While I don’t want to re-open the PCAOB discussion or the cage match that ensued (response articles linked here and here), I’d like to approach a similar topic that was sparked in the discussion. This comment was made in response to my PCAOB article and even made it into our weekly Between The Spreadsheets newsletter […]
In a recent article titled "The Dark Side of a Divided White America," The Fiscal Times chatted with Charles Murray, W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of books that include Losing Ground and What It Means to Be a Libertarian. Murray apparently upset a few folks with his earlier […]
Actually, if Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian Party, had his way, Wes wouldn’t be doing time at all.
“The three-year federal prison sentence for Snipes’s failure to file tax returns is absurd. Snipes is not a threat to anyone, and the judge who sentenced him clearly just wanted to scare others who might think about resisting federal taxes.
“Maybe it’s worth reminding people that Wesley Snipes was acquitted of tax fraud and conspiracy charges in 2008. He was only found guilty on misdemeanor charges of ‘willful failure to file an income tax return.’
Right, so the ‘willful failure’ part is where we kind of have a problem. If you willfully fail to control your urge to get cop-slugging drunk and then actually slug a cop, you have committed a crime. Mr Benedict doesn’t buy it though:
“Why is a failure to file a tax return a criminal non-act? Should people ever be sent to prison for not doing something? If the IRS wants to come after Snipes and take his money, they have power to do that. Who does it help to send the man to prison?
“The tax code is incredibly vague and open to interpretation [Ed note: UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY]. In fact, the ‘law’ is largely written by IRS bureaucrats. If they decide the law says one thing, you’re OK; if they decide it’s something else, then you’re headed for prison.
“The federal tax code also allows for ‘selective enforcement,’ to put it mildly. Why is it that Wesley Snipes gets a prison sentence, but known tax cheat Tim Geithner gets promoted to Secretary of the Treasury? Maybe Tim should be Wesley’s cellmate. Throw tax cheat politician Charlie Rangel in the slammer too for good measure.
Tim Geithner’s poor choice in self-prep tax software and an actor giving the 16th Amendment the middle finger for 10+ years aren’t quite the same thing. Maybe it’s just us.
[h/t Tracy Coenen]