Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dive Bombing the IRS in a Piper PA-28

Joseph Stack showed a strange way of leading a crusade against the IRS. He burnt down his house, posted a manifesto, and then kamikazied a 7 story building containing IRS offices.

An incredibly futile act of a mentally deranged (forget the euphemism “emotionally troubled”) nut job. Americans have no great love for the Infernal Revenue Service, but they will not follow a lunatic, a dead lunatic at that, in a futile Jihad against the IRS.

Many Americans were outraged by Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Elian Gonzalez, but they were not about to follow Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168, including 15 children in a day care center in the building, and three fetuses.

Faculty meetings can be painful, but academicians are not going to emulate Amy Bishop in shooting up a meeting.

High school can be an emotionally trying time for adolescents, but Columbine is not the answer.

Stack’s killing an IRS employee is as tragically futile as that other lunatic, the Unabomber, who also published a deranged manifesto. Both megalomaniac rants are a sure cure for insomnia, not a call for a mass uprising.

Attacking the IRS will be no more effective than Wesley Snipe not paying his taxes.

As a computer engineer, Stack should have realized that the heart of the IRS is its servers, the ones that match the W4’s and 1099’s to your 1040. A magnet could destroy more than an armada of Piper Cubs, but I don’t recommend it. Man Against the Machine, not Man Against Man, should be the approach. Put the mainframes and servers out of service, and then you have accomplished something, but I don’t recommend it.

Being audited is as pleasant as a root canal without anesthesia, but I don’t fault the IRS agents.

Stack’s underlying problem wasn’t even with the IRS. The Agency was just the messenger for a stupid provision enacted by Congress decades ago. It essentially barred software engineers from acting as independent consultants.

So what if the hard copy version of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954/1986 is thousands of turgid pages long. Machiavelli and Kafka would revel in it. IRS employees don’t understand it. Lawyers and CPA’s master it. Politicians decry it, but Congress can simplify it anytime it wants.

But an army of Joseph Stacks can’t change it.

Nor can the random act of a psychotic.

Stack took it to the IRS.

Terry Lee Hoskins said come and get it.

Terry owed money to his bank and the IRS.

The bank was going to foreclose on the house and maybe his business.

Terry sent a message to the bank.

He bulldozed the house to the ground. Come and get it!

Customers show their support by lining up to purchase carpet from his his carpet business.

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