Taxation, libertarians often say, is theft. But taxation also has other implications, causing those who are the target of the state over the suspicion of tax evasion to suffer greatly.
Lowell Hawthorne, the founder of the Golden Krust Jamaican beef patty empire, appeared to fear that the huge tax debt he allegedly had with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would destroy him. Afraid of the probe into his alleged tax evasion, Hawthorne decided to end it all, committing suicide in his own office.
The whole incident was caught on tape, with Hawthorne pulling the trigger and ending his life inside of the office of his Bronx bakery and warehouse.
According to family members, the man was “acting funny” hours before taking his own life. He had reportedly talked about the debt to the IRS with family members and was afraid of what this would mean to him and his company.
The entrepreneur launched his business in 1989, employing several relatives. In his note, the business founder and Jamaican immigrant apologized to his family. But perhaps, who should really be apologizing to his children and grandchildren is the IRS.
For many years, the United States survived without any income tax, a reality that former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul often highlights in his speeches. But as the federal government expanded, launching the American Civil War, the need for an income tax to maintain pay for the efforts became a reality. Over time, the tax burden only grew in America, especially after the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. And while we still struggle to pay the bill for our involvement in World War I, the debt continues to grow, making the future of every single man, woman, and child in this country a little more bleak.
While Hawthorne was also being targeted in a civil lawsuit regarding labor law violations, it was the fear of what he would experience under an IRS probe that led the grandfather to shoot himself.
The stress many business owners go through during IRS audits and other probes revolving around taxes is enough to make people sick, and, as we can see, crushing enough to make someone consider suicide. So when will we admit that, perhaps, it’s time to rethink taxation in the United States?