Imagine this scenario:
You’re in the wilderness. Free. Minding your own business. You are walking along a path that you and some neighbors explicitly agreed to create to give you easy access to each other. Suddenly, a group of highwaymen approach to block your path, demanding that you pay them. They tell you they are going to maintain this road now, and create new ones by seizing property, and they tell you to "pay them a fee” to be there. You have “a choice,” they claim: you can either pay them, or go to another country lane where another gang of thugs awaits to take your money as well. And they tell you that merely by being on one of the roads, you give your implicit consent to being robbed. If you ask to be left alone, you are the one being aggressive and antisocial, not they who threaten you.
Now imagine they tell you this group-sanctioned theft is a “service.'
Welcome to the U.S. and meet its Internal Revenue “Service.” The IRS has been threatening people with fines, levies, and imprisonment since 1913, when people you never sanctioned to do so voted to tell you that you "agree to pay," and that they’re providing a “service” to you by taking your cash.
Now add something else to this fine mix. Not only is your financial freedom curtailed, not only is the definition of “service” turned inside-out in order to take your money, the agents of this organization must invade your privacy and know how much you earn. They must use a special “super-secret” number to keep track of you, and must have access to your bank account information, regardless of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted searches and seizures.
And now imagine that the “revenue service” allows other criminals to get this information with ease.
This is where the IRS stood on Sept. 30, and still mostly stands while making matters even worse.
The IRS claims the ethical and legal authority to take your financial property and physical assets if you don’t give them what they demand, and in 2016, it was caught having allowed over 700,000 social security numbers and other important private taxpayer info to be hacked.
And what’s the ingenious new answer the brilliant minds of the U.S. government have produced to prevent future breaches of the data they shouldn’t be collecting in the first place?
Pay the private company Equifax multi-millions to handle the private data and guard against "fraud."
That’s right. Equifax.
Why the dramatic phrasing and spacing?
To draw attention to the glorious addition of insult to injury. Not only has the IRS claimed the power to take your cash and your privacy away, they have given a no-bid contract to a company to handle your private financial information (remember when you, as a consumer, could have gone to Equifax to work on your finances, but you decided against it?), and the company it hired… is a company that announced a massive cyber-breach of over 143 million customers a few weeks prior to the IRS awarding the contract.
As Mr. Roarke said each week at the beginning of the television series “Fantasy Island,” “Smiles, everyone! Smiles!”
The fact that Ricardo Montalban, the actor who portrayed the character, imagined Mr. Roarke as a manager of purgatory was often missed by viewers, but we might want to keep it in mind.
Yes, welcome to Fantasy Island, the place where your overseers demand your cash, tell you that you’re giving it of your own free will, release your private information to even more thieves, then hire a company that’s proven to be a failure, just to reassure you.
Of what they reassure is open to interpretation. Perhaps they are reassuring us that they really, really, really don’t care at all to even bother giving the pretense of individual liberty of self-control in this country.
But have no fear, as Steven Orverly and Nancy Scola report for Politico:
Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) separately penned letters to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen demanding he explain the agency's rationale for awarding the contract to Equifax and provide information on any alternatives the agency considered.
So we’re saved. Have no fear at all! Everything’s just fine. You’re not being robbed, your unconstitutionally gathered data is in great hands, the politicians really, really care, and the agency is a “service”.
Now, if you’ll just step this way, we’ll show you the rest of Fantasy Island.
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