The front page story in America’s Newspaper of Record this morning concerned a claim by the IRS that movie director Martin Scorsese owes $2.85 million in back taxes.
The nub of the matter seems to be that the guy Scorsese hired to manage his money was a crook. The same guy is said to have stiffed Al Pacino.
What proportion of the taxpaying public has any idea how much tax they owe, to within the nearest five percent? The income tax is a monstrous imposition on a free people.
Around this time of year I used to sink into despair thinking about this stuff. Nothing (I groaned) would ever change. The tax system would just get more and more incomprehensible; the tax-eaters would go on proliferating; the congresscritters would find new ways to spend money, for ever and ever, down to the crack of doom. NPR would never be defunded, nor the NEA, nor PBS. The five federal departments that have come into existence since I first arrived on these shores 38 years ago (Energy, HHS, Education, VA, Homeland Security) will go on expanding, though the U.S.A. I arrived in seemed to work just fine without them — seemed, in fact, to a young guy from the Old World, to be a paradise of freedom and opportunity. The wealth and power of government would grow and grow; our liberties would dwindle correspondingly, down into that soft despotism de Tocqueville warned us of.
Okay, gotta get back to my tax prep.