The Biden administration’s “Inflation Reduction Act” will increase inflation with hundreds of billions in additional government spending and money creation by the Fed while making supply chain problems even worse with onerous new corporate taxes, especially on energy, and myriad new “Green New Deal” environmental regulations. Increased government spending and reduced production will cause higher prices, not lower.
To collect all the new taxes for this latest election-year spending binge the administration is proposing to spend some $80 billion to more than double the number of IRS agents, hiring 87,000 new ones, 70,000 of which are reported to be armed. The Democrat party wants a standing army of armed tax collectors to enforce its will.
Americans once fought a revolution over such acts of tyranny. Among the abuses by King George III listed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence were that he “sent hither Swarms of Officers [i.e., armed tax collectors/enforcers] to harass our people, and eat out their substance” and “He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, standing armies . . .” That is how King George III collected the notorious stamp tax. He sent armed soldiers into the homes of the colonists to demand that they prove they had paid the stamp taxes on all of their documents, a stamp being essentially the receipt for taxes paid. And that was just for the stamp tax. They also confiscated firearms and deprived the colonists of civil liberties. It is little wonder that the founding fathers adamantly opposed a standing army in peacetime, only allowing for two years of funding for the army in the original Constitution. “A standing army is one of the greatest mischiefs that can possibly happen,” declared James Madison. It is “the bane of liberty,” said Elbridge Gerry. History proves that standing armies have caused “havoc, desolation, and destruction” wrote George Mason.
Jefferson’s nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, may have been a war hero but after the war, as America’s first treasury secretary, he tried to resurrect an American version of King George’s standing army of tax collectors. In the early 1790s Western Pennsylvania farmers protested the first federal tax on a commodity, a distilled spirits tax known as the whiskey tax. The farmers distilled much of their grain into alcohol and even used whiskey as a medium of exchange. They felt discriminated against since there was no similar tax on tobacco, rice, etc. and so they refused to collect and pay the tax, even tarring and feathering federal tax collectors when they showed up.
Since the whiskey tax was his idea, Hamilton talked President George Washington into getting the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to provide some 13,000 conscripts to ride into Western Pennsylvania to enforce the whiskey tax. A large standing army of tax collectors, in other words, larger than the army that defeated the British at Yorktown. George Washington himself led the army of tax collectors into Western Pennsylvania but the protesters had all but vanished when they got there. About twenty of the leaders of the tax rebellion — some of whom were elderly Revolutionary War veterans — were rounded up and “run through the snow in chains,” wrote William Hogeland in The Whiskey Rebellion. Washington apparently got bored by the whole affair and went home, leaving Hamilton in charge.
Hamilton ordered local judges to render guilty verdicts against all the men who were eventually imprisoned and, if Hamilton had his way, would have been hanged. Only two out of twenty were convicted, however, and President Washington pardoned them both, putting an end to America’s first British-style imposition of a standing army of armed tax collectors. (James Madison mocked Hamilton’s agenda of “the glories of a United States woven together by a system of tax collectors”). Most American historians – or should I say “court historians” —celebrate the whiskey tax saga, claiming that it proved for the first time that the young American state was willing to use violence to collect taxes.
With the election of Thomas Jefferson as president and the destruction of Hamilton’s Federalist Party the idea of an army of armed tax collectors was forgotten in America for more than the next half century until it was resurrected by Abraham Lincoln. One of the last official acts of Lincoln’s predecessor, President James Buchanan, was to sign into law the Morrill Tariff, which more than doubled the average tariff rate on imports at a time when more than 90 percent of all federal tax revenue came from tariffs. Knowing that South Carolina had nearly seceded thirty years earlier over the “Tariff of Abominations” which also more than doubled the average tariff rate, Lincoln threw down the gauntlet two days later in his inaugural address.
He promised “invasion” and “bloodshed” (his exact words) to the citizens of any state who by seceding refused to collect the newly-doubled federal tax and send all of the money to Washington, D.C. Just a few weeks earlier he told a Pittsburgh audience that nothing was more important than raising the tariff rates. He kept his promise in a war that killed one fourth of the entire adult male population of the Southern states and maimed more than double that amount, physically and psychologically. The latest research suggests that the total death toll might have been as high as 850,000 which is itself probably an underestimate.
As Edgar Lee Masters, author of Lincoln the Man wrote, Lincoln was the “political son” of Alexander Hamilton, and never more so than when he sent a standing army of tax collectors into the Southern states. His party continued to plunder the South with extortionate property taxes and massive confiscation of land (when impoverished southerners could not afford to pay the taxes) for a dozen more years during “reconstruction” which mostly reconstructed the bank accounts of Republican party ruling class elitists. The South was ruled by a Republican party military dictatorship during that time, with such characters as political huckster Henry Clay Warmouth spending a couple of years as the non-elected Louisiana governor and retiring with some $8 million in his bank account.
The federal internal revenue bureaucracy was created during the Lincoln regime. Since it exhibited such brutality during the war there was no longer a need for armed tax collectors. Everyone knew that Hamilton’s dream had come true – Americans knew that the state would stop at nothing – nothing — to collect its tax revenues. Perhaps that is why there is a gigantic statue of Hamilton in front of the Treasury/IRS building in Washington, D.C.. After the 1913 adoption of the income tax the IRS did create a criminal division with armed agents, but no standing army of thousands of armed tax collectors.
Until today, that is, with the Biden administration’s arming of tens of thousands of IRS agents with millions of dollars of guns and ammo, under the guise of an “inflation reduction” bill. The Biden administration is apparently hellbent on cementing into place Hamilton’s dream, as James Madison described it, of a United States woven together by a system of tax collectors.
Moreover, it is entirely possible that this “army” will also be used to try to implement a “kill shot” to the First Amendment by threatening audits, fines, and other punishments of ordinary, working-class Americans who dare to publicly criticize the Democrat party. A couple of widely-publicized imprisonments can intimidate millions.
Federal tax evasion is a felony, and felons cannot legally own firearms, nor can they vote in at least a dozen states. Biden’s standing army of tax collectors can therefore, in theory, kill three or four “deplorable birds” with one stone, so to speak. One wonders: What would Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and James Madison think of this? And what would they do about it?
**By Thomas DiLorenzo