Iowa Caucuses, Abusive Power Of The IRS And Oil Prices

There is alot going on in the world right now and only a limited amount of space to write about it. Of course, the big news is news that should be mostly irrelevent to anyone but an Iowan, but the caucuses that were held yesterday are headlines everywhere and we need to pay at least some token attention to it.

Why?

I don’t know. It is not as if Iowa and Hew Hampshire are the only states that will determine who will be the Presidential candidates for each party. But it is entertaining and it does allow certain issues to come to the front that otherwise would not have been given any attention at all.

In her most recent column in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan touches on this with her explanation of why Mike Huckabee won:

What we have learned about Mr. Huckabee the past few months is that he’s an ace entertainer with a warm, witty and compelling persona. He won with no money and little formal organization, with an evangelical network, with a folksy manner, and with the best guileless pose in modern politics. From the mail I have received the past month after criticizing him in this space, I would say his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture.

They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools’ squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don’t admire billionaire CEOs, they admire husbands with two jobs who hold the family together for the sake of the kids; they don’t need to see the triumph of supply-side thinking, they want to see that suffering woman down the street get the help she needs.

They believe that Mr. Huckabee, the minister who speaks their language, shares, down to the bone, their anxieties, concerns and beliefs. They fear that the other Republican candidates are caught up in a million smaller issues–taxing, spending, the global economy, Sunnis and Shia–and missing the central issue: again, our culture. They are populists who vote Republican, and as I have read their letters, I have felt nothing but respect.

Mike Huckabee is not who I would have voted for, but at least his victory in Iowa will bring the social issues back into the Republican Party, and the GOP will greatly benefit as a result.

You can access the complete column on-line here:

Out With The Old, In With The New
Peggy Noonan
OpinionJournal.com
January 4, 2008


Oh! And this is a big one! You have got to read this story. I don’t even know where to begin in describing it, so I will just let the excerpts speak for themselves.

From the World Net Daily:

A lawyer who was acquitted by a federal court trial jury of Internal Revenue Service accusations he failed to filed income tax returns for two years now is suing several IRS agents over their alleged improper disclosure of his personal information in the case.

A spokeswoman in the office of lawyer Tom Cryer told WND the case was assembled and filed by Cryer between Christmas Day and the end of 2007 and is expected to be placed on the docket in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Last summer in federal court a jury voted 12-0 to find Cryer, of Shreveport, not guilty of the IRS allegations. He had been indicted on 2006 on government claims he failed to pay $73,000 to the IRS in 2000 and 2001.

His successful defense was based on a challenge to the IRS to prove a constitutional foundation for the nation’s income tax.

You did read that last sentence, right? Read on:

Now his claim against the government’s agents, according to a report in the Shreveport Times, explains four IRS criminal investigation division workers tried to destroy his reputation during the course of their investigation in the case.

The lawsuit alleges IRS agents Jimmy H. Sandefur, Darrin A. Heusel and Judge Armand, and a trainee, Patrick Potter “entered into a smear and fear campaign to destroy Plaintiff’s good reputation and law practice.”

Cryer alleges the federal workers repeatedly violated federal laws that restrict the disclosure of tax information, release of information about an investigation and publicizing information about a grand jury investigation.

This case will highlight the fact that the IRS possesses an abusive power that they never should have been given in the first place. More:

“I think now people are beginning to realize that this has got to be the largest fraud, backed up by intimidation and extortion and by the sheer force of taking peoples’ property and hard-earned money without any lawful authorization whatsoever,” Cryer said after his acquittal.

He said he is dedicated to the truth, and has launched a new Truth Attack website that is intended to build on his victory, and create a coalition of resources to defeat – ultimately – the income tax in the United States.

We, as a people, need to research the case of Tom Cryer and his fight against a Federal Government entity that can only be described as “invasive” and “abusive.”

His website can be accessed here:

Truth Attack

And the complete article can be accessed on-line here:

Lawyer Who Beat IRS Sues Agents
World Net Daily
January 4, 2008

This is yet another reason why I am a supporter of the Fair Tax

UPDATE: For those who wish to research this issue further and gather background information on the original case, I found links to certain documents. After Mr. Cryer filed a Motion to Dismiss on March 3rd of 2007:

The Government’s Response
Mr. Cryer’s Reply
Mr. Cryer’s Trial Brief
Proposed Jury Instructions
Proposed Voir Dire Questions


And finally, the Wall Street Journal has an interesting expose about the price of oil and its relationship to the strength/weakness of the dollar.

From the Review & Outlook section:

Since 2001 the dollar price of oil and gold have run in almost perfect tandem (see nearby chart). The gold price has risen 239% since 2001, while the oil price has risen 267%. This means that if the dollar had remained “as good as gold” since 2001, oil today would be selling at about $30 a barrel, not $99. Gold has traditionally been a rough proxy for the price level, so the decline of the dollar against gold and oil suggests a U.S. monetary that is supplying too many dollars.

We would add that the dollar price of nearly all commodities — from wheat to corn to copper to silver — are also surging, a further sign of a weakening currency. On Wednesday alone the price of wheat and soybeans increased 3.4% and 2.8%, respectively. That follows a 75% increase in their price in 2007 — which ran ahead of the oil price, which gained a mere 57% for the year. Neither OPEC nor China caused food commodity prices to rise like this. The main culprit here is a global loss of confidence in Federal Reserve policy and the dollar.

And this interesting tidbit:

A weak dollar has been trumpeted in the business media and especially among manufacturers as a strategy to lower the trade deficit. But this strategy makes imported oil a lot more expensive. The trade figures reveal that a major contributor to the rising trade deficit over this decade has been the high cost of oil imports. We don’t worry about the trade deficit — except in so far as it inspires protectionism — but those who do might want to consider that the weak dollar policy they are cheering is making fuel very expensive.

Rising oil prices act like a tax on American consumers. With the economy slowing, the Fed is now under intense pressure to cut interest rates to stimulate the economy and provide liquidity to the banking industry. But if this causes the dollar to continue to weaken, the tax of higher commodity prices will offset much of the “stimulus” from looser money. The Fed will get a lot less bang for its easier buck.

The larger danger here, as we’ve been warning for some time, is that the U.S. seems to be returning to the Carter-era economic policy mix of tight fiscal policy (tax increases) and easy money. Add barriers to oil and natural gas production and you have a recipe for higher oil prices and slower growth. In a word, for stagflation. The Reagan-Volcker policy mix of the 1980s changed all that, but maybe we have to relearn the hard way every generation or so what works — and what produces $100 oil.

Please read this article and take it to heart.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Oil And The Dollar
The Wall Street Journal
January 4, 2008

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