Monthly Archives: May 2010

Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Ad: “Find Us Before We Find You”

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is currently running an ad – a friendly reminder to encourage PA residents who owe back taxes to pay up because the PDR knows where you live.

Creepy huh?

But don’t be alarmed PA residents who owe back taxes, go to the website (PAtaxPayup.com) and you will find that the PDR is actually doing you a favor: tax “amnesty” for those who pay by June 18, 2010. (The site even features a countdown clock that lets you know how much time you have left. How thoughtful!)

Here are the terms of the amnesty:

Pennsylvania authorized (under Act 48, signed into law on Oct. 9, 2009) a Tax Amnesty period from April 26 to June 18, 2010.

During this limited, 54-day timeframe, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will waive 100 percent of penalties and half of the interest for anyone who pays his/her delinquent state taxes.

Individuals, businesses and other entities with Pennsylvania tax delinquencies as of June 30, 2009, are generally eligible to participate in the Tax Amnesty Program.

What a bargain! If you “voluntarily” pay your taxes by June 18th, not only do you get to avoid the whole armed government agents forcibly removing you from your home and taking you to jail thing but they will also take a little less of your money.

In some ways, this is one of the most honest PSAs ever produced by a government agency but still fails to directly address the question of what happens if PA residents allow the PDR to “find them” first. What the ad implies but does not directly say is “If we do find you first, we will make your life very miserable because, we, the government have the legal ability to use deadly force to get our way and you do not.”

Let’s put aside the whole debate about whether or not taxation is legitimate or if it is theft and consider the bigger message. Perhaps George Washington, the father of our country himself said it best:

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

Government = Force. Keep this in mind next time you want to ask the government to “do something” on your behalf.

Hat Tip: Reason Hit and Run (also take a look at the June 2004 Reason cover that is eerily similar to the above ad)

Arizona Crime Stats

One of the key arguments in favor of the AZ “papers please” immigration law is that the state is being overrun by crime due to the rapid influx of immigration, and that the across-the-border drug wars have been spilling over into Arizona.

That might be a potent argument, if it were true. It’s truly sad how strong of an argument, then, considering it’s blatantly false:

Yet, a look at statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.

According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.

According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”

Meanwhile, the cartel violence that has gripped Mexico for the most part has remained there, he said.

Human and drug smugglers are being “more aggressive because we’re being successful,” Escalante said, “But we’ve been lucky not to see that type of [violence] spill over here.”

But hey, who am I to suggest that facts actually be used in argument. After all, it is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

Monday Meme

Off topic, and downright embarrassing.

From Megan McArdle, the idea is to go back to Amazon.com, log in and find your first order.

Mine — well, bear in mind that I was 21 years old at the time, but back in 1999 my first order occurred on my 21st birthday, so I assume it was from a gift certificate. I ordered CD’s by Dave Matthews Band (2), Korn, Limp Bizkit, Lo-Fidelity All-stars, and Moxy Früvous, proving that my taste in music at the time was both exceedingly bad and mind-bogglingly eclectic. At least there wasn’t any Rammstein in there. Yes, very embarrassing.

I have to then redeem myself and post my second Amazon order as well, which was my first book order, and of course was The Fountainhead. I read Anthem in high school, and had just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time a few months prior, so I was hooked.

To my co-contributors, readers, and other bloggers, feel free to post your own.

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