…An intellectually vibrant conservatism is essential to a healthy democracy. The United States needs conservatives willing to criticize the grand plans we liberals sometimes offer, to remind us that traditional institutions should not be overturned lightly and to challenge those who believe that politics can remold human nature.
Wait, is he suggesting we are slow to change? No, say it’s not so!
At its best, as Philip Wallach and Justus Myers argued in National Affairs , conservatism is a “disposition” that “has the most to offer societies that have much worth conserving.” Even those of us who are critical of our nation’s injustices and inequalities can agree that the United States is such a society. The task of conservatives, Wallach and Myers write, is to offer “incremental adaptation” as an alternative to radical change.
So, in plain speak, progress at a thoughtful pace. How reasonable.
Conservatives in power could never materially reduce the size of government, because so much of what it does and spends money on — from supporting the elderly to protecting consumers to providing for the common defense — is so popular. Conservatives haven’t been able to roll back cultural changes, because most Americans don’t want to return where we were before the rights revolutions on behalf of African Americans, women and gays. And politicians can’t reverse the fact that white Americans gradually are losing their majority status in an increasingly diverse nation.
…The Washington Post last month devoted a multi-part series to documenting highway robberies by cops whose departments keep all or part of the proceeds. Now The New York Times scrutinizes the curious IRS practice of draining people’s bank accounts because they regularly deposit relatively small sums of cash.
Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.
The trigger for the seizures is regular deposits of under $10,000, the threshold above which banks are supposed to report financial activity. But depositing money below that amount is considered suspicious “structuring” and is also reportable.
The penalties for failure to file may also apply to any person (including a payer) who attempts to interfere with or prevent the seller (or business) from filing a correct Form 8300. This includes any attempt to structure the transaction in a way that would make it seem unnecessary to file Form 8300. “Structuring” means breaking up a large cash transaction into small cash transactions.
The IRS has regularly interpreted this rule to apply to restaurants, corner stores, and other cash-heavy small businesses that undergo the oh-so-suspicious process of bagging up the week’s receipts and taking them to the bank. Keeping lots of cash on hand is, in many cases, an invitation to a stick-up. And, as the Times story points out, some small businesses are insured only up to $10,000 for cash in their possession—so when the mount gets close, they’re naturally inclined to make a deposit. After a few such efforts at safekeeping the proceeds, the IRS feels justified in taking it all.
With nearly 35 years of experience and observations of the IRS, the past 4 to 6 years have been the most aggressive, taxpayer unfriendly and downright scary times to actually know what’s going on in the area.
I guess it’s time for me to stop fighting it, retire and bury my head in the sand with everyone else. Apparently, the electorate are happy with the suspension of due process (that was in the Constitution for those who remember we had one of those) through regulation and interpretation by Administrative Law Judges (these are employees of the Government Agency they are supposed to be keeping and eye on, no conflict of interest there.)