Putting the Bite Back in Tax Enforcement

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Lew Rockwell
has written about u201CRed
State Fascism
,u201D the shift of conservative state bourgeoisie
from mind-your-own-business libertarianism to u201Calmost totalitarian
statist nationalism.u201D The Detroit Free Press (u201CMichigan
Falls Off In Pursuit Of Tax Cheats
u201D) of July 10, 2006 would
have us believe an offsetting libertarian trend has occurred in
blue state Michigan over the same period of time, as the newspaper
cites an alarming decrease in the number of criminal tax investigations
by the Michigan State Police. How alarming? Read them and weep (or
laugh, you tax-hating libertarians!):

the numbers

The number
of criminal tax investigations by the Michigan State Police
major-case team is dwindling.

















(through May 31)


There you have
it. In a state of over six million individual and business taxpayers,
the number of cases has dropped from 29 in 1999 to only 9 in 2005;
if current trends continue, only five investigations will take place
in 2006.

In the article,
tax expert and attorney Michael Indenbaum argues that lack of u201Ccriminal
enforcement undermines the entire tax system.u201D He means that government
agents, entrusted with collecting “contributions” at the point of
a gun, have failed to wield that gun in a sufficiently menacing
manner. This limp-wristed approach, not surprisingly, has failed
to meet with the full cooperation of taxpayers reluctant to part
with their hard-earned cash. How will society build the jails to
house pot smokers, prostitutes and 19 year-old beer drinkers? Who
will finance baseball stadiums for billionaire welfare queens? Civilization
itself hangs in the balance.

The tax attorney
further argues that when tax enforcement grows lax, the rest of
us have to pony up more dollars to make up the shortfall. In so
doing, he perpetuates a myth that belies his status as tax expert.
As the great Ludwig von Mises once observed, “In public administration,
there is no connection between revenue and expenditure.” Does anyone
with a grasp of reality really believe otherwise?

No doubt Mr.
Indenbaum would hasten to remind the tax haters that u201Cfreedom isn't
free.u201D And he'd be quite right. Freedom, in fact, is the opposite
of freedom. Freedom is theft, fraud, extortion, violence, threats
of violence, conscription, surveillance, kidnapping, extraordinary
rendition, torture and incarceration. All that matters is that those
otherwise distasteful activities be carried out by the proper democratically
elected officials advancing the public good, as defined by those
same democratically elected officials.

In concluding,
the Free Press notes that our state-sanctioned protection
racket is a system “based on voluntary compliance” and “the
hammer of criminal prosecution.” You might say it’s “free and compulsory.”
You might also say George Orwell’s immortal words never rang so
true: “To see what is in front of one’s nose requires a constant

22, 2006

Pivetta [send him mail] lives
in Royal Oak, Michigan, where he pines for a bygone era in which
baseball actively strove to maintain its continuity with its past.
He draws dark parallels between the rise of publicly financed stadiums
and the demise of both the Grand Old Game and the cause of American

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