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Tax Day Coming—Support Your Tax Cops!

Hey, don’t forget: taxes are due Monday!

My local paper notes the graciously delayed approach of of the federal income tax filing deadline by running elitist Cal Thomas’s latest screed, in which he refers to the Internal Revenue Service as the devil—”The Infernal Revenue Service“—and lambastes them for writing instructions that he doesn’t want to take the time to read and follow. Thomas also portrays punishment for tax fraud as jut more big government overreach:

Right off the top, I am threatened with prison should I knowingly fudge information on the form. The federal government does threats very well, including those read by flight attendants. Refuse to wear a mask, even if vaccinated, and you risk arrest. Don’t even think of tampering with the smoke detector. Even the post office is now spying on us [Cal Thomas, “The Infernal Revenue Service,” Lincoln Journal Star (not my local paper, but the Aberdeen American News‘s version of the column is paywalled, so enjoy, 2021.05.12].

It’s easy for lazy writers and ideologues to bash a government agency that takes thousands of dollars out of our pockets—that expense and the complication of following instructions on the 1040 are more immediate and concrete than the understanding of how the taxes we pay make civilized life possible.

But what would happen if a columnist headlined an essay, “The Infernal Police Department”? My local paper ran cartoon a couple weeks ago mocking the notion that a cop could mistake her gun for her taser. I think the cartoon also mentioned doughnuts. Locals kicked up a huge fuss about the newspaper’s “disrespect” for police, and just a couple days later, the paper ran a big We Support the Police PSA.

The IRS are tax police. They enforce the laws, catch lawbreakers, and keep our country functional. They make sure police can get paychecks and Humvees. And they do it without shooting a lot of unarmed black men in the streets. Cal Thomas has indicted the good character and service of our tax police, yet my local paper has faced no demands to apologize for running Cal Thomas’s unpatriotic anti-police column.

Evidently conservatives can not only mouth off about tax police but wage a long-term campaign to defund them and protect lawbreakers.

Cal Thomas has previously invoked the false “Defund the Police” slogan to criticize those who criticize police. Yet he gives himself a pass to criticize the tax police, whom we need for our national survival as much as we need beat cops to survive as a nation.

Support your police: pay your taxes, and fully fund the Internal Revenue Service.

9 Comments

  1. Richard Schriever 2021-05-14

    Unlike the Trump administration, which took until July to get me my refund on taxes filed in early February, the Biden Treasury delivered my refund two week before I expected it in April.

    One more sign of the shift from amateurish incompetence in the leadership in the administration to an administration led by a seasoned professional.

  2. bearcreekbat 2021-05-14

    I chuckled at the hypocrisy and absurdity openly demonstrated by Thomas (who often uses his column to hold himself out as some pious religious example of how to behave in accordance with the Bible) by using the frase “I knowingly fudge information” as his attempted euphemism for the more accurate and descriptive phrase “I knowingly lie to the government so I can hide (i.e. steal) some of the tax debt I legally owe.” Justifying lies and lawbreaking to satisfy selfishness and greed certainly has obtained greater acceptance these days in some corners of public life, such that pious conservative columnists can now openly complain when the government takes reasonable steps to apprehend people that chose to hide income by lying on their tax forms.

  3. John 2021-05-14

    Thomas acts like a moron. The IRS carefully follows and interprets the law given by the congress and courts. We could only wish that other federal agencies were half as competent as is the IRS. Glance at the totality of the tax code and the nonsensical repeatability the congress amends it to appreciate the enormity of the IRS task. Then congress cuts their budget, repeatedly.

    The congress, especially the US Senate is the problem with the federal government. The not-so Supreme Court is running a close second.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-14

    Well…turn 65 and enter your “sunset” years and I think you’ll agree that paying federal taxes was one of the great bargains of a lifetime. You gotta love this country.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-14

    Well ..its always puzzled me that the Republicans, boasting of their wealth and also boasting about their tax avoidance see no conflict in criticizing a welfare mom for folding laundry at the Laundromat for cash money while they “fudge” on their taxes. Then I read, “Too Much And Never Enough”, the story of the Trump Family and its ethics (or lack of ethics) in amassing a fortune of nearly 800 million dollars, building tax subsidized housing in the Queens and Brooklyn. Donald has squandered it all and then a couple billion more, has screwed the other family members (including his sisters) out of their rightful share of the inheritance, and has always been in tax jeopardy. He has also stiffed banks, insurance companies and contractors on a routine basis. A fascinating tale of Trump’s father, Fred, making a fortune in the subsidized housing market after WWII and Donald blowing it all on monstrous hotels and casinos. The book is written by Trump’s neice, the daughter of his older brother Fred Jr.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-05-14

    So Cal Thomas doesn’t like the IRS, who knew? Everyone in America. What can you expect. I thought he was dead already. I’ve always liked the police, I’ve lied to them graciously my entire life.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-05-15

    Good reinterpretation of Thomas’s “fudge” phrase, BCB. For conservatives like him, lying on your tax return is just good clean patriotic fun, not a violation of our obligation to the civil society that makes life as a columnist or anything else other than a subsistence forager or marauder possible.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-05-15

    Mark, the IRS becomes an easy butt of our jokes and resentments. But Thomas’s lazy anti-IRS screed is the same sort of lazy anti-government nonsense that we get from lazy candidates like Kristi Noem, who want to score rheotrical points without having to do the hard work of proposing practical policies to make the government and the economy work for everyone.

    Thomas and Noem take a couple of radical and contradictory positions: the IRS and taxes are all bad, while the police, the actual armed arm of the government that can deprive us of life, liberty, and property far more quickly and violently than any IRS agent, are all good. We need to beat back their rhetoric on both grounds and pull their followers to a sensible middle where we can talk about (1) rebuilding the IRS so it can enforce tax code even as we work to simplify tax laws and forms so Americans spend less time and money paying their taxes and (2) reforming police to root out systemic racism and abuses of power while adopting better practices to keep communities safe.

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-05-15

    Cory, I know. Conservative arguments for everything are simply forgone conclusions, presented by Lying Losers. They get worse and worse and worse but they are appealing to their base and their base is getting lower and lower and lower. At some point it will all be flat.

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