outrage that should not be forgotten and should be used as a strong motivation to eventually do something about our tax system.
1997 Ron Paul 98:13
The fact the some citizens have even committed suicide over the pressure of facing the tax collectors is something that should not ever happen in the civilized society that Holmes claimed we were paying for. Thousands of Americans are quite willing to pay the penalties and excess tax without challenging the Government even when they know they are right because the emotional and financial penalty of fighting the IRS is too great.
1997 Ron Paul 98:14
For the last four decades it has become known to most Americans that both Republican and Democratic administrations have been willing to use the IRS, and for that matter other regulatory agencies, to punish their political enemies. It seems that the current administration has refined this technique to near perfection. It has been quite willing to attack, through the Tax Code, those foundations and groups that oppose Clintons policies while ignoring the friendly ones.
1997 Ron Paul 98:15
If we indeed lived in a truly civilized society individuals would be willing to come forth and reveal the Governments atrocities against its own people instead of choosing to hide their identity. The fact that IRS agents are hidden behind screens makes one think that they believe they belong to an organization such as the Mafia and if discovered they themselves would become a victim. It reminds me of the horrible pictures that we see of our FBI, BATF, and DEA agents making questionable raids on private citizens with stocking caps over their heads. In a civilized and free society, Government agents would act as our servants and not convey an appearance of a criminal element. But, nearly two decades ago Milton Friedman asked When you sit across the table from a representative of the IRS who is auditing your tax return, which one of you is the master and which the servant? In light of recent revelations the administration was quick to defend the IRS and explain the need for a strong collection agency. What else could we expect? However, even the administration senses that the public is on the verge of revolt and quickly added that certain reforms would be necessary. Reforms suggested by the administration included an advisory board, of course without clout, as well as making sure the IRS offices were kept open for longer periods of time including Saturdays. The advisory board would be used to advocate suspensions of seizure of property when appropriate. Sure. When an agency of Government is acting outside the law, i.e., the Constitution, while continuously making numerous errors, then expanding their hours seems to me to only compound our problem, not reduce them. Though Im sure some Americans will see this as a positive for the administration, hardly will this do anything to help the problem.
1997 Ron Paul 98:16
Even the Republican proposal to have a private board with more clout doesnt address the real problem. And another Taxpayers Bill of Rights wont help either. If a private board is being appointed, what would keep the establishment from appointing friendly people to the board? I cant see where this would be any different from the IRS being supervised by political hacks from the Treasury Department. This whole notion that better service can be given to the taxpayer is a bit preposterous. The fact that we call this the Internal Revenue Service is an obvious misnomer. How can an agency of Government that sets out to confiscate our wealth provide a service to us? It is just as preposterous to refer to victims as customers. Taxpayers are no more customers of an organization providing a service than the man in the moon. This type of wording is nothing more than the newspeak of which Orwell wrote. So far the reforms advocated by the administration and the Congress will do nothing to solve our long-term problems.
1997 Ron Paul 98:17
Other more serious reforms have been suggested, such as eliminating the current Tax Code and replacing it with a flat tax or a national sales tax. Both of these proposals come up far short of dealing with the real problem. Supporters of both proposals never touch the problem of the Social Security, Medicare, flat tax of 17 percent which not only is here to stay but will surely rise. Since these programs are sacred no one can suggest that something should be done about them. But in reality, as I have mentioned before, the Social Security and Medicare tax is an income tax that is used for general revenues as the trust funds are nonexistent.
1997 Ron Paul 98:18
When one adds the tax that the employer and the employees pays, which is the real labor cost, each individual is paying 17 percent of their income up to $65,000, which is a truly regressive income tax. If a flat tax of 17 percent is added we are immediately at 34 percent and rising. With a flat tax this high and with removal of tax exemptions for everything, and especially our donations as well as our interest on our houses, we are actually setting the stage for a much higher tax rate which will make no one happy. Sure, there might be a little less difficulty figuring out the code, a cost in and of itself, but if one can save some money by having a complex code this could actually be better than a simple code where we are forced to divvy up more to the welfare state. Besides, the flat tax that is proposed has exemptions for low income so immediately it is a flat tax after a certain amount thus it is in reality a graduated tax. Businesses would still have to deduct the expense of doing business prior to reporting their profits.
1997 Ron Paul 98:19
A national sales tax has also been bantered around as an alternative to the income tax. Where it too has some advantages, reducing the effects of the complicated Tax Code and making filling out our tax returns easier, it also has many short-comings. First, nobody knows precisely what rate would be require to pay all the bills. Some have suggested 15 percent, others believe it will be over 30 percent, which I am inclined to believe. The reason its impossible to calculate is that at a certain level of taxation there will be a motivation to avoid the sales tax by expanding the underground economy.
