Your Influence Counts ... Use It! The SPOTLIGHT by Liberty Lobby

Reprinted from, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive

Sun Could 'Set' on Big Brother

  • With a little luck, government computers could fry as 'Y2K,' AD 2000, approaches.
By James P. Tucker, Jr.

While there is a new wave of public sentiment and political support for abolishing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), that famously incompetent corrupt and oppressive agency may self-destruct.

Unless technocrats can resolve the problem, the IRS computers come crashing down one second after midnight, December 31, 1999, because they can't handle the year 2000.

The problem is real, and billions of dollars in both the public and private sectors have been earmarked to protect against it.

Don't be on the technocrats -- they have just wasted bullions of dollars trying to update their computers and failed miserably

It could be timely, with the IRS computers and the IRS crashing together. At the moment, Republican leaders are debating a "flat tax" and outright elimination of the federal income tax in favor of a national consumption tax.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) wants the flat tax. Which would reduce the IRS to a postal drop to receive returns filled out in two minutes on a postcard from citizens and corporations.

But the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Bill Archer (R- Texas) wants to abolish the IRS and income tax. He argues Armey's flat tax leaves the income tax in place. Future Congresses could easily return to the current, oppressive system.

After eliminating the income tax statutorily, Archer wants a constitutional amendment to prohibit income taxes so future Congresses could not restore the present system.


Into this mix steps Rep. Steve Largent (R-Okla.) With his bill to "sunset" the IRS in four years. Under his bill (H.R. 2490, pending before the Ways and Means Committee, the income tax and IRS would disappear into the sunset on December 31, 2001 unless Congress acts.

"It sets a date certain for the elimination of the current tax code and, by doing so, it requires Congress and the American people to begin the national debate on how to replace it,' Largent said.

"Four years is plenty of time for Congress and the American people to debate the merits of all the reforms that are currently floating about, as well as new ideas that will undoubtedly emerge," Largent said.

"And four years is plenty of time for the nation to collectively decide what the new tax system should look like," Largent said. "Having a date certain will force the issue to the top of the national agenda."

Largent's bill would protect Social Security and Medicare and require super-majorities for Congress to increase tax.

While Largent's bill leaves open the threat of maintaining the status quo and takes a long time -- Archer wants elimination of the income tax to be the major issue of the 1998 congressional elections -- his emergence does add impetus to the effort.

More than 40 years ago, Liberty Lobby, publisher of The SPOTLIGHT, was a voice in the wilderness calling for elimination of the income tax. Then, Liberty Lobby's views were rejected by the mainstream as "radical." Now, those views are the mainstream. And the momentum is building.
But there are powerful forces fighting to save the income tax and the IRS.

First, of course, are the bureaucrats themselves. They enjoy getting paid to snoop through your tax files out of curiosity. Hundreds of IRSers have been caught snooping on their neighbors and celebrities. And these sickos enjoy perpetrating the horrors that roused the nation during the recent Senate hearings.

Then there are the pragmatic defenders of the income tax: lawyers, accountants and others who make up the $500 billion-a-year income tax industry. Without such a tax, they would have to find productive employment.

These are among the reasons Archer says prices will fall when the income tax falls. Obviously, if the income tax is gone by the year 2000, there's no reason to fix the computers.

If Largent amends his bill to sunset two years earlier, and it is enacted, tax payers will save billions.