We now have a controversial bill working its way through congress that would give the federal government the power to stop Americans who allegedly owe back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from leaving the country. But that’s not all, as Sen Harry Reid has added an amendment to the bill that would revoke, limit, or deny passports. It also has drawn fire from those who say it violates the constitution. Another Obama brainstorm.
An under the legislation the IRS wouldn’t have to prove or even officially charge that a person owes taxes to hold them hostage within U.S. borders, as just unsubstantiated allegations will be enough. There is also no way of challenging the IRS’ claims or of seeking access to due process, according to analysts. And with some 70,000 pages, nobody — not even those charged with enforcing it — truly understands the whole U.S. tax code.
At first this only applies to those who owe $50,000, with exceptions on the foreign-travel ban for emergencies, “humanitarian” purposes, and for those who are in the process of paying in a “timely” manner. Perhaps coincidentally, the total U.S. government debt divided by the number of Americans works out to about $50,000 owed per citizen — not including the tens or even hundreds of trillions in unfunded liabilities.
Experts say the whole scheme is unconstitutional and represents a blatant violation of due process rights.
“It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes,” constitutional attorney Angel Reyes explained to Fox Business. “It’s a scary thought that our congressional representatives want to give the IRS the power to detain US citizens over taxes, which could very well be in dispute.”
And this would apply to an alarming number of people, as jobs continue to evaporate and the value of the dollar continues to sink, more and more people will likely be affected by the travel ban.
The controversial provision is part of Senate Bill 1813: legislation supposedly crafted “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.” Apparently one of the many “other purposes” is to trap individuals accused of not paying taxes within the country, as analysts and experts have long warned would happen eventually.
Sen Barbara Boxer introduced the original bill last year, but Sen Harry Reid added the passport amendment this year, at the request of Sen Orrin Hatch. Despite the fact that it extracts billions of dollars from taxpayers with new and increased “fees” and taxes, it was passed overwhelmingly in the Senate last month with just 22 voting against.
But it is expected to meet resistance in the Republican controlled House, and once it goes public, it’s bound to be viral. But Boxer plans to ram it through, all “unread” 70,000 pages.
“There are many people on both sides of the aisle in the Senate who want to get our bill, [Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act] MAP-21, passed into law, and I am going to do everything I can to keep the pressure on the Republican House to do just that,” she said in a statement about the broader transportation legislation.
If passed, it’s estimated to raise $743 million for the government over 10 years. It will be enforced by the State Department which handles passports. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who famously blamed his own tax-evasion problem on the “Turbo Tax” program, would essentially be able to trap anyone inside U.S. borders with a mere allegation.
Yet the law could also cause a headache for hundreds of thousands of federal workers and government retirees who are delinquent on their taxes. According to estimates cited by lawmakers and media reports, about 280,000 current and former U.S. public servants owe almost $3.5 billion in back taxes. It’s also unclear whether or not active and retired federal employees would be prevented from traveling abroad over tax allegations.
Also, Geither, whose Treasury Department oversees the IRS, would also be able to punish foreign governments and firms if he determined that they somehow “significantly impede U.S. tax enforcement.” That provision would purport to expand the U.S. government’s power to fight money laundering. Ironically, the Obama administration is currently under congressional investigation for laundering drug profits of Mexican cartels.
As a result, some well off Americans are already leaving the country as the federal government’s insatiable appetite for more money continues to grow unabated. I can’t say that I blame them. At the same time, however, the IRS has made Americans into international pariahs — countless financial institutions around the world now refuse to do business with U.S. citizens due to onerous regulatory and reporting requirements.
And the resistance is growing against the IRS among both Republicans and Democrats. Also, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, for instance, is openly refusing to pay taxes as long as the government continues to wage “illegal” wars. Pastors are fighting IRS restrictions on free speech. And more and more activists, Republicans lawmakers, and political candidates, meanwhile, are seeking to altogether abolish the wildly unpopular institution and the controversial income tax it collects.
Remember this is another 70,000 bill no one understands, let alone possibly even read.