Americans have always hated taxes. And for good reason.
There’s a fine line between legitimate taxation and the abuse of power. That line was crossed over the weekend. On Saturday morning, lawmakers were handed a 3,000-page appropriations bill that they were asked to vote on just six hours later. Slipped smack in the middle of the bill was the following provision: “…the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (search) shall hereafter allow agents designated by the chairmen [of the House or Senate Appropriations Committees] access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."
In other words, lawmakers and their agents would henceforth have the authority to sneak a peek of anybody’s tax forms and distribute that information to the world. Now most lawmakers probably didn’t get to page 1,112 of the bill to read this tiny provision. But Senator Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) staffers did, and when they brought it to the attention of Senator Conrad, he was outraged. He demanded the provision be removed, and it was.
Politicians are running for cover, and Representative Ernest Istook, (R-Okla.) whose office was behind the provision, claims nobody’s privacy was ever really jeopardized. To which Senator Conrad responded, “At some point people's privacy would have been jeopardized, and this could have been an extraordinarily serious abuse of power.”
Here’s a vote of thanks to Senator Conrad (search) and his staff for keeping us all one step further from the doors of tyranny.
And that’s the Asman Observer.
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