1997 Ron Paul 98:20
The argument is made that the sale tax is a good way to collect revenue because those who are ducking taxes like the drug dealers and other criminals will be forced to pay the sales tax when they buy luxury items. There is nothing automatic about that assumption. Besides, IRS agents, who may be called something else, will be required to monitor every small business and every small profession to make sure that the revenues are collected and deposited in the Treasury. I can imagine that many small businesses and entrepreneurs working at home will have every bit as many records to fill out as they do now with their tax return. Obviously, reforming the tax collecting system to make productive Americans happy is much more difficult than meets the eye. Many Americans and Washington politicians are overly optimistic about changing the method of collection as the solution to the problems we face with our over exuberant revenuers.
1997 Ron Paul 98:21
Changing the collecting system, if the goal is to pay the bills and avoid a deficit, does nothing to solve the real problem of disenchantment with Government and the disgust with high taxes as well as with the prodding Federal bureaucrats who invade every aspect of our lives.
1997 Ron Paul 98:22
What is really upsetting most productive Americans is the fact that they have to work until July 3, before they get to keep any of their earnings for themselves. Its ironic that July 4th is our first day of independence from all taxation. This does not even take into consideration the inflation tax, i.e., the loss of value of our purchasing power, as our Government continues to diminish the value of the dollar.
1997 Ron Paul 98:23
The inflation tax is something that is much more difficult to understand and yet is the tax of last resort of all authoritarian governments.
1997 Ron Paul 98:24
We are now at the point where the American people are starting to rebel against any increase in taxation. In spite of the fact that we cannot pay our bills we were actually able, for political reasons, to make a token cut in some taxes last summer. This sill not prevent our Government, acting through the Federal Reserve, from creating new credit when necessary thus diminishing the value of the money already held. On this tax, however, because its difficult to see and the victims harder to find, the measurement is elusive. For this reason I am predicting that when push comes to shove with the budget it will be the ultimate tax used on the American people in an effort to continue to finance the welfare/warfare state. The real tragedy of this is that perceptions of the value of the dollar make it almost impossible to predict who the victims are going to be and when the value of the dollar will suddenly change. For instance it was quite clear when the recent devaluation hit the Mexican Peso it occurred suddenly and sharply and the victims were the middle-class and the poor throughout the country. But it was not gradual, steady and logical because the inflation tax frequently comes in sudden bursts.
1997 Ron Paul 98:25
The attention that token reforms are getting today, whether it be reforming the current system and devising a friendlier IRS or talking about a flat tax or a sales tax, actually is more of a distraction than a constructive debate. I am not saying this is intentionally done or of no value but I think that is the result of the current discussion.
1997 Ron Paul 98:26
The reason for this is that fundamentally and foremost its not a tax problem we face. The basic problem confronting us as a country is a spending problem. Concentrating only on taxes, which is okay to a degree, avoids the subject of the size of government and the reason why the Government spends so much of the Nations output. If we concentrate only on taxes and we avoid the subject of the role of Government and why the Government wants more of our money, we cannot and will not solve the problem. The goal ought to be to shrink the size of government and lower taxes. As bad as the income tax is on principle, an income tax of 3 percent on all money earned would not cause a tax revolt and most Americans would voluntarily pay their taxes. Even a national sales tax of 5 percent would not prompt a hue and cry over the tax system. The problem, of course, is that the Government is spending way too much money and there is no serious effort to cut back.
1997 Ron Paul 98:27
Recent budgetary efforts in Washington indicates that theres not much chance that the current Congress is going to do anything about cutting back. The welfare state is alive and well. Even the National Endowment for the Arts could not be cut, Clintons health program is being implemented by the Republican Congress, public housing money is increasing, and just recently, in our Education Committee, a Republican proposal supported by Democrats to increase national educational expenditure for the purpose of promoting charter schools was easily passed, although it authorized a new $100 million program.
1997 Ron Paul 98:28
As long as this attitude prevails on the spending side, Saturday morning hours for the IRS and keeping telephone lines open 24 hours or having a review panel or instituting a sales tax or a flax tax will do nothing other than delay the serious discussion about reducing the role of government in our lives, in our economy and in the world at large.
1997 Ron Paul 98:29
Supply side economics pushed by many during the 1980s argued strenuously for lower tax rates with which I agreed. But the goal of the supply siders was merely to stimulate the economy so that higher revenues would flow to Washington—a bad motivation. It is possible that with lower tax rate the economy would pick up but if the result was higher tax revenues, these revenues should be used to further cut taxes not increase expenditures. At the same time the supply siders were pushing the lower tax rates for the purpose of increasing revenues, they were advocating higher and higher budgets for the IRS to enhance the ability of the tax collectors. The Reagan administration was quite receptive to this principle believing that if a $1 billion in additional funds was given to the IRS it promised to produce $17 billion more in revenues through the process of harassment, intimidation and audit. Even this year the Treasury bill appropriation, which contained the pay raise for the Members of Congress, had an increase in the IRS budget of 9 percent giving them an increase of more than a half billion dollars to do exactly what they have been doing for decades. So, in the middle of the hearings on the Hill revealing the outrageous tactics of the IRS, and at the same time the politicians were propagandizing for tax reform, the large majority of Democrats and Republicans were voting for a huge increase in the IRS budget to continue the very process they were publicly condemning.
1997 Ron Paul 98:30
Today the atmosphere in Washington can be described as deceptively optimistic. Many of those who were preaching cutbacks and austerity a few years ago are claiming great victories with the accomplishment of a balanced budget. This budget is not balanced regardless of what the politicians are saying. Last years national debt went up nearly $200 billion when the funds taken from the trust funds are considered. Members are actually sitting around figuring out how to spend the excess they expect over the next several years. What they dont understand is that their projections of our future spending habits, the tax revenues, interest rates, and the state of the economy are unknown to them and quite frankly are going to be a lot different than their optimistic projections.
1997 Ron Paul 98:31
All taxes are extracted from the productive effort of the people. Whether the tax comes through an income tax, a sales tax, an inheritance tax, a school tax, property tax, or whatever, this is the method whereby the state confiscates the productive effort from the people. Governments produce nothing. All governments can do is use force to redistribute wealth and pay off their political cronies. The name of the game is power. Power is achieved by the politicians through the control of peoples income through a taxing system as well as manipulating the value of money. As Chief Justice John Marshall said: The power to tax is the power to destroy. It is not just a coincidence that those who introduced us to the welfare state, the Progressives of the early 20th century, believed both in the power to tax as well as the power to inflate.
1997 Ron Paul 98:32
In our relatively free society where productive efforts still exist and a profit motive remains, big government programs can be tolerated and funded for long periods of time. But as time goes on the productive ability of corporations and individuals is diminished as are all our freedoms for personal freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom. Today, we are living under conditions which encourage the export of capital and the exporting of jobs while encouraging the immigration of individuals who will do quite well living off our welfare state. In spite of the euphoria now being expressed in Washington, at the height of our so-called recovery, the conditions are set for soon recognizing that productive efforts are being impeded by our tax and regulatory system and there has been absolutely no serious intent to change our spending habits. The welfare/warfare state is moving briskly along and is being encouraged by the deceptive pronouncements that our budget is balanced and all we need to do is change the method by which we collect revenues.
1997 Ron Paul 98:33
We do not have a technical problem or an IRS code problem. We have a problem in defining the proper role for government. As long as the majority of the American people still believe its in their best interests to have a government that redistributes wealth and polices the world, this crisis will continue to build. A proper sized government would require minimal taxes and would be designed for the protection of liberty and equal justice for all. We have come a long way from those intentions of the Founders of this country, but well soon face a crisis of confidence and be forced once again to decide for ourselves just what kind of government we want and how much government will tolerate. Lets hope and pray that those of us who believe in limited government and maximum individual freedom will use the events of the coming years to promote the cause of liberty and not just tinker with the Tax Code. When that day comes the big tax debates will probably be; should we have a 5-percent import tax or a 10-percent import tax and we will not be dealing with a Federal income tax nor a Federal sales tax at all. Moreover, we will not be concerning ourselves with triffling reforms of a revenue agency which harasses our people and eats out our substance. Let us hasten that day.
1997 Ron Paul 98:1
Ron Paul speaks this verse on the House floor. Everything after this verse was inserted in Congressional Record as an extension of his remarks, and was not spoken on the House floor.
1997 Ron Paul 98:5
so heavenly burdened probably should have been so heavily burdened.
article 1, section 8 probably should be Article I, section 8.
1997 Ron Paul 98:6
The most people probably should be Most people.
1997 Ron Paul 98:8
Progressive era probably should be Progressive Era.
1997 Ron Paul 98:10
after taxed probably should be hyphenated: after-taxed.
1997 Ron Paul 98:15
compound our problem probably should be compound our problems, given that the next phrase refers to such problems in the plural.
1997 Ron Paul 98:20
over exuberant probably should be hyphenated: over-exuberant.
1997 Ron Paul 98:24
This sill not prevent probably should have been This will not prevent.
necessary thus probably should have a comma: necessary, thus.
1997 Ron Paul 98:27
indicates probably should be indicate.
1997 Ron Paul 98:29
Supply side probably should be hyphenated: Supply-side.
cut taxes not probably should have a comma: cut taxes, not.
1997 Ron Paul 98:31
different than probably should have been different from.
1997 Ron Paul 98:33
proper sized probably should be hyphenated: proper-sized.
will tolerate probably should be well tolerate.
triffling is misspelled and should be trifling.