Phil Hart’s double standard

The progression from conservative to radical

Phil Hart, (R Athol), Athol, Idaho has been in the news recently as well as prominently featured in the Spokesman-Review (online) blogs concerning tax evasion.  Phil Hart has failed to file income taxes either to the fed or the state because he deems income taxes to either be illegal or unconstitutional.  In fact, there has been quite a discussion about Hart being a tax scofflaw on the above featured blog.  The IRS, according to the the print edition of the Spokesman-Review and Coeur d’Alene Press has filed liens against Hart, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, since when did being opposed to the wasting of tax dollars for totally frivolous purposes (and there are plenty of politicians as well as government bureaucrats who are more than happy to waste tax dollars for frivolous purposes) become a radical anti-tax philosophy?  To mean, I no longer just oppose a frivolous spending of my tax dollars, I want to declare them to be unconstitutional, refuse to file, and therefore they can’t be spent for any reason.  In the case of Phil Hart, however, the tax dollars of his constituents pay his state legislature salary.  And we all know that Hart isn’t going to “work for free” in taking up his elected position in the Idaho state gvt.  Front paged in the Spokesman-Review (15 June 2010 under the headline:

Hart missed appeal deadline

Lawmaker says status makes him exempt


This is a quite telling quote from the article in question, “As a member of the legislature, I can defer filing an appeal and all the work that that entails while the Legislature is in session and 10 days prior to the beginning of the session,” in a letter that he wrote to the Idaho state Tax Commission.  The “exemption clause” that he wants to claim in refusing to file taxes and at the same time getting himself in a bit of legal hot water, is to say the least innovativeBUT, I know of no other politician who uses “legislative exemptions” to refuse to file taxes.  Nor looks for excuses as did Hart for why he wouldn’t file taxes or even appeal when the Legislature was not in session.  The very fact that Hart is admittedly declaring that a different standard applies to him because he is a politician than to any other taxpayer in general; has me really shaking my head.  In the Idaho state primary held on 25 May 2010, Hart ran unopposed for elective office.  His position in the Idaho state legislature being secure, he could certainly have dealt with his tax issues.  Uh, his very public statement as published in the Spokesman-Review, “Asked Monday why he didn’t file his appeal during October, November or December, Hart said, ‘I don’t know.  We were putting our game plan together.'”  Really?  Or is that instead, can’t be bothered with doing the right thing?  I guess that Hart benefits from the fact that the rest of the taxpaying citizens of Idaho do indeed file their taxes.  Their income taxes as stated previously, becomes his income.  And the law does require that he indeed file taxes on his income.  He is criminal if he does not.

Let us recognize that he is a politician, that he is in a position to influence laws, including that of the collection of taxes in the state of Idaho.  He could certainly change the law regarding tax collections.  But, he seems to prefer to defy the law when it comes to taxes at all.

It was recently revealed that “conservatives” prefer tradition and order. Taxes are part of any nation’s tradition if the government is to function, if essential services are to be provided, where they become the means of raising and maintaining armies for the defense of that nation.  “Conservatives” would certainly benefit from any and all of that.  The opposition to taxes should be in their by definition:  being wastefully spent quite beyond or an abuse of all that has been posited above.  Fiscal responsibility when it comes to the public money, is to rein in frivolous or wasteful spending of that money.  But it is still a far cry from being radically opposed to paying taxes because one is also radically opposed to government.

In Hart’s case, he is radically opposed to paying the taxes because of his radical opposition to gvt that he is also an elected representative of.  The most supreme of ironies in this situation.  For anyone else, we would be hauled before a tax court or spend some time in the hoosegaw for failing to accept our “biblical responsibilities” when it comes to taxes (1 Samuel The Tanakh).  You have to wonder why a guy like Hart might decide to argue that the bible should be the basis of our laws in this nation and certainly the state of Idaho. However, the biblical law of taxation is excluded from consideration.  I fail to find much that is “conservative” about Phil Hart.  Nor should the label become a fig leaf for immoral behavior.


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