Intellectual Ammunition: End the IRS, Polling on Pot, and Piers Morgan

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jimmy-for-GBULibertarian Party: End IRS scandals — By Abolishing the IRS and Income Tax

In the wake of the latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandals,

Libertarian Party Executive Director Carla Howell says there’s only one certain way to end all such scandals, now and in the future:

“We must abolish the IRS and end any need for a regulatory agency that snoops into people’s private lives,” Howell said on May 17.

Further, Howell offers a compelling argument that this is not only possible, it would have tremendous benefits for the country.

If we just cut the federal budget back to 1992 levels, Howell says, we could end the IRS and the income tax — and leave the government with more than sufficient funding to perform its constitutional obligations.

1992 was the year Bill Clinton was elected president. Few people at the time would have argued that the federal government of 1992 was too small. Indeed, a few years later, President Clinton himself would famously declare it was time to reduce the size and scope of the federal government because “the era of big government is over” and Americans needed “a smaller, less bureaucratic government… that lives within its means.”

Says the Libertarian Party’s Howell: “We must draw back total federal spending to the level of 1992, which is more than enough to fulfill the government’s constitutional duties to protect our life, liberty, and property. This will allow us to balance the budget immediately, end the federal income tax completely, and give back an average of more than $12,000 to every family in America.”

“We don’t need an income tax, and we certainly don’t need the IRS,” Howell says.

The idea of getting rid of the income tax and the IRS by reducing the federal government to its 1992 size sounds downright reasonable. Indeed, a government funded at 1992 levels would still be far too big for many Americans.

Howell notes that IRS political scandals are nothing new. “The presidential administrations of Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and, now, Barack Obama have all been caught using the IRS to target political enemies.

“As long as we have the IRS — and the income tax — we should expect more presidents to use their power to silence and intimidate free voices. No IRS investigation or firing of a few scapegoats will change that.”

Howell points out there are many other benefits to ending the income tax.

“Ending the income tax, abolishing the IRS, and cutting federal spending to the level of 1992 means no more deficit spending,” Howell says. “This will stop inflation and stabilize prices. Even more importantly, it will transfer wealth out of the wasteful, dysfunctional and destructive government sector and into the productive private sector, resulting in a bounty of new jobs and prosperity for Americans.

“We will make living in America and doing business in America much better,” Howell says. “Individuals, businesses, and political organizations will all be safe from government interrogation and free to express their political views. It will dramatically increase the wealth of the private sector and inspire hundreds of billions of dollars in investment in small businesses and American jobs.”

And why stop there?

“We can cut federal spending by 50 percent, or even 90 percent, and Americans will be better for it,” Howell argues. “We can end the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, the death tax, and all federal payroll taxes. There will be no need for the IRS, nor any substitute agency.”

Yet another benefit of abolishing the IRS is that it would become far more difficult to fund a massive global interventionist military presence and warfare around the world, Howell notes.

“It will also require our massive military budgets to go down, which currently encourage overseas meddling and war,” Howell says. “We get rid of the IRS, we get rid of the income tax, we dramatically downsize federal spending and taxation, and America and the world will be better for it.”

The Libertarian Party’s call to abolish the income tax and IRS echoes Ron Paul, who for years introduced the Liberty Amendment in Congress to do exactly that.

Want to convince others that this is a great idea? Here’s a four-part series of short articles by Advocates President Sharon Harris that offers suggestions for doing this:

Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 1.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 2.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 3.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 4.

Reason Poll: Only Six Percent of Americans Think Marijuana Possession Should Be Punished With Jail Time

That’s right: only six percent of Americans think minor marijuana possession should be punishable by jail time.

Further, a strong plurality of Americans think the use or possession of small amounts of marijuana should not be punishable… at all.

These astonishing results, unimaginable just a few years ago, are from a new Reason-Rupe poll conducted May 9-13. They show how rapidly support for ending the despotic War on Marijuana is growing. (The Reason-Rupe polls are a project of the Reason Foundation and funded by the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.)

The nationwide telephone poll of 1,003 people asked: “Which approach do you think government and law enforcement should take toward someone found smoking marijuana or in possession of a small amount of marijuana?”

Only six percent of respondents said possession should be punishable with jail.

Twenty percent said it should result in mandatory substance abuse counseling.

Thirty-two percent said users should incur a fine, not jail.

Fully 35 percent of respondents said people caught with small amounts of marijuana should not be punished at all.

As Reason magazine notes, “The Reason-Rupe poll is one of the few instances — possibly the first — in which the usual polling dichotomies of incarceration versus treatment and criminal penalty versus civil penalty have been expanded to include no penalty whatsoever.

“The results suggest that Americans are comfortable with the idea of decriminalization — which reduces the penalty for minor marijuana possession to a civil fine — and more sympathetic than ever to the idea of fully legalizing possession.”

In addition, the poll found a majority of Americans support the right of states to legalize marijuana. Specifically, 52 percent would support legislation to “prevent the federal government from prosecuting people who grow, possess, or sell marijuana in the states that have legalized it.”

Video: “I Pencil: The Movie” 

Last issue Advocates President Sharon Harris shared her love for Leonard Reed’s classic essay “I, Pencil.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has created a great six-minute “I, Pencil” video that explores that same message.

The video opens with a quote from G.K. Chesterton: “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

It then proceeds to open our eyes to some astounding, but generally unappreciated and ignored, wonders that surround us — beginning with the humble yellow pencil.

When you understand the story of “I, Pencil” you will never view a “simple pencil” — or any other manufactured object — the same way again. Your mind will be opened and you will see that there are indeed miracles and marvels all around you, every moment of every day.

The website hosting “I Pencil” has several other short films and written material that build further on the message of “I, Pencil.” CEI hopes this will enable teachers, professors and lecturers to make easy use of “I, Pencil” as a teaching tool. Share it with friends.

Piers Morgan: Gun “Nuts” May Be Right About Gov’t Tyranny

CNN’s Piers Morgan is one of America’s loudest and most public enemies of gun rights.

What especially sets him off is when someone on his show argues that the Second Amendment was designed to enable citizens to defend their liberty should the U.S. government turn tyrannical.

For example, when conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro made that argument on January 10 this year, Morgan sneered: “Do you understand how absurd you sound?”

Which makes the following exchange from Morgan’s May 20 show all the more remarkable.

Speaking about the Obama IRS and Associated Press scandals with his guest, libertarian magician Penn Jillette, Morgan said this:

“I’ve had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government.’ And I’ve always laughed at them. And I’ve always said, ‘Don’t be so ridiculous. Your own government won’t turn itself on you.’

“But, actually, when you look at this [the Obama scandals] — it’s nothing to do with guns — but actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government.

“I think what the IRS did is bordering on tyrannical behavior. I think what the Department of Justice has done, actually, to the AP [Associated Press] is bordering on tyrannical behavior.”

“There’s no doubt about that, once you use the word ‘bordering,’ that’s true,” agreed Penn Jillette. “I also think that it shows you how much we can trust the government and just sit back, which is not very much at all. We have to be ever vigilant.”

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Intellectual Ammunition is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for “Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty.”

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About the author: James Harris

James Harris is the editor of the Liberator Online, the leading email newsletter of the liberty movement. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty."