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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Condescension, and Class 
11th-Mar-2015 09:45 am
The Twelve Tables were the first statutes in Rome: they were the first laws that applied to everyone. They were drawn up as the result of a general strike by the plebeians, because the patricians were the only ones who could be judges, and they were the only ones who knew the laws that were applied, and they somehow never seemed to rule for the plebeians. It was an advance in law: one law applying to everyone.

Now let's talk about the Internal Revenue Code: it is massively complex, with voluminous regulations, interpretations, two different court systems interpreting it: sufficiently complex that even tax lawyers typically specialize in only certain sections of it. Ted Cruz commented that it was longer than the Bible, an example of a text which could be studied for years before a real understanding came of it, and unfavorably to the code.

The usual suspects have a comment about the comparison: "We also wondered: Why does it matter to the average taxpayer that the tax code is hard to comprehend?" Really? It matters to the ones whose attempts to comply lead to prosecution, penalties, wage garnishment, confiscation, and bankruptcy as they can't pay their other debts. It's one thing to collect taxes. It's another to destroy the productive capacity of the laborer, and likely his family in the process. And to do it cavalierly needs the Washington Post, and the other members of the ruling class who seem never to worry about filing taxes incorrectly (like the Treasury Secretary, a senior Congressman, and, come to think of it, a Secretary of State). It's not serious for them.

It is not fair. It is not equal under the law.
12th-Mar-2015 12:56 pm (UTC)
The tax code should be ridiculously easy to comprehend, as should all laws and regulations.

I have not lived under the US system, but even other nations' systems can be complex at times and I can very well understand why some people want to wipe it all away and go back to a moderate rate of flat tax on everything with no deductions or exemptions. The trouble is, they all seem to select ten percent... and while this is a nice, round figure at which to start, the Usual Suspects immediately see tie-ins to Biblical tithing and start ranting about a theocratic conspiracy.
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