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Apr 05 2014

How getting money from the government can be injurious

In order to bring suit against someone in court, the plaintiff has to show that they have ‘standing’, which means that they have suffered a fairly direct injury of some sort that the court can redress. In response to my post on the cases bought against Obamacare because of its use of federal subsidies in the form of tax credits to make health insurance affordable to low income people, reader Mark Dowd posed the good question of how the people who were suing could have standing to do so. How can getting money from the government to purchase health insurance be considered to cause an injury?

The issue of standing is one of the first to be adjudicated in most legal cases and was done so in the Washington DC case of Halbig v. Sebelius and the Virginia case of King v. Sebelius. In the latter, US District Judge James R. Spencer spelled out what was needed to establish standing:

To establish Article III standing, it must be shown: (1) that the plaintiff suffered the invasion of a legally protected interest; (2) that there is a fairly traceable causal connection between the injury alleged and the conduct challenged; and (3) that there is a reasonable likelihood that the injury alleged could be redressed by a favorable decision from the court. [p.7]

Here is where things get interesting. According to the Affordable Care Act, everyone is required to purchase health insurance (the so-called individual mandate) because that is how insurance works, by spreading risk around. If you do not do so, you incur a penalty of 1% of your annual income or $95, whichever is higher. But if your income is so low that the cost of your insurance exceeds 8% of your yearly income, then you are exempt from the mandate and penalty.

When the ACA was passed by Congress, such low-income people were to be covered by the associated Medicare expansion program that states were obliged to adopt. But when the US Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the ACA was constitutional, they also said that individual states had the option to refuse to adopt the Medicare expansion, and what happened was that many Republican-dominated states did just that because of ideological objections of the ACA, even if it condemned millions of low-income people in their states to not have health insurance, an unconscionably cruel and vindictive act.

The people who brought the two lawsuits were from such states and were ideologically opposed to getting insurance under the ACA even though it meant going without health insurance. What happened was that for all of them, the cost of their insurance was above the 8% cut-off so they would have been exempt. But when the federal subsidies kicked in, the cost of their insurance dropped to so little that they no longer were exempt and had to purchase insurance or pay the penalty.

For example, one plaintiff David Klemencic had an annual income of roughly $20,000 per year. If the federal subsidies were not there, then he would have been exempt because the cost of insurance would have been above 8%. But because of the subsidies, the cost dropped to just $20 per year. So now he was no longer exempt and would have to purchase insurance for $20 or pay the penalty of 1% of his income, which comes to $200.

Since he is now at least $20 out of pocket because of the federal subsidies, whereas without the subsidies he would have not had to pay anything, this was sufficient to give him standing, even though his $20 would have provided him with insurance. All the plaintiffs in both cases have very similar stories, though the details vary.

So what we have are people who are poor and yet so ideologically opposed to the ACA that they are willing to forego the chance to get health insurance even if it would cost them next to nothing. If this is not the most perfect example of the old saw of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, I don’t know what is.

38 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    Do these clowns have families? ‘Cause it’s one thing to risk your own health to save $20, it’s another thing entirely to jeopardise your kids’ well-being just because you hate Obama!

  2. 2
    Chiroptera

    And this kind of crap is why we should have gone with a single-payer system (although I acknowledge that I t probably wasn’t politically feasible). No one has a recognized right to not pay taxes even when they object to some government programs. Pacifists still have to pay taxes even though some of that is spent on the military.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    In order to bring suit against someone in court, the plaintiff has to show that they have ‘standing’, which means that they have suffered a fairly direct injury of some sort that the court can redress.

    Except when “standing” is used as a hack to keep certain problems out of court. Every single US citizen ought to have “standing” in constitutional cases where, e.g.: the 4th amendment is being gutted, yet the government carefully denies that a crime has even possibly occurred and therefore there’s nothing to have a trial (and lose) about. Faugh! Why does anyone even take the justice system seriously? It’s a sham. An obvious, shitty, sham.

  4. 4
    Pierce R. Butler

    Chiroptera @ # 1 – C’mon, if those kids have already been born, they’re on their own!

  5. 5
    joeschoeler

    I would have loved a single payer system, but it was already hard to get the insurance companies on board with the current system. Single payer would have really weakened the insurance industry.

  6. 6
    Randy Lee

    Marcus is right! Where is the injury when you are not wearing a seatbelt, or bad tail light. or speeding. Right on the face of the tickets they check a box that says “no injuries”. Does the judge ever say to the officer of the State that there is no standing? I don’t think so. In the background of the courtroom you can clearly hear the register going “ching ching”. And it doesn’t take an IQ over about 80 to figure that one out.

    But double standards are acceptable where the arbitrary dictates of rulers, i.e. legislating lawyers, are concerned. The hypocrisy of it all. The hypocrisy of Government. The hypocrisy of people who believe that they have the right to impose their will on other at the point of a gun. They think themselves civilized amd intelligent, and yet they aren’t bright enough to organize society without laws that threaten the initiation of violence upon those who haven’t injured a soul..

  7. 7
    Randy Lee

    Mano writes, “How can getting money from the government to purchase health insurance be considered to cause an injury?”

    IReal simple. If one is forced to recieve money from government under the guise of law with its attendant penalties, then such coercion violates the liberty interests of the individual who chooses not to participate.

    But if like most people who believe in the principles of democracy, you believe that because you and the rest of your mob are invested with the authority to rule at the point of the gun because you outnumber the rest of society, then under such reasoning there is never any right or standing for anyone to resist the policies of the commune, This is because individual rights are sacrificed on the altars of communistic and democratic ideals.

    Can any of the individuals that comprise the majority in a communistic or democratic society present evidence that as an individual they have any authority to expect others to bear the duty of following their policies, i.e. police measures?

    If not then why should anyone accept the legal fiction that just because they act in the capacity of a majority, that they are somehow vested with such authority? From whence did this magical authority originate?

    So the other side of the coin is that they do not have standing to compel anyone to participate in programs such as the ACA. Standing is a two sided coin.

  8. 8
    Mano Singham

    @Randy Lee,

    Do you refuse to pay any taxes at all? Do you refuse to obey any and all laws that you disagree with? Aren’t those also forms of majority coercion?

  9. 9
    Randy Lee

    Mano, there are lots of laws I follow, some because I know they are reasonable, others because I know there is a gun in the room. Let’s not forget that. However, I will not lie under penalty of perjury and declare the evidence of the bankers fraud constitutes income. i.e. profit or gain, and I would hope that you are intelligent enough that you would not subscribe to such foolishness either. You don’t suggest that people lie if there is a law that requires that, do u?

    BTW, do you believe that majorities are somehow by agreement vested with extraordinary legal authority that none of their constituents in their individual capacity have?

  10. 10
    Mark Dowd

    “If this is not the most perfect example of the old saw of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, I don’t know what is.”

    It is unsurprising though, given the way Tea Partiers are. They’re already doing it socially and economically just by voting Republican, this is just an extension of that self-delusion. It’s a fundamental part of who they are.

    I wonder if it is a coincidence that the amount in the one case is $20, which is the constitutional minimum for a jury trial. I don’t know what would be done if the amount were less. Since the 7th Amendment lists that amount as the minimum for a jury trial, maybe amounts less than get a bench trial. Or maybe amounts less than that can get a jury trial, but aren’t guaranteed one.

  11. 11
    Mano Singham

    @Randy Lee,

    There is always some coercion involved when people live in communities. The issue is the extent to which laws that we all are required to follow for the common good are balanced by what we term fundamental rights. The majority cannot have the legal authority to enslave the minority. There should not be legal authority to discriminate against minorities. These principles are what civilized and enlightened societies live by and have arrived at over time. But paying for health insurance seems to me to be just like paying Social Security taxes or taxes for the public library, that seeks a common good and is hardly an oppressive burden.

  12. 12
    Randy Lee

    The Professor writes, “There is always some coercion involved when people live in communities.”

    Now although this statement may account for your perception of the way things presently are, it utterly fails to address the questions I raised.

    First, if our “community” has evolved to the place where coercion has become a necessary ingredient for its continued existence then maybe we need a reassessment of our core values.

    For instance, all sane people agree that the continued existence of any political society relies upon a recognition of the most fundamental precepts for governing human interactions. Such precepts include the basic application of values such as honesty and truth. If you do not agree please explain why so?

    Now, if the mechanisms of support for any given community, i.e. tax laws, require anyone to ignore principles of honesty and truth, then those mechanisms should fall by the wayside, and not the principles of honesty and truth. Again, you don’t suggest that people abandon these principles and lie if there is a law that requires that in order to fulfill the mechanisms of support for the community, do u?

    We have already too much of an “ostrich syndrome” when it comes to the individual constituents of the community ignoring the political decisions of so-call “representatives”. I say “so-called” because more often than not the powers these “so-called representatives” exercise were never authorized delegations of power. The PRINCIPLE is ‘One can only authorize another to do what such a one can lawfully do themselves.’ If you disagree, the please explain, why so?

    So I ask you again, do you believe that majorities are somehow by agreement vested with extraordinary legal authority that none of their constituents in their individual capacity have?

    Can any of the individuals that comprise the majority in a communistic or democratic society present factual evidence that as an individual they have any authority to expect others to bear the duty of following their policies, i.e. police measures?

    If not then why should anyone accept the legal fiction that just because they act in the capacity of a majority, that they are somehow vested with such authority? Honestly and truthfully, from whence did this magical authority originate?

    Finally, your article revolved around the concept of “standing”. Standing is the jurisdicional concept that absent an actual and articulable injury a courts jurisdiction does not attach. The principle is most succinctly stated, “injuria absque damno”. A [supposed or actual] wrong from which no injury or damage results will not sustain an action.

    So again, the other side of the standing coin is that a community does not have standing to compel anyone to participate in programs such as the ACA. Standing is a two sided coin. Failure to participate does not, in and of itself, without more, amount to injury to community interests. So honestly, tell me, rom whence cometh community standing to penalize those who do not participate?

    I do hope you will directly address my questions this time around.

  13. 13
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    @Randy Lee – you have clearly thought about these issues at length; perhaps you could (as they say on Reddit) ELI5, how a society of 3 or more people could exist entirely without coercion? Let’s use a very basic notion of “society” — 3 or more people in a long-term association for mutual benefit. Usually lots more than 3, and having complex sub-groupings and relationships among them, but blur all that for now.

    In such a group, it is absolutely inevitable that a time will come when (a) most say, “We should do X”; (b) X requires the participation of all to succeed; (c) a minority disagrees about either the need for, or value of, or timing of, X. Does the group go ahead with X, or not? If they do, does the minority participate, either in the effort or in the benefits that ensue?

    These questions arise in one form or another, over and over again, at all levels of social organization. I assume from your reading and thinking, you apprehend some principles on which questions like this can be resolved? Would you briefly (!) explain them? And if time permits, perhaps how they could apply to the question of universal health insurance in a complex modern society?

    Thanks,
    Dave Cortesi

  14. 14
    Mano Singham

    @Randy,

    To get back to the main point, you say:

    So again, the other side of the standing coin is that a community does not have standing to compel anyone to participate in programs such as the ACA.

    What makes the ACA different from Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes or any other taxes that go to pay for what is perceived to be a common good? Are you opposed to Social Security or Medicare as well? If not, what makes the ACA so different?

  15. 15
    Randy Lee

    Professor, you amaze me by your avoidance of the point I made. I point out the lack of standing by the community to impose participation in the ACA, and you engage in a strawman argument comparing SS and Medicaid with the ACA..
    You want to know why they are different? Well SS and Medicaid are both voluntary programs that are entered by either an individual’s or their parent’s unilateral application to be a part of such program. The ACA is a compulsory insurance scheme. There is nothing compulsory about SS and Medicaid.

    If however, your position is founded in principles of honesty and truth, then please answer the questions I posed in number 12 above. Absent an intelligent and logical response to the objections implicitly posed by those questions, why should you think your position to be in the least persuasive?

  16. 16
    Randy Lee

    @ Dave Cortesi

    Dave I will honor your questions by addressing them squarely, and I would also ask that you honor the questions I posed to the Professor in number 12 above by squarely and honestly addressing them.

    A society, or community, if you will, begins with the interactions of just two persons. The term “society” originates from the root ‘socius” meaning “companion” and merely expresses a condition of communal or group interactions between individuals.

    If we begin with the smallest of possible group conditions we must first examime situations such as a man and wife, two friends, two business partners, etc.. In all these situations it is easy to recognize the inevitable negative effects of coercion. None of these two party communal societies, these groups, will last very long if coercion is utilized by either party.

    Next if we examine groups larger than two, such as the family, the small business, a private club, a sports team, etc, it is also very easy to recognize intuitively that an exercise of coercion by certain members of such a group will also inevitably produce negative effects that will ultimately destroy the core of the unit.

    Now if we examine the interactions of humans as a whole, we discover that even in this era of statism, 99.9 percent of human interactions are still conducted in an anarchic/voluntaristic fashion with no state control whatsoever. We choose where to live, who to marry, who to befriend, who to partner with, how many children to have, what we choose to eat, and the list goes on and on. But then for reasons grounded in fear and insecurity, most people hold on to the belief that non-existent and undelegated authority and its coercive expressions is necessary,.and further the argument is made that we must submit to such coercion.

    Situations arise in every group that appear to require the participation.of every member, however the initiation of coercion, aggression, or ultimate violence should be frowned upon by all civilized peoples. There are better ways of addressing such situations than resorts to compulsion. The inherent fiber of humanity rejects compulsion in all its manifestations. The inevitably negative societal effects stemming from compulsory methods of control are seen again and again throughout society. Much of this begins with the trauma imposed upon the formative psyche of children by parents who physically punish their children or who force them to live under the threat of such punishment.

    The briefest explanation of principles by which each of us can remain free and autonomous is summed up in the non-aggression principle.
    I would recommend that you read or listen to a book called Universally Preferable Behavior by Stefan Molyneux for more on the subject of principles which we should all live by. He has also written books setting forth examples of how voluntarist societies could operate. His examples are just examples, but they do reveal a number of alternatives to the present coercive paradigm within which we find ourselves.

    As far as your question concerning ” universal health insurance in a complex modern society?”, unless the plan we offer can be faithful to universal principles of non-aggression then we should re-assess its overall and longterm value to society.

  17. 17
    Mano Singham

    Social Security and Medicare are not voluntary. Where did you get that idea?

    As to your questions, they are, to be quite honest, somewhat vague and I frankly could not understand what you were driving at. But since you insist that I speak about them, here are my responses.

    1. What have honesty and truth go to do with anything in this discussion? They are good virtues no doubt but I fail to see their relevance in this discussion.

    2. You say “The PRINCIPLE is ‘One can only authorize another to do what such a one can lawfully do themselves. If you disagree, the please explain, why so?”

    I simply don’t understand what you are asking here.

    3. You say “So honestly, tell me, rom whence cometh community standing to penalize those who do not participate?”

    The issue of standing is one that is relevant to court cases. There is no requirement to show standing when the legislature passes laws. All that is required is that the laws be constitutional. You may disagree whether the ACA is constitutional but the Supreme Court has ruled that it is. What has standing got to with any of this, anyway?

    4. You say “So I ask you again, do you believe that majorities are somehow by agreement vested with extraordinary legal authority that none of their constituents in their individual capacity have?”

    Yes, of course majorities have powers that individuals do not have. There is nothing ‘extraordinary’ about this. That’s how any democratic government functions. It passes laws and requires majorities to do so. Individuals cannot pass laws.

  18. 18
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    The briefest explanation of principles by which each of us can remain free and autonomous is summed up in the non-aggression principle.

    Sounds good; to a sometimes Buddhist that sounds like the principle of non-harming. For those who’d like to follow it up, the wikipedia article goes at length into that principle’s history and the many complexities and controversies of its application. But interesting pointer, thank you.

    I would recommend that you read or listen to a book called Universally Preferable Behavior by Stefan Molyneux for more on the subject of principles which we should all live by.

    Again for anyone else curious, that book is available online as a PDF. It is subtitled “A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics” and this also is a topic in which I’ve a long-term interest, so again thanks for an interesting pointer.

    Obviously I’ve not had time to read it, but did jump directly and with some anticipation to the chapter “Conclusions” where I was disappointed, because as far as I can tell, it doesn’t list any positive conclusions at all; rather it summarizes (in a repetitive fashion and a style that nears ranting) the assertion that morality cannot be grounded in the concept of god or the state but must be grounded in science. Fine; I’m on board with the latter, but I’m disappointed there was nothing in these Conclusions to indicate that the preceding pages offered any constructive steps toward doing that.

    More to the point would perhaps be something on “Voluntaryism”. My cynical thought is, if a truly voluntary society would be so good, how come so few (if any) of them have existed? Could it be that in any such society there comes a time when a majority say “We need X to survive”; a minority say, “Nunh-unh!”; and the society either schisms on X-lines or dies out for lack of X?

    Thanks for a frank and clear answer. As for the Q’s to Prof Singham, I would not presume to speak for him.

  19. 19
    Randy Lee

    Professor, did you emmigrate to this country or were you born here? Now the naturalized citizen generally accepts the conditions of SS upon entering this country. I am not numbered, and I know lots of people who have not sacrificed their children to the SS program either. Participation in SS comes about through voluntary APPLICATION.
    If you do not apply, SS does not apply to you. If you are going to assert otherwise, then please show me the law.

    Professor, you write, “What have honesty and truth got to do with anything in this discussion? They are good virtues no doubt but I fail to see their relevance in this discussion.”

    My question in #12 above, relating to this issue was “Now, if the mechanisms of support for any given community, i.e. tax laws, require anyone to ignore principles of honesty and truth, then those mechanisms should fall by the wayside, and not the principles of honesty and truth. Again, you don’t suggest that people abandon these principles and lie if there is a law that requires that in order to fulfill the mechanisms of support for the community, do u?

    Now I realize that it may be possible that you are unaware of the fact that the instruments that pose as money in the US do in fact constitute the liabilities of the government of the United States. See 12 USC 411 where it states —– Federal reserve notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues.

    As one can see Federal reserve notes are evidences of debt, i.e. “obligations of the United States” which in turn are the obligations of the American people. Now it is a pretty simple conclusion to reach, that if I am never paid for my services in lawful money, but instead am forced to accept compensation in the form of evidence of debt, that I would have to be totally insane to declare under penalty of perjury that such evidence of debt constituted either income, profit or gain in the taxable sense as required by the IRS. To do so would be to lie under penalty of perjury.

    No law of the commune can require anyone to subscribe to a lie, unless you have made yourself dependent and allegiant to the communal legal system by your applications of dependency, such as SS, and with full knowledge that by doing so you would be required to lie with respect to taxes and the nature of what circulates as monetary instruments.

    Now, if it is true that everyone must participate in SS, then honesty requires the one, such as yourself, asserting that truth to show the law. Just show me the law.

    Professor you also write, “You say “The PRINCIPLE is ‘One can only authorize another to do what such a one can lawfully do themselves. If you disagree, the please explain, why so?” I simply don’t understand what you are asking here.”

    This is simply explained. Can you authorize someone to enter my property? NO. Can you authorize someone to enter your property? Yes. So the PRINCIPLE is one can only delegate authority which is first resident in themselves. Compare that with my original statement.

    Therefore, If individuals do not first possess resident authority within themselves to do certain acts, they can not delegate non-existent authority to representatives of their choosing, whether the political system be a representative democracy or whatever..

    Professor I asked you, “So honestly, tell me, from whence cometh community standing to penalize those who do not participate?” You responded by saying, “The issue of standing is one that is relevant to court cases. There is no requirement to show standing when the legislature passes laws. All that is required is that the laws be constitutional. You may disagree whether the ACA is constitutional but the Supreme Court has ruled that it is. What has standing got to with any of this, anyway? ”

    Standing is a jurisdictional issue that is dependent upon the plaintiff being able to show the existence of an injury in order that jurisdiction to hear the case is not lost. The community is not injured by merely the non participation of an individual in the program. Such an individual is not covered by the program and is not entitled to its benefit.

    Finally I asked you, “do you believe that majorities are somehow by agreement vested with extraordinary legal authority that none of their constituents in their individual capacity have?” To which you replied, “Yes, of course majorities have powers that individuals do not have. There is nothing ‘extraordinary’ about this. That’s how any democratic government functions. It passes laws and requires majorities to do so. Individuals cannot pass laws.”

    Surely you are wise enough to know that authority and power is not the same thing. Authority, which springs from authorization, is the lawful result of a valid. delegation of the right to act as an agent or representative. Many leaders have exercised power in the absence of authority. The two are not synonymous.

    Individuals have every right to organize with others for defense purposes but never to initiate force or aggression. Would you agree?

    So, having pointed out the distinction between power and authority, where do majorities obtain their authority if their members in their individual capacities do not have resident authority within themselves?

    Do you subscribe to the theory that if one group outnumbers another, that in and of itself, gives them the right to initiate force upon the minority by caging, enslaving, and otherwise controlling them?

    If so, did the whites in this country have the “right” to control the black slaves in times past? Or was their assertion of a right to power over their black fellowman the result of the fact that they were in a position to force their will on them?

  20. 20
    Mano Singham

    @Randy Lee,

    Here is a link to the Social Security Act and here is the reference to the law that governs it. The first sentence says it all: “Social Security coverage is mandatory.”

    Payment of Social Security taxes is governed by the IRS code. If you want the actual wording of the law, see section 3101 and 3102 of the IRS code.

    I am not sure where you got the idea that it is a voluntary program.

    If I can penetrate your message, you seem to be suggesting that the entire US system of taxation is based on a lie because the currency used is some kind of debt obligation and not ‘real’ money (like gold) and that hence you are not obligated to do anything that is based on it unless you choose to do so. So does that mean you do not pay SS and Medicare taxes?

  21. 21
    colnago80

    Re Randy Lee

    OK Randy, how about the law in most states that requires one who wishes to register a vehicle to obtain liability insurance from a private insurance company (e.g. Allstate)? I fail to see how that differs from the ACA or a single payer system like Medicare.

    Ty the way, if you haven’t been paying Social Security taxes, you are a tax law violator and are asking to join Kent Hovind in the slammer of they catch up with you.

  22. 22
    Randy Lee

    To the Proffessor and Colnago80,

    Professor the links you posted are commonly used to decieve those incapable of reading code/law. The phrase, “Social Security coverage is mandatory” is not the same as saying “participation in the Social Security Program is mandatory” . If one chooses to participate, then coverage is mandatory. Coverage and participation are not the same.

    The terms employee and employer in the statutes you posted are legal words of art having meanings that differ from what one might commonly percieve the words to mean. The actual meanings can be found in the IRS statute and its implementing CFR. The terms refer to government personnel. When one looks at the code section 5 USC 552a (a)(13) at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/552a this becomes clear. Social Security benefits were originally only available to government personnel under the Public Salary Tax Act. When others wanted in they had to classify them as personnel vested with retirement benefits.

    As government employees, operating with a SS number and being a potential beneficiary of the SS program they voluntarily made themselves liable for the withholding of the tax as stated in the code sections the professor cited.

    At the 4th page of the following document, paragraph 4, the income tax is admitted as being 100 percent voluntary in tax proceedings held before congress.
    http://www.anti-irs.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/dwightavis.pdf

    You can easily find this whole document on the internet if you choose too. The site this comes from is owned by a gentleman who hasn’t paid taxes in 25 years. His defense is based upon the fact that government cannot compel you to surrender your constitutional rights in order to file taxes, and he has proven in court that the signing of a 1040 is a voluntary waiver of constitutional rights.

    As far as what I am suggesting about the tax system, I am suggesting that no law, no government has the authority to force people to subscribe to the lie of the fraudulent money system by declaring the evidence of the bankers fraud to be income. If the system is so great, then why are people compelled by fear and intimidation at the point of the gun to participate.

    As far as car insurance differing from ACA, both are enforced at the point of the gun, and the Government has no actual standing to enforce either. in the abcense of an actual injury.

  23. 23
    Randy Lee

    Now Professor, although you and others here may not agree, lots of lawyers and tax specialists are aware of the fact that the IRS code, the IRC, fails to specifically hold most Americans liable for taxes. Here is a video produced by an attorney and his friends establishing that fact.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzWn4pvCi6E

    in the absence of a specific statute establishing liability, a declaration of liability under penalty of perjury on a 1040 form would in fact constitute an act of perjury.

  24. 24
    Mano Singham

    @Randy Lee,

    I am afraid that I have nothing more to add to this discussion. Good luck with your efforts at promoting the idea that paying taxes and car insurance and enrolling in the ACA are all voluntary.

  25. 25
    Randy Lee

    Again professor you fail to comprehend what i have been saying. The income taxes are voluntary for most Americans as I think I have proven.. The Social Security is also voluntary if one chooses not to apply.
    The other issues are being enforced at the point of a gun. The only time coercion is ever morally acceptable is when the government, i.e. organized force, is protecting individual rights. As stated in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence,
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Now whether you see it as an divine endowment or rights, or rights inherent to the individual, it still remains that government’s only legitimate purpose is to protect individual rights..

    We are told that he principles this government was founded upon was the protection of individual rights, not communal rights. Group rights do not exist. Groups do not exist. Only separate people. Forests don’t exist. Just many different separate trees in one location.

    Rights belong to the individual person. Without the individual person and the rights attributable to the individual, the concept of group rights could not even be imagined. Property belongs to individuals. Life belongs to individuals. The pursuit of Happiness belongs to individuals.

    The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect individual rights.

    Collectivists, i.e. democratic majorities, fascists,and communists of all flavors, all seek to sacrifice individual rights for those of the commune. They do this by the exercise of usurpations of power in the absence of any legitimate delegation of authority as I have explained earlier.

    How can honest men participate in such usurpations of power? Should we not be accountable to one another to reveal the false basis for our claims of purported authority where its foundations are exposed as imaginary? The future will decide.

  26. 26
    shockna

    The income taxes are voluntary for most Americans as I think I have proven..

    Have the argument actually work in court, and I’ll be impressed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major income tax case where this didn’t end with the tax protestor going to prison, or simply giving up and paying. A handful of people certainly do make a considerable amount of money peddling this kind of nonsense to the gullible, of course.

    The Social Security is also voluntary if one chooses not to apply.

    So I take it then that you’ve never held a private sector job that didn’t pay under the table (or alternatively, born to a wealthy family and managed via nepotism)? If so, that explains quite a bit.

    I certainly didn’t have the choice not to apply (not that I’d have not applied; I’m not out of my mind, after all).

    The only time coercion is ever morally acceptable is when the government, i.e. organized force, is protecting individual rights.

    Some of us happen to have a more broad view of “individual rights”. For example, it can be easily demonstrated that abject poverty is a powerful constraint on liberty (certainly more powerful a constraint than any but the most ruthless of oppressive governments); empirically, a strong welfare state has been shown to improve the lot of said poor (and no, the US has a middling welfare state; not a large one compared to more civilized countries), and hence, their liberty.

