Senate Bill 1813, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) last November, has a title as soporific as they come: “AN ACT To reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway construction programs, and for other purposes.”
And for other purposes.
Ay, there’s the rub.
Section 40304 gives the IRS the power to deny you a passport, or to revoke your passport, if you have:
a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000. . . .
But what harm is there, you ask, in keeping a few rich tax scofflaws from leaving the country?
There’s no requirement:
- that the IRS obtain a judgment against you in a court of law;
- or that there be any fraud or evasion on your part;
- or even that you agree with them that you owe back taxes.
Their assertion that you owe them money, and their reckoning of how much you owe, is apparently all that’s necessary.
And, as KrisAnne Hall points out, the IRS routinely takes several years to notify you that they think you owe them money. So by the time you even know they’re disputing your return, the debt may already be seriously delinquent. And the interest and penalties on a perhaps originally small sum have had a chance to do some serious multiplying.
The Fifth Amendment says that no person shall:
be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
And due process has long been construed as involving adequate notice, a hearing, and an impartial judge.
But Sen. Boxer apparently doesn’t think any of that is important any more. There is no appeal, under S.B. 1813, from the decision of some faceless, unelected bureaucrat in the bowels of the IRS.
And that’s not all.
Section 31406 requires mandatory vehicle event data recorders to be installed in all cars beginning with model year 2015. And once everyone has a vehicle event data recorder, of course, it’s a simple step from there to, say, tracking our mileage, or our emissions, or adding a GPS to the recorder, just to name a few possibilities.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the text of the bill. Go check it out for yourself.
S.B. 1813 (also known as MAP-21, short for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) passed the Senate on March 14th. An aye vote of the House and the signature of the President, and it will be law.
If this sounds like a bad idea to you, take three minutes to email your representative. If you live in Southwest Washington’s Third Congressional District, here’s the contact page for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. If you live anywhere else, here’s Congress’s Find Your Representative page. Let your representative know that you don’t want unelected bureaucrats determining your ability to leave the country, and that you don’t want to open the door to being tracked by Big Brother.
Oh, and pass it on, would you?