Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UnFair: Exposing the IRS (film review)

Note: The movie was billed as UnFair: Exposing the IRS but the official website calls it UnFair: The Movie.

Last Tuesday I accompanied some friends to see the documentary film UnFair: Exposing the IRS on the big screen.  This was a breath of fresh air, as I’m used to consuming politics hunched in front of a computer screen rather than at posh movie theaters.  It was an interesting experience and the movie was worth seeing once.

I left the theater critical of the film, but it does have its merits.  The film features in-depth interviews with American citizens who have been directly targeted and victimized by the IRS for political purposes.  Among those affected are:

  • Conservative grass-roots organizations, including tea parties and women's groups
  • Various churches and Christian ministries
  • A non-partisan veterans support group
  • Adoptive parents of a foreign-born baby
  • Non-partisan pro-life groups

What did all the groups have in common?  Two things: 1) All either held or applied for 501(c)3 or (c)4 tax status; 2) All of the above engaged in some kind of activity that went contrary to public policies under the Obama Administration.

The first credit to the filmmakers is that they blew the whistle on the IRS for serious abuses of power and rampant violation of the First Amendment—every one of the individuals or organizations targeted was engaged in a form of speech, expression, or voluntary association.

The second good thing about the movie is the inclusion of an exposé on Lois Lerner.  The filmmakers shine the spotlight on the former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations and her history of misusing her power in various federal agencies to persecute conservatives.

Whether or not one agrees with conservative (neoconservative) ideas, it’s absolutely wrong, illegal, unconstitutional, and a gross injustice for the government, and/or rogue government agents, to target and persecute people for expressing opposing ideas.

Despite the positive credits to the film, UnFair has its downsides.  For starters, it features (in my opinion) far too many clips from Fox News shows.  Though there are clips from other news networks, Fox News is the most used source.  One doesn’t have to be a libertarian to know that only dedicated neoconservatives take Fox News seriously as an unbiased source for information.

Also, the film dedicated over seventy minutes to complaining about abuses of power in the federal government, but less than ten minutes to the Fair Tax (which the film was a ruse to promote).  The last section only vaguely explained that the Fair Tax would replace the income tax and be a flat rate sales tax.

Here we find a problem.  Even if the Fair Tax is lower than the income tax, all it does is transfer compulsory taxation from earning money to spending money.  It could be a positive first step toward economic recovery, as long as the tax is a very low rate.  Theoretically, people could avoid paying taxes through paying cash and/or “making donations” in the underground market.

However, in that scenario exists a breeding ground for more abuse of power and a police state.  Instead of instantly drawing tax money from a paycheck, the IRS would demand access to receipts for a person’s possessions.  If the owner can’t provide receipts for everything, tax audits could end with the IRS having people’s possessions appraised for their value and then taxed.

The only fair tax is no tax; let the working men and women of America save or spend every penny they earn as they see fit.  And regarding persecuted churches, they shouldn’t have a 501(c) tax status… they should have NO tax status.  For the IRS to regulate churches and ministries goes against the separation of church and state.  End of story.

UnFair: The Movie is worth seeing once with a group of friends to encourage some discussion on tax reform; if not, it’s worth seeing once alone if anyone wants details on how the IRS is stunting the growth of the economy and depriving citizens of their civil rights. The producers also are releasing a companion book by Craig Bergman for further reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment