Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You Are Free To Travel—If The IRS Lets You

A bill that nobody is paying any attention to is sailing through Congress: Senate Bill 1813. It passed the Senate by 74 to 22, and is expected to sail through the House as well. It’s an act “[t]o reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”

It’s the “and for other purposes” part of the title that has me worried—specifically Section 40304: “Revocation or denial of passport in case of certain unpaid taxes.

This section would give the IRS the power to keep a U.S. citizen from traveling—

—and it’s another example of Executive Power run amok. It’s another example of how the United States is turning into a police-state.

The right to travel freely is sacrosanct—it’s not some privilege that the government bestows on us: It’s one of our basic freedoms as citizens. In point of fact, the countries that have limited their citizens’ ability to travel—the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba—were all rightfully called “police-states”: It’s one of their defining characteristics—the fact that they were keeping their citizens hostage.

In the United States, there are several, clearly defined reasons why you would have your passport either denied or revoked—and all of them pass the smell test.



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