|Let's treat taxes like immigration
By Justin Darr
Remember back to what the immigration issue was about when it began to concern Conservatives. It had nothing to do with racism, guest worker programs, fences along the border, or questions of amnesty. It was about the United States government refusing to enforce the law.
We thought it was wrong for people, who came into the country illegally, to be given free college tuition, released back into the general population after they committed a crime, rather than being immediately deported, issued drivers' licenses, and free medical care. Not because we are cruel and heartless people who do not care about the suffering of others, but because our government had decided to enforce the laws unequally.
If you decided tomorrow that you were not going to pay any more taxes to the government, how long do you think it would be before you suffered repercussions? Oh, I would say about a year or so. About a month and a half after next year's tax deadline, the IRS would be on you like a chicken on a june bug. Threatening letters, liens on your property, garnishments on your paycheck, lawsuits, and even jail time would await you because "you broke the law." Your credit, finances, and life in general would be literally destroyed because you chose to ignore a piece of federal legislation.
How is paying not paying taxes any different than ignoring immigration law? Just as the illegal immigrant is financially better off violating the law and coming to the United States, you would be better off if you had access to the 35 to 50% of your annual income that is consumed by taxes. Just as most illegal immigrants commit no crimes other than their being here illegally, you, too, would be a model, productive, citizen except that the government would not be getting its cut. And, as far as most illegal immigrants are paid "under the table," or otherwise off the financial books and pay no taxes anyway, there would be no difference at all if you stopped paying taxes.
Since many of our leaders think that 10 million illegal immigrants in the United States indicates that we need to completely rework our immigration law, does that mean if 10 million Americans refused to pay taxes they would throw out the tax code? Far from it.
This is why Conservatives are upset about illegal immigration, and why we are dissatisfied with the response to it from Washington. Our elected leaders have chosen to coddle a group of scofflaws, reworking the law to accommodate them, and granting as sacrosanct the same privileges that would be denied every American if they chose to do the same thing. I am not completely certain, but do not the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" clauses also guarantee "equal enforcement" of the laws?
So, maybe it is not taxes. If illegal immigrants get to break immigration laws if they have a good reason, can we pick a law to not obey if it suits our needs? "Sorry officer, but you pulled me over for speeding without realizing that I am exercising my "Mulligan Clause" on speed limits. Maybe you should point your radar at my neighbor, he gets to ignore local zoning ordinances."
All we wanted was the current law to be enforced. How can Congress go through all this political drama about changing illegal immigration laws when we have never enforced them to begin? Maybe the laws on the books are great! Maybe they would work if our government could muster the resolve to actually implement them.
The bottom line is Washington is showing us where their real priorities are. Taking away our money for them is way up on the list, defending our culture, society, and respect for the rule of law, low. How long will it be before everyone, not just illegal immigrants, ignores them and their messed up priorities?
Justin Darr is a freelance writer living in the Philadelphia area with his wife and twin children. He can be read widely on the Internet and in publications across North America and in Europe. © May 2006, Justin Darr
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