Taxes are in the law |

Taxes are in the law

Jeffrey S. Ryan

Graeme Straeffer’s letter (Daily Mail, Feb. 12), claiming that income taxes are unconstitutional, made me nostalgic. Anti-tax rants like this were quite common back before the 9/11 attacks, when the so-called “Patriot Movement” was rampant, and anti-government groups got publicity for their dubious positions and claims.

The Oklahoma City bombing dampened some of the “Patriot” influence, and after the World Trade center attacks the movement appeared to run out of gas. But, lest Mr. Straeffer’s beliefs entice the unwary, allow me a brief rebuttal.

Mr. Straeffer argues that there is no law requiring citizens “to pay a tax on their labor.” However, labor is something performed for compensation, i.e., money, and compensation is income and therefore taxable. Section 6012(a) of the Internal Revenue Code clearly defines who must pay taxes, and contrary to Mr. Straeffer’s implication, it is in fact a “law.”

Another of Mr. Straeffer’s contentions, that the Federal Reserve System (“FRS”) is a privately owned bank, is also false. While privately owned banks can be members of the FRS, the FRS is controlled by its Board of Governors. This Board is appointed by the President of the United States, and the governors must be approved by the U.S. Senate. Thus, the FRS is not a privately owned or operated bank. It is a governmental agency.

Likewise, the IRS is an agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, not a “completely private corporation,” as Mr. Straeffer maintains. Nor does the tax money collected by the IRS go to pay down any debt to the FRS. The FRS does not use any tax money to finance its operations. In fact, the FRS makes substantial payments to the Treasury Department every year.

The arguments made by Mr. Straeffer represent just the tip of the iceberg. Anti-tax activists have a huge arsenal of equally specious “facts.” Many people have fallen for these claims. Many of them are in prison.