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When Taxes Start Sneaking Across the Border…

The ‘Fair Tax’ as a tool for border security?
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Illegal immigration is an unsolvable problem. America should surrender now to the irresistible will of the leaderless gaggle of semi-literate busboys and landscapers who stumble northward with the unbeatable plan of “that way!” in their diabolical minds. Who can stop these master criminals? Not the poor little U.S. government!

With its limited resources and power, how can it do something as complex as watch to see if a confused mob of aspiring roofers walks across a line in the desert? Or enforce laws against hiring illegal aliens? Or most intimidating of all, how can it find illegal aliens already within America?

After all, they are so well hidden, standing there on the corner of McGrath and Broadway in Somerville, Mass., every morning from sunrise to lunch, waiting to be picked up by anonymous labor johns. Really, how does one capture people so cautious that they jump into the back of any truck that pulls up? I mean, this isn’t something easy like going to the moon or establishing Democracy in all the world.

I’ve often heard that you have to have a will to succeed, if you want to win. But in the case of the open borders lobby that has held sway over our immigration and borders policies for the last 30 years, all they need to win is a will to fail.

It is now national policy to fail to guard borders, to fail to prosecute those who bear forged documents, to fail to arrest illegal aliens even when found. It is our government’s policy to fail to notice the illegal labor pools operating openly in every major city in America. It is doctrine to fail to deport illegal aliens even when they are arrested for other crimes, and to fail to investigate corporations openly claiming they cannot function without illegal labor. It is protocol to fail to notice when “temporary” visa holders never leave, and to fail to pursue court decisions against cities that actively provide sanctuary for immigration criminals.

Never has a fringe political movement succeeded so well by failure, as the open borders wing of our bipartisan ruling class has by its willful sabotage of our nation’s immigrations and customs enforcement apparatus. Now the feigned incompetence and willful neglect that have been used to achieve a de facto opening of borders is being used as a major argument in favor of passing the Bush/McCain/Kennedy/Reid amnesty for illegal aliens—a formal opening of the borders.

Everyday we hear the whine of the willing failures in Washington, D.C: It’s just so hard…Can’t we just give up and start over? … We tried to guard the borders but they’re soooooo big. … There are so many people to keep track of and it’s just not reasonable to try. … It’s crazy to deport people back to where they actually are supposed to be … so we win, ha, ha, give us open borders like we wanted all along.

By contrast, if you want to see what our federal government is capable of when it stands to benefit from law enforcement, just look at our tax system. The modern tax code is a Byzantine obscenity. It’s too large to be understood by any one person. Armies of lawyers, accountants, and computer programmers are needed just to figure what each individual owes.

Every paycheck in America is tracked. Every corporation monitored. Every home sale and stock trade and bank account in a country of 300 million people is watched for potential taxation. Employers are used as the primary collection and enforcement apparatus in the system, which understands well that a corporation that fears huge fines for small errors will obey the law carefully. Saving a few bucks just isn’t worth it, if you get the IRS on your back.

For many people, the Internal Revenue Service is the most feared law enforcement agency in the country. At the state, county, and city level, nearly every house, trailer, boat, car, truck, RV, and motorcycle in the nation is tracked year to year, assessed, taxed and monitored with rigorous enforcement by every clerk and traffic cop possible. Likewise, nearly every gas station, shopping mall, fruit stand, restaurant and bar in America is expected to collect sales tax on every stick of gum or pair of panties it ever sold.

This the government can do. But it can’t find the illegal aliens on the street corner or shut down the makers of fake green cards or prosecute the same businesses it expects to obey a million different tax laws when they knowingly hire a subcontractor to provide them with laundered illegal labor.

Clearly, if you want a law enforced by our government, you should make it a tax law.

Which brings me to one of the more interesting possibilities in the popular rebellion against the anti-nationalists in the Democratic and Republican leaderships (those who seek to totally open our borders and thus eliminate our nation as anything other than a free-enterprise zone for the world’s excess poor and their would-be employers): What if advocates of secure borders and controlled immigration sought to entangle immigration and border enforcement with tax enforcement?

This could be done by throwing our weight behind the “Fair Tax” tax reform movement that is already gaining steam throughout America. Allow me to explain.

For those of you that don’t know, the Fair Tax movement seeks to replace the maze of current personal income, capital gains, corporate, gasoline, and payroll taxes that the federal government has thrown up over time with a single, fair consumption tax. Every person in America would take home their entire paycheck, and pay only this one tax, which could thus be easily monitored by voters. Likewise, every business would be subject to it and freed from having to hire a flock of lawyers to figure out their tax burden each year. The IRS would be abolished.

The Fair Tax is a consumption tax—a sales tax—it would be automatically calculated and collected every time you or any other person or business bought any item at the retail level. No more W-2s or 1040s or schedules B, or IRS audits or multiplying the greater of either line 32 or 34a by the amount from the appropriate box on the table on page 92. When you buy, you pay.

The tax has an enormous number of economic advantages that have been extensively analyzed by many economists and would spur growth, discourage corporations from moving offshore, and reward savings. These are too numerous and lengthy to detail here, but I encourage you to learn more by reading the Fair Tax Book.

The Fair Tax would neither raise nor lower your taxes, it would simply change the way they are collected—and that is how it might have an unintended effect on border security. When taxes are collected on retail sales, instead of income, the easiest way to avoid paying them is to try to buy your goods across a border, in a jurisdiction without the sales tax. This pattern is very familiar within America.

Just across the border from states with high gasoline taxes are clusters of gas stations. Just out of the reach of states with onerous liquor taxes are clusters of liquor stores. The southern portion of sales tax-free New Hampshire is one great cluster of malls and stores catering to shoppers from high-tax Massachusetts. States are prohibited from interfering with such activity under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. They really are powerless to enforce their borders (and properly so).

But imagine if Northern Mexico and Southern Canada became giant outlet malls catering to frugal shoppers from a Fair Tax America. How seriously do you think the federal government would become about inspecting every car and closing every isolated crossing point? If it were taxes sneaking across our borders, instead of illegal aliens, the government would have the Marines mining the fronteir with Quebec. Somebody sneaking in to take a job away from an American doesn’t bother Washington at all. But can you imagine the outrage and panic if that same person were sneaking in to try to sell Americans tax-free iPods?

The impossible-to-patrol border would suddenly become very, very patrolled. Or the government could choose to just forego all those taxes and get smaller and smaller. Which do you think would happen?

Now, the Fair Tax is worth implementing for other reasons, and would also discourage illegal immigration by fully taxing the underground economy for the first time (unlike an income tax, which is easily avoided by those who work off-the-books). But wouldn’t it be nice to have a byproduct of our tax system be secure, well ordered borders, adequately staffed and patrolled?

This year the Fair Tax bill (HR 25) has an impressive 57 co-sponsors in Congress and it gains support every year. The added support of millions of Americans opposed to open borders could push the bill into the realm of real possibility.

Most of life is the result of unintended consequences, and every once in a while they can actually work for you.

¡Viva El Fair Tax, Amigos!

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Written By

Mr. Johnson, a writer and medical researcher in Cambridge, Mass., is a regular contributor to HUMAN EVENTS. His column generally appears on Tuesdays. Archives and additional material can be found at www.macjohnson.com.

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