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Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 4

Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 4, part 3

In further attempts to destroy resistance and prevent the “overthrow of government,” the county/city contingent threatened to cut the strikers off from government services. Fred Sargent, chairman of the Committee on Public Expenditures, proposed strategic elimination of water, police protection (how that would be accomplished I don’t know), and even legal standing in court. Sargent insisted the strikers should pay their taxes “if they are to claim the rights of American citizenship,” which is an interesting concept, but one that doesn’t have much backing. A quick perusal of the Declaration of Independence reveals that all men are created equal (which is a self-evident truth), and are endowed by their creator with certain* unalienable rights. So was Fred Sargent claiming the government of the city of Chicago to be the creator of the people who lived there? Or was he claiming that paying taxes gave these people life? Maybe he was stating his belief that the ambiguous and officious entity of bureaucratic government in general provided the validation people needed for existing. I can’t say for sure what he was thinking (if he was at all, but I think he and his ilk were just getting desperate), but I do know that any one or any thing that claims to be the source of freedom has appointed themselves in the place of God. A government that claims to provide people with rights that come from God is committing blasphemy.

So after a few measly and cowardly attempts at making an example of high profile ARET members by revoking their government-provided privileges, the executive arm of government turned to the judicial arm for support. Judge Edmund Jarecki dismissed ARET’s objections and entered a judgment for the sale of the tax strikers’ properties. In a moment of graciousness and charity, he “announced a tempting 50 percent reduction in accumulated penalties for all taxpayers who came into court (bowed before the throne), received judgment (threw themselves at the mercy of the agent of the omnipotent state), and made partial payments (repented of their grievous sins).” I added the parenthetical statements, but is it really that much of a stretch? Is it really so ridiculous to say that government has appropriated God’s right to bestow and revoke liberty? Government also attempts to make itself the granter of life, allowing and disallowing as it’s mediums see fit, so how far does it have to go before we recognize it as blasphemy?

And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” “Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.”

*in this context, does the word “certain” mean a few specific rights, or does it mean rights that are certain, as in secured and unassailable?


Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 4
April 30, 2009, 5:49 am
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Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito

Blog: Chapter 4, part 2

The All-City Publicity Committee (ACPC) and their summer jam plan “gave teachers a golden opportunity to turn their publicity for tax collection into an all-pervasive operation.” A dream come true, all pervasiveness! Every government school’s fondest wish. Mary Leitch (what an unfortunate but oh-so-appropriate name), the chair of the committee (can we call her a commissar?) pledged 10,000 teachers to volunteer as special collectors. To show what a special lady she was, here’s what she said about collecting taxes: “It’s a selling job—this collection of taxes. You must make it easy for the customer to buy. You must break down the sales resistance, and there is resistance to paying taxes. There is a mental complex that we must look for.” How convenient that the victim can become the customer at the convenience of the state.

So an army of unimind slave trainers was slated to go house to house and convince families to hand over the dough by studying the “mental complex” and breaking down resistance. I’ve never been to a re-education camp (not including my government school years), but that sounds ominously similar to what might happen at one. This is proof that teachers are underpaid!

Hilariously, the attempt to buoy up a massive parasitic bureaucracy was stifled by bureaucracy—”Swearing in the teachers to serve as deputy collectors presented difficulties because of the prohibitive expense of bonding requirements.” In addition, there was a threat of “racketeers posing as teachers to collect money for themselves.” (That would be horrible. It’s much better for racketeers to pose as tax collectors to collect money for the state beast. As always, don’t steal—the government hates competition.) Due to this unfortunate turn of events, it was decided that the teachers would still visit homes to break the will of the tax dodgers, but wouldn’t actually collect the money. They would escort the broken mental complex to an official and authorized collector. Somehow that seems even more insidious.

Alas, the whole despicable plan was sunk due to Ms Leitch’s lust for power. She was “adamant that teachers be authorized to collect money.” Although it would be interesting—but not extremely difficult—to disect and examine the reasoning behind such a demand, there is no need. The Leitch said it herself. “We want to capitalize on sociological effects of asking for taxes. If we are not deputies our work will be futile.” Not only did she want control of the minds of all children, she also wanted teachers to become gendarmes.

And thus we see that government schools are inevitably and inextricably linked to state power, so much so that there is no visible link—they are the same body. One in unity and purpose, you might say. Like the court system, it can’t be reasonably expected that there would ever be a significant opinion or practice from the government school system that would result in the promotion of individualist ideas or behavior. Some people refer to this as “socialization,” as in “It’s important for kids to go to school to become socialized.” Indeed, but important for who? Or is it whom? I didn’t pay attention in school.

But the teachers could not be discouraged from their righteous cause. A mass meeting of teachers was held in July “to consider what steps to take against those taxpayers who ignored appeals to civic pride and patriotism.” Interesting that they thought it was their right to decide what to do about it, but not surprising, since they had already fancied themselves as an elite constabulary. “Among other demands, the gathering endorsed prosecution of tax strikers for criminal conspiracy.” Again, the government and all it’s tentacles obviously hate competition. Hayden Bell, State’s Attorney for Cook County, supported the teachers in their demands because an organized strike is “always immoral, always criminal, as it brings loss and suffering to public workers, and tends directly to the embarassment and overthrow of government.” Nothing is worse than something that exposes the uselessness of government, eh Hayden? Without the complex and criminal apparatus of governement you might actually have to work for a living, and that would be a terrible tragedy. Once again, irony is displayed in full view, but goes unperceived by the glorious instructors of youth. Tax strikers are a criminal conspiracy because they conspired to avoid monetary deprivation by an even larger criminal conspiracy which has the resources to extract the property of others by force*. I see. Turns out might does make right.

Next, tools of the state claim the throne of God.

*A more thorough examination of this idea can be found here


Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 4
April 30, 2009, 5:48 am
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Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 4, part 1

For the past eight years we’ve heard about “tax cuts for the rich” and other such nonsense. That aspersion has been around for much longer though. Available records of ARET membership show that the tax protesters were, for the most part, far from the stereotypical real estate tycoons just trying to keep more of the people’s money. Many of the members were businessmen (The Rich!), but “were mostly small shopkeepers and other petty proprietors.” “Skilled blue-collar workers constituted the biggest single group of members.” Does that sound like a revolt against The Righteous Workers of the Proletariat? Sounds like the actual proletariat to me. Will Grigg is succinct in his summation of the process: Each of us invests a portion of our most perishable possession – time – to earn money. Thus every forcible imposition on our earnings, through direct taxation, or its more subtle surrogate, inflation, represents an increment of life stolen by the state.” People were trying to survive in a harsh economic climate (one created by government intervention), only to be villified by government for daring to make the attempt without the munificent hand and gracious help of the variety of government appartuses supplied at public (tax victim) expense.

As is always the case when a group challenges the power of government, Cook County and Chicago fought back harder than ever. Anton Cermak—the mayor of Chicago and thereby King of Cook County—”made clear his readiness to go to almost any lengths to destroy ARET.” Amusingly, when they actually had to get down and do something about ARET, “he and the rest of the city administration betrayed their buffudlement.” Amusing, but when are elected officials anything other than befuddled? Just as with the threats to close schools, another campaign of scare tactics was launched. The All-City Publicity Committee (committees are so Soviet) went as far as to commission a song with the catchy title Be Fair to Chicago’s Boys and Girls! Pay Your Taxes Now. Sounds like a number one summer jam to me. The goal, of course, was to bamboozle, hoodwink, and guilt the people in such a way that “the various opposed interests will not dare to attack further that foundation of all democracy—free and full education for the child.” The committee apparently forgot “compulsory” in their description of the foundation of Soviet-style mind-bending.*

Next, teachers become storm troopers.

*See Article 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, (a document full of double speak if there ever was one), and item number 10 on the Communist Manifesto‘s list of requirements.

Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 3
April 30, 2009, 5:47 am
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Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 3, part 3

When the Wave Motion Gun tactic didn’t work, Cermak and his cronies (or was he their crony?) went to DC to beg for a bailout (we are truly living on a perverse Möbius Strip). No small-time hack, he swung for the fences by demanding “money now or militia later.” The main difference between than and now is that he went home empty handed. Our empathetic modern congressweasels would have sent him back with promises of billions, and the means with which to subdue any further dissent. Hopefully the real militia would be ready to meet them.

Soon after that, the Illionis Supreme Court overruled an important case on the tax issue, which took ARET’s trump card away. Beito says, “The ruling underscored a problem that dogged ARET to no end. When forced to choose between literal enforcement of the uniformity article or protecting the power of government, the courts invariably opted for the power of government.” But how can we expect anything more of the courts, which are just another tentacle of the state?

Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 3
April 30, 2009, 5:46 am
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Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 3, part 2

In the face of increasing tax delinquency, politicians (and their minions and masters, the newspapers and banks) predictably groveled, begged, and threatened the public to pay their taxes. One particular ARET pamphlet urging non-payment asked, “Shall I pay a tax which by general admission is unfair and illegal and which by court order is fraudulent and void and which is more than double the amount that would result from a fair, reasonable, legal assessment of the taxable wealth of Cook County?” The answer to that seems obvious. It was obvious to the residents of Cook County as well—a group with a membership of 35 at the beginning of 1931 grew to 8,000 by October, and by June 1932 passed 20,000. Those numbers must have struck a glorious fear in the hearts of the elected pillagers.

But the pillagers still had the newspapers to rely on. While denying ad space (paid ad space) to ARET, the papers regularly donated full page ads to the city government’s “Pay Your Taxes” campaign. Donald Duck was on board at the national level.

In their desperation for tax money, some of the propaganda posters asked people to “Pay What You Think Is A Fair Tax.” This capitulatory request was met with scorn by Mauritz Hallgren of the Nation magazine. “He sensed in this slogan dangerous evidence of civic impotence, or worse, anarchy.” Oh no, the peasants might catch on! Hallgren continued: “This is not only a tax strike, it is open revolt against government. One must consider the present state of affairs little short of anarchy when civic societies feel impelled to flood the town with posters calling upon the residents to ‘Pay What You Think Is A Fair Tax! Pay Now! Keep You Schools Open!'” A little short of anarchy actually sounds good to me. The alternative is made quite clear by Hallgren, although maybe not purposely. The opposite of paying a voluntary amount to the city government is paying the amount they say, when they say to pay it, and there had better not be any grumbling or else! At least the mafia works for their extorted income.

So tax protesters are anarchists. What other slanderous label can be applied to them? Irvin Wilson of the Chicago Principals’ Club (a club? Were girls allowed? Did they have a secret password?) predicted a Bush tactic when he said the tax strike was the “most dangerous form of terrorism and public disorder.” Terrorists! You’re either with us or against us, and if you’re against us, you’re with the terrorists, but if you’re not actually with the terrorists, but you’re against us, then you’re really with the terrorists, so pay your taxes. Why doesn’t it surprise me that Dubya didn’t come up with the terrorists slam on his own?

So with tax money trickling in and credit with the banks drying up, what could possibly be done? Members of ARTE’s board had an idea. Cut spending! Novel. One of the board saw the tax strike as “the best way to guarantee a reduction in costs and force politicians to ‘relinquish the powers they have built up through governmental machinery and the allotment of jobs… which have no natural part of government. The only time the politician understands the people mean business is when the money is shut off. So shut the money off!'” I don’t think it could be any clearer.

Up against unassailable reasoning like that, and losing ground, the city and it’s various appendages decided to pull out the big guns—The Children. You can never argue with The Children. The city began to indirectly threaten to close the schools as a cost-cutting measure, but only as a means to strike a blow to ARET and similar groups, not as a way of actually cutting costs. That would be a little too much to ask. “Prominent educator” George Strayer authored a study that recommended closing schools “as a device to shock the public into realizing they could no longer “emasculate” the school system.” I think public education is good enough at emasculation without any help from tax payers or non-taxpayers.

It would have been historical if they had done it though. What would public school be like today if a major city like Chicago had a debilitated—or even extinct—school system? The emperor would have no clothes. Alas, they were smart enough to realize that closing the public schools would have accentuated the fact that there was competition. Some teachers feared that “closure might result in a massive and permanent switch of allegiance away from the public schools.” Oh dear, our propaganda mills and brain washing centers are empty! What shall we do? One teacher observed, “There are plenty of other schools in the city for all the children to go to if we do [close the schools] and they will go. There are private schools, there are Lutheran parochial schools and there are Catholic parochial schools.” Nicely said Teacher, but observing and verbalizing your own obsolescence and desuetude must have been painful.

ARET called the School Closing Crisis bluff. Peter Foote, head of an ARET branch office, welcomed the money-saving idea of school closure. “Let them learn to sew on buttons and other sensible things for a while.” And he was no bystander—he had ten kids (although I would be curious to know what his wife thought of the idea). Others were of a similar opinion. Another Chicago parent said, “If closing the schools for six months or a year is the price we have to pay for the abolition of corrupt, incompetent and extravagant government, I should say without hesitation, let us close the schools.” So you get rid of corrupt and incompetent government, and as a bonus your kids don’t get the collectivist mind-meld for six hours every day? Sign me up! (You may or may not be interested to know what my wife has to say on that matter.)

Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 3
April 30, 2009, 5:45 am
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Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 3, part 1

From Portrait of a Tax Racket to Taxpayers on Strike in Chicago. Interesting stuff right off the bat. The crash of 1929 sparked the nation’s interest in tax rebellion, but Chicago’s revolt had been brewing for years already. According to Beito, the “breakdown of the tax-appeals system provided the immediate spark.” So many people were appealing their assessments that the aforementioned insufficient appeals system required an alternative. “In one day alone, 29 November 1930, 4,000 taxpayers jammed into the board’s offices to file protest. When the board’s members turned a deaf ear to the mountain of pending appeals, aggrieved taxpayers resorted to the only avenues of protest left open to them. In Chicago, this meant court litigation and/or nonpayment of taxes.” Avenues of protest—what an important concept, eh? What an important reality too. Do we have any? Before you get all Glenn Beck-y and start talking about changing the system by working in the system, let me ask you if you really think the system would agree to change itself. OK, here goes: do you think the system would agree to change itslef? Well, we have the court system, right? But who appoints judges? Sure, some are elected, but those ones are just peons. The big guns what have the final word are appointed. What is the source of funding for the court system? Taxes. Elected officials who have the power to tax have the ability to fund or defund the court system. How do you think the court will find? For their employers or against? You don’t have to raise your hand, just answer it in your mind.

Chicago and Cook county had suspended real estate tax collections for two years following a court battle over assessment issues. Some favored renewed collection ASAP. “Many defenders of renewed collections feared permanent damage to the psychology of orderly taxpaying.” Orderly taxpaying! Images of orderly Jews shuffling into trains and showers and ovens comes immediately to mind. I suppose Spartacus drowning a cook in the soup damaged the psychology of orderly slaves, right?

The new mayor, Anton Cermak (if he saw the road named after him he’d be embarassed), got elected on a “limited government” platform (we’ve heard that before, haven’t we? Ahem, Reagan, Bush, etc) but proceeded to demonize proponents of lower taxes. What a surprise. Cermak was supported in his falsities by the press, of course. Beito says, “All five of Chicago’s daily newspapers closed ranks against the strike.” Taxpayer groups and the like were called undesirable citizens, racketeers, and who knows what else. I guess things haven’t changed all that much. The media (or at least media outlets with large audiences) were shills for state (or city) power then, and they are now. I think that may be a little generous. Maybe I should say the (collective) mainstream media is a tentacle of the state. Or city.

And speaking of tentacles, I’ll go ahead and say the state is a tentacle as well. I know, you’re on the edge of your seat wondering who or what this tentacle is attached to. Well, the big rush to resume taxing everyone everywhere was due to the “need” for the city and county to maintain lines of credit. The banks were becoming impatient. They had bonds and notes from the city that were contingent on future tax receipts, and they wanted the dough. But some reforms (or deforms, more appropriately, supported by “leading bankers”) were in order. Instead of an elected board of assessors, they wanted to “substitute a single appointed assessor.” And who, pray tell, do you think would be appointed? And who do you think would do the appointing? So the tentacles are all attached to banks. That’s the big, fat, disgusting, slimy body. And it smells like Little Timmy Geithner. So the banks pay for their man to get elected, their man regurgitates the required instructions to the media (owned by guess who), and the media get everyone behind policy that supports, of course, the banks. Or maybe I’m mistaken. Or maybe I’m not.

Remember the Socialidiot mayor of Milwaukee and his fear of the lack of government programs? The specter of tax resistance caused the newspapers’ knees to quiver. While the papers were running front page editorials (front page!) urging passage of bankster bills and reforms proposed by the banks, the Chicago Daily News was warning that “the danger of violence, fire and disease is so imminent as to warrant immediate preparation of possible invocation of martial law, under which civil rights in a normal community are automatically suspended.” (How can you tell that fire is imminent? Shouldn’t that person be working for the fire department?) The Chicago Evening Post claimed that “refusal to pay taxes strikes at the very root of government as effectively as an armed revolt.” Yes, but that’s a good thing. I seem to recall some of our Congressweasels being threatened with the ol’ martial law ploy during the recent hand-over-trillions-of-dollars-or-else debacle. My, how things don’t change. Lucky for them people don’t change much either. “Oh please mastah gubmint, save us from the horrible things like unemployment, recession, global climate in crisis, sickness, death, killer asteroids, black holes, spiders, cold wind, British comedy, and the Oort cloud.” Look to God and live. Look to government and die.

Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 2
April 30, 2009, 5:44 am
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Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 2, part 3

Finishing up chapter two, one statement struck me as odd. “ARET’s [Association of Real Estate Taxpayers, a Chicago group formed to support real estate owners, obviously] leaders resorted to something resembling a benefit theory of government as their theoretical starting point. The benefit theory, in contrast to the ability-to-pay theory, held that taxes should be levied in proportion to the services that an individual received from government.”

The logical question to ask (according to my own personal logic, which may be different from yours) is why do taxes need to be levied just to get the money back? If you get back the same proportion you paid, why pay at all? I say if you’re going to redistribute wealth, at least be straightforward about it and say that’s what you’re going to do. If tax money were distributed “fairly,” it would only serve to reveal the nonsensical nature of the tax in the first place. So then the logical conclusion has to be that taxes must be redistributed unfairly to keep the tax—and by extension, and perhaps more importantly, those who levy and collect the tax—from revealing itself as obsolete.

Semi-related writing from Lew Rockwell.