On the Other Hand...

by Jim Davies

The Case That Wasn't on Court TV


It may be understandable that when a senior priest of one of America's National Religions is put on trial for a brutal double murder, a fascinated public should watch it, blow by boring blow, on television with a camera in court. So be it. But today, I bring news of an unrelated case, of vastly greater direct importance to every reader than the Simpson trial, but which was NOT shown on Court TV or anything like it. After reading of it, see if you can guess why.

It's the case of Lloyd R Long, of Tennessee. There, I thought you'd never heard of it! That's one case that CNN and your favorite national daily never did cover. It's referred to in the lawbooks as CR-1-03-91, US v. Long, in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Tennessee, filed October 15th 1993. The case was reported three months later in The Independence News Opinion.

Mr Long has joined an expanding list of authentic heroes of American liberty. He was, and is, a regular guy. In 1989 and 1990 he earned $49,000 a year. But unlike most of the rest of us, he decided none of that belonged to the government and so that he was not going to file any of its tax returns.


In due course the vultures from the IRS came visiting, and prosecuted him for "willful failure to file." His defense was that he was not required to file a tax return, and he had done his homework to show that that was so; but unlike several others who have used the same defense without success, Mr Long won the case; the jury acquitted him. Jury trials: what a wonderful idea! 

End of the Income Tax?

He was ably represented by attorney Lowell Becraft, to whom much credit is due, and based his argument on the Supreme Court decision in the 75 year old case of Brushaber v Union Pacific Railroad , in which it unanimously agreed that the 16th Amendment did NOT give Congress any new power to tax individuals. Rather, it clarified the way tax was imposed and that the "income tax" was (and, therefore, is) just an excise tax on corporate and work privileges. That's a bit hard to grasp, given that we are all pummelled by everything we hear in (government!) school and (government-licensed!) broadcasts to believe the contrary; it means nothing less than the fact that ordinary wages and salaries are NOT "income", taxable under Amendment 16, and never have been.

Now, it's been ably shown by Bill Benson of Illinois that the 16th Amendment was never lawfully ratified anyway, but that's a separate argument, not used in court by Mr Long. What he did show was that even if it had been, it still does not authorize government to tax his income, nor yours or mine; merely the incomes of corporations to which government has given some special privilege.

The Tennessee Supreme Court case of Jack Cole v Commissioner ruled that citizens are entitled by right to income or earnings, and so that that right cannot be taxed as a privilege. Mr Long cited that case, as well as Redfield v Fisher to prove that, unlike a corporation, the right of an individual to live and own property was a natural right, not a privilege.

For the IRS, the prosecution did not challenge any one of those findings.

So, Mr Long asserted that he knew that the "Income Tax" was only an excise tax upon privilege, that in his work he enjoyed no such privilege, and hence that the filing of IRS tax returns was a voluntary matter, not something required by Law. He said he had chosen not to volunteer. Tennessee, I believe, is known as the "Volunteer State". Another excellent idea.

The way that the government's justice system works is that once a case has been decided, it acts as a precedent for all future, comparable cases in courts of equal or lower standing. The Long case has not been appealed by the IRS and it therefore stands, presumably, as the law of the land. By declaring him "Not Guilty" his jury has opened up for 120,000,000 working Americans the real possibility of saving, on April 15th, a 32 cent stamp and thousands of dollars of good money that would otherwise be poured down the Federal sewer.

Now you see why I said that Long's case matters a heap more than O J Simpson's.

The Response

The Long verdict strikes at the very heart of the Feds' finances, and not a moment too soon. Alas, it is not credible that they will roll over and die.

Instead, we can be quite sure that they have been building a defense ever since that will enable them to continue ripping off the Peoples' property. We are already seeing a little of what their strategy will be.

Within months of the Long case being decided, leading politicians announced that they were looking at the possibility of "replacing" the income tax. With one that's easier for them to collect, that is.

Dick Armey, for example, has suggested a "flat tax". While not replacing it, that allegedly simplifies it to the point that few people will bother to follow Mr Lloyd Long's brave example. You and I can each "Just Say No" to that one. The problem with income tax is not just its complexity, but its existence.

Bill Archer and Richard Lugar, meanwhile, have suggested replacing the income tax with one on spending, ie a national sales tax. That would, indeed, have the advantage of terminating the IRS' multiple violations of our privacy; but I hope you'll joining me in nixing that one too, for money lost from the left pocket is just as valuable as money lost from the one on the right.

The only proper tax is no tax at all; that is, a government no bigger than can be financed by voluntary contributions. That should be our answer, when voting.

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