Tuesday, 2003 July 22, 16:06 — tax+privacy

a formerly original thinker

Brian Doherty writes in Reason:

Obscurity is indeed the friend of much of the world’s evil, as [David] Brin insists when he rails that “financial privacy” concerns are just camouflage for drug dealers and tax evaders.

Am I the only one thinking non sequitur? Drug dealers and tax evaders are the good guys.

Tuesday, 2003 July 15, 20:28 — security theater, tax+privacy

and he’s an expert

Unsurprisingly, Bruce Schneier (who travels much more than I do) is also fed up at having drones demand his documents at every turn in the name of “security”.

Wednesday, 2003 June 11, 11:19 — tax+privacy

the credit reporting racket

Spy on Me, Please, by Michael Gilson De Lemos

Tuesday, 2003 February 25, 22:46 — history, tax+privacy

“Just say slavery.” “Slavery it is, sir!”

Thomas DiLorenzo on the role of tariffs in the troubles of 1861.

. . . when the Republican Party gained power in the late 1850s the top item on its agenda was to increase the average tariff rate from 15% [in 1857] to 32% and then to over 47% [in May 1860]. . . .
Abraham Lincoln was a lifelong protectionist and . . . at the 1860 Republican Party convention . . . won the support of the Pennsylvania and New York delegations (the two largest) by convincing them that no other candidate was more devoted to protectionism than he was.

There’s more, and it’s rather better written than DiLorenzo’s own book.

Tuesday, 2002 October 15, 23:40 — tax+privacy

they see you when you’re sleeping

I go to sign up for a Berkeley Extension course and find:

The University is required by federal law to report your Social Security number and other pertinent information to the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to the reporting requirements imposed by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. The University also will use the Social Security number you provide to verify your identity. Social Security number disclosure is mandatory. This notification is provided to you as requested [sic] by the Federal Privacy Act of 1974.

The IRS wants to know who’s taking “Unix System Administration I”?

I’m tempted to take the money I was going to spend on the course and send it to Ron Paul.

Next day: The course is taught by a private firm, though under UC auspices; so, on my One True Ex’s suggestion, I contacted that firm directly. Problem solved, so long as I don’t care about formal university credit.

Friday, 2002 May 10, 01:16 — tax+privacy

your Database Insecurity Number

Myria reports on a splendid bill from Ron Paul.

Friday, 2002 March 8, 17:25 — tax+privacy

√(-1) am not a number!

Mike Flynn, apparently a newcomer to this stuff, writes:

For starters, a national identification card. How dumb an idea is that? Giving the US government — does anybody remember Waco or Ruby Ridge? J. Edgar Hoover? Nixon’s enemies list? — a weapon by which to maintain a database of our photos and important information is just scary, and I’m one of the six Americans left who still thinks government is capable of doing more good than evil.
. . .
And remember, kids: Next time someone who won’t have to report your income to the IRS asks for your Social Security number DON’T GIVE IT OUT!

Right on, but I’m still in the market for good ways to avoid it when shopping for medical insurance, telephone service or a credit-card.

(I’ve lived without credit-cards for eight years now, with a Mastercard attached to my checking account; but the last time I tried to rent a car — at a shop where I had done so several times before — they had a new policy: no debit-cards. Why? Because if I totalled their car they might not be able to get $Nk out of my checking account. But – er – so why am I paying for a “collision damage waiver”?)

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