    We are told that he principles this government was founded upon was the protection of individual rights, not communal rights. Group rights do not exist. Groups do not exist. Only separate people. Forests don’t exist. Just many different separate trees in one location.

    This insanely atomistic view of people borders on solipsism. Forests exist. Societies exist. They simply describe a large number of individuals, and this increased number can and does change the ecosystem around them. This view you promote would eliminate any acknowledgement of situational change based on sample size (for example, the tragedy of the commons becomes more and more difficult to solve without coercion with a larger group; I’d argue that once it gets to the “society” level, it’s impossible to solve without coercion, short of having a population composed entirely of homo economici; perfectly rational actors).

    Humans are social animals. All “rights”, in the absence of some kind of deity, are ultimately a result of social agreement that they exist.

  27. 27
    Dunc

    Groups do not exist. Only separate people. Forests don’t exist. Just many different separate trees in one location.

    People don’t exist, just many separate cells in one location.

  28. 28
    Randy Lee

    Shockna writes, “Have the argument actually work in court, and I’ll be impressed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major income tax case where this didn’t end with the tax protestor going to prison, or simply giving up and paying.”

    The argument does often work, but you seldom hear about it, and the Courts are pleased to keep it that way. Here is the testimony of one attorney that made the “argument actually work in court”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4nb62cAM3Q

    Why waste your time arguing with me? Make some big bucks backing your position.
    If you go to http://livefreenow.org/about-us/$300,000-income-tax-reward.html Freedom Law School is offering $100,000 to the first person who can demonstrate any of the three propositions listed below. The winner can collect up to $300,000 if he or she can prove all of the propositions below.

    1. Show what statute written by the Congress of the United States that requiring Americans to file an income tax “CONFESSION” (return) and pay an income tax.

    2. Show how Americans can file an income tax “CONFESSION” (return) without giving up their 5th amendment right to not give any information to the government that may be used to prosecute them.

    3. Prove that the 16th amendment to the United States Constitution, which, according to the IRS and modern American courts permitted the income tax to exist was lawfully added to the United States Constitution.

    Finally Shockna, you state “All “rights”, in the absence of some kind of deity, are ultimately a result of social agreement that they exist.”

    Are you making the absurd assertion that the existence of ‘your right to life’ only exists because the rest of society has agreed to let you live?

    Since you seem to favor coercion in the modern society, tell me what proven principles will govern the extent of such coercion?

    BTW, if you win that $300,000, the least you could do is set me straight.

  29. 29
    Leo Buzalsky

    @28 Randy

    Fox has been advertising some reality TV show about forming a utopia and they’re looking for participants. I don’t have a link handy, but you should totally sign up!

    Are you making the absurd assertion that the existence of ‘your right to life’ only exists because the rest of society has agreed to let you live?

    OK, if I had the money livefreenow maybe has, I’d offer you $300,000 to prove that a right to life even exists. Because I don’t see good evidence for it. Since you seem to think that it does exist, you are making a positive claim here. So, please, make your case…instead of making fallacious assurance remarks such as calling an assertion “absurd.”

  30. 30
    colnago80

    Re Randy Lee @ #22

    As far as car insurance differing from ACA, both are enforced at the point of the gun, and the Government has no actual standing to enforce either. in the absence of an actual injury.

    I rather suspect that if you were injured by the actions of an uninsured motorist and ran up a couple of hundred thousand in hospital bills, you would feel rather differently about this.

  31. 31
    Randy Lee

    Oh, Leo, Leo, Leo, I only wish you had 300,000 dollars. But I would wager that if the bet was for 300 dollars you would not be faithful to its consequences should you lose. We will never know, but what is more important is that you may learn something regarding rights for the first time in your life.

    Rights are nothing more than lawful claims of entitlement. By lawful, I do not mean the laws of man, but rather universal principles of morality and secular ethics. The term ‘right’ should not be confused with ‘privilege’ which often times is denoted as a civil right or legal right. What government can grant it can take, because the essence of such rights is that they are created entitlements.

    Natural or inalienable rights on the other hand are those rights which constitute universally recognized lawful claims of entitlement belonging to all individual persons. The existence of such rights is self-evident, and such rights inhere in the individual. Because of the inherent nature of natural rights, they are considered inalienable. They can be violated but such rights are inseparable from the individual. If lawful claims of entitlement, i.e. rights, did not exist, then no act, no matter how barbaric, could be considered criminal, i.e. wrong.. The recognition of the existence of natural rights is necessary to the sustainability of any free society.

    If we claim that rights only exist by societal agreement for the benefit of the community and that natural rights do not exist, then take the hypothetical example that, the majority should pass a law requiring persons with two good kidneys, or eyes (should medical tech.enable such), to enter a lottery to determine who must donate one of their kidneys or eyes to persons in need of a kidney or eye in order that the overall fitness of the community be enhanced. If rights occur solely by community agreement then such a lottery would be completely moral, as long as everyone was treated the same under the law.

    Now if natural rights exist, then no claim of lawful authority to impose such a lottery could be made, as to do so would violate inalienable rights of individuals. If I am born with two kidneys or eyes, then my right to life includes my entitlement to live in the state that nature chose to endow me.
    Natural rights always originate with the individual, and not the community.

    To say that natural rights do not exist, is to say that lawful claims of entitlement do not exist and that the origin of all authority should be brute force.

    Now Leo, if rights, lawful claims of entitlement, do not exist, then what would you do to someone who tried to harm your child?; would you have a right to protect them?; or to some who entered your home uninvited?; or to someone who took your property?

    Oh that’s right, you don’t believe in property. How could you? You dont believe in the existence of rights.

  32. 32
    colnago80

    I should be obvious by now that Mr. Lee is an anarchist. Compared to him, Ayn Rand was a raving big government liberal.

  33. 33
    Randy Lee

    Compliments accepted, colnago80. (Big grin)

    The only inevitable alternative is to lick the boots of rulers. And only true hearted communists are so willing. Would you agree, Comrad?

  34. 34
    Randy Lee

    A thorough understanding of the issue of standing is necessary in any society that wishes to properly and justly balance the rights of its participants.

    For instance, take the recent case of Elane’s Photography where the N.M. supreme court utilized a twisted an unequal application of standing pursuant to the public accomodations law to authorize involuntary servitude.

    Anyone who is compelled to provide service to another under any law is in a state of involuntary servitude.

    Elane Huguenin, a wedding photographer in New Mexico, refused to provide her services to a lesbian couple planning a “commitment ceremony”. The couple experienced no problem finding another photographer willing to provide the service, but thanks to the couple’s punitive impulses – and the totalitarian “public accommodations” law of N.M. the couple were successful in extracting fines from Huguenin that offset the costs of their photographs.

    By declining the couple’s business, Elane Huguenin did not injure or defraud anybody. But because legal standing, as opposed to lawful standing requiring an injury, had been created by a statute declaring the couple to be part of a “specially protected class” they became entitled to more than the equal treatment and application of law. A “standing” to sue was created by statute that did not exist before the passage of said statute (public accomodations statute). Such standing to sue is mere privilege granted by statute and does not equate to an actual natural right. See the distinction pointed out in #31 above.

    But compare this situation with that of Antonio Darden, a gay hairdresser from Santa Fe who earned nation-wide publicity a couple of years ago when he announced that he would not accept business from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez because she is an opponent of same-sex marriage. Both Huguenin and Darden exercised their property rights by declining proposed business transactions. But Darden was permitted to do so, because Governor Susana Martinez did not belong to a “specially protected” class.

    How can this be seen as equality? Both Darden and Huguenin chose to avoid involuntary servitude by an exercise of their right to property, or their control over their own person and their actions. Can lawful ‘standing’ be shown to exist because one group claims a right to put the other in a state of involuntary servitude? Did the white man have lawful standing at the natural law to enslave the black man? Was the white man a “special class” or were both races equal? Were the property interests of the white man greater than those of the black man?
    Standing to bring an action where an exercise of a property right is concerned can only exist where an injury can be shown to have resulted from the exercise of the right.

    Huguenin’s attorneys argued that the statute violated the free speech and religious liberty “guarantees” of the First Amendment. Counsel should have argued that the state’s Human Rights Act — which was amended in 2003 to include “sexual orientation” within the protected categories — represents a wholesale violation of property rights. But it is unlikely that this argument would find traction, in a society where property rights are not properly understood.

    Our culture is presently brainwashed by the Marxist madness surrounding the “abolition of private property” rights in return for communal privileges. Without realizing it, humankind is giving up their independence in exchange for communal control. There can be no independence, no freedom, once the right to property is violated. At that moment, one’s full right to life and their pursuit of happiness is denied.

  35. 35
    shockna

    Freedom Law School is offering $100,000 to the first person who can demonstrate any of the three propositions listed below. The winner can collect up to $300,000 if he or she can prove all of the propositions below.

    And they’re about as honest as Kent Hovind’s “prove evolution for $250,000″, I’m sure.

    Here is the testimony of one attorney that made the “argument actually work in court”.

    Not quite. When acquitted, he didn’t actually challenge the income tax to the Jury:

    Cryer did not make any of his arguments about the legality of the income tax to the jury itself. Instead he asserted that he really did not believe that he owed the taxes, so there was no criminal intent. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader:

    Cryer convinced jurors that he genuinely believed he was not liable for the $73,000 in taxes the government says he owes for tax years 2000 and 2001. Absent proof of criminal intent, the jury acquitted him.”

    He got off, it seems, on a technicality (namely, that they couldn’t prove he was deliberately acting based on criminal intent, rather than simply delusional); not on the basis that he wasn’t obligated to pay income taxes.

    Are you making the absurd assertion that the existence of ‘your right to life’ only exists because the rest of society has agreed to let you live?

    Yes. “Rights” of any kind are a social construct, whether springing from a society without any form of coercion (some kind of utopia that has more in common with the platonic “world of ideas” than with any real society), or from a modern state. Unless you have some sort of evidence that “rights” have some kind of essence that transcends human society, they arise of necessity from social agreement.

    Since you seem to favor coercion in the modern society, tell me what proven principles will govern the extent of such coercion?

    There is no single set of fixed, “proven” principles; the world isn’t perfect, and neither are the people. We’ve got a lot of different ideas from competing philosophies that have arisen over the years. My preference is for a mix between capitalism and socialism; Norway is one of the closer countries in existence to what I’d prefer, though no country meets my ideal exactly.

    but rather universal principles of morality and secular ethics.

    And your evidence that such universal principles exist is…?

    The existence of such rights is self-evident,

    Clearly not. This strikes me as being rather like the argument of some fundamentalists that Christianity is self-evidently true. No matter your cause, circular reasoning is never a valid argument.

    If lawful claims of entitlement, i.e. rights, did not exist, then no act, no matter how barbaric, could be considered criminal, i.e. wrong.

    Why not? “Crime”, being defined as it so often is as a violation of the social contract, clearly fits in to the “rights are socially agreed upon” model.

    If we claim that rights only exist by societal agreement for the benefit of the community

    Who said anything about the benefit of the community? They can also exist by agreement through a mutual desire among individuals for individual benefits. You seem to assume everyone who disagrees is a hard communist.

    Natural rights always originate with the individual, and not the community.

    Assertion isn’t an argument. You’ve not demonstrated that claim.

    To say that natural rights do not exist, is to say that lawful claims of entitlement do not exist and that the origin of all authority should be brute force.

    Or social agreement. There will always be brute force lurking in the background, but that’s always been the case, and unless humanity can become some kind of angelic species, I suspect it always will be the case.

    Oh that’s right, you don’t believe in property. How could you? You dont believe in the existence of rights.

    Property, like all rights, is based on social agreement. Just because something is a social construct, and doesn’t spring forth from the brain of Jupiter, transcending humanity, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Property rights, and all other rights, are certainly real; they just don’t exist in the absence of human societies to delegate them.

  36. 36
    shockna

    the totalitarian “public accommodations” law of N.M. the couple were successful in extracting fines from Huguenin that offset the costs of their photographs.

    You don’t even know what totalitarianism is, do you? I suspect anybody who ever actually lived in a totalitarian country would be horrified at your reduction of the word to the level of simple anti-discrimination laws.

    I can scarcely imagine how much worse off, for example, the black community would be if everyone thought anti-discrimination laws were “totalitarian”.

    How can this be seen as equality?

    Because history isn’t something to be ignored. The simple fact is that the LGBT community, racial minorities, women, and similar groups experienced (and still do, if less than previously) a special level of discrimination that others didn’t. Laws that seek to stop perpetuation of those systems are a step toward equality. In an ideal world, they wouldn’t be necessary. In the practical world, prejudice dies hard. Punitive charges against the prejudiced are a good way to discourage acting out on such attitudes.

    Our culture is presently brainwashed by the Marxist madness surrounding the “abolition of private property” rights in return for communal privileges. Without realizing it, humankind is giving up their independence in exchange for communal control.

    And equivalently, you know nothing about Marxism if you think that modern America is the slightest bit Marxist. There is, believe it or not, some middle ground between “pure Rothbardian propertarian” and “pure Marxist-Leninist”. Property rights wouldn’t, and couldn’t, exist without a social structure to support them. A state of anarchy is poisonous to property rights in concept (absent a social structure to enforce them, one could simply kill a property owner and take over, and there’d be no social structure to discourage it).

  37. 37
    Randy Lee

    Shockna says, “you know nothing about Marxism if you think that modern America is the slightest bit Marxist. ”

    Time to wake up, Shockna.

    With respect to property rights for instance — . On May 25, 1956, U.S. News & World Report quoted T. Coleman Andrews, Commissioner of the IRS for 33 months under the Eisenhower Administration before he resigned, as follows:

    “We’re confiscating property now. That’s socialism. It’s written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what’s happening to him.”

    The Communist Manifesto set forth Ten Planks that if implemented would eventually destroy free market capitalism and produce an equitable socialist state. All ten have been enacted into law in this country.

    First Plank: Abolition of property in land and the application of all rents of land to public purposes. ( Accomplished by Zoning – Model ordinances proposed by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover widely adopted. Supreme Court ruled “zoning” to be “constitutional” in 1921. Private owners of property required to get permission from government relative to the use of their property. Federally owned lands are leased for grazing, mining, timber usages, the fees being paid into the U.S. Treasury.)

    Second Plank: A heavy progressive or graduated incometax. (Accomplished by Corporate Tax Act of 1909. The 16th Amendment, allegedly ratified in 1913. The Revenue Act of 1913, section 2, Income Tax. These laws have been purposely misapplied against American citizens to this day.)

    Third Plank: Abolition of all rights of inheritance. (Partially accomplished by enactment of various state and federal “estate tax” laws taxing the “privilege” of transfering property after death and gift before death.)

    Fourth Plank: CONFISCATION OF THE PROPERTY OF ALL EMIGRANTS AND REBELS. (Accomplished by the confiscation of property and persecution of those critical – “rebels” – of government policies and actions, frequently accomplished by prosecuting them in a courtroom drama on charges of violations of non-existing administrative or regulatory laws.)

    Fifth Plank: Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. (Accomplished by the Federal Reserve Bank, 1913- -the system of privately-owned Federal Reserve banks which maintain a monopoly on the valueless debt “money” in circulation.)

    Sixth Plank: Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State. (Federal Radio Commission, 1927; Federal Communications Commission, 1934; Air Commerce Act of 1926; Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938; Federal Aviation Agency, 1958; becoming part of the Department of Transportation in 1966; Federal Highway Act of 1916 (federal funds made available to States for highway construction); Interstate Highway System, 1944 (funding began 1956); Interstate Commerce Commission given authority by Congress to regulate trucking and carriers on inland waterways, 1935-40; Department of Transportation, 1966.)

    Seventh Plank: Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (Accomplished by Depart-ment of Agriculture, 1862; Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1933 — farmers will receive government aid if and only if they relinquish control of farming activities; Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 with the Hoover Dam completed in 1936.)

    Eighth Plank: Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies especially for agriculture. (First labor unions, known as federations, appeared in 1820. National Labor Union established 1866. American Federation of Labor established 1886. Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 placed railways under federal regulation. Department of Labor, 1913. Labor-management negotiations sanctioned under Railway Labor Act of 1926. Civil Works Administration, 1933. National Labor Relations Act of 1935, stated purpose to free inter-state commerce from disruptive strikes by eliminating the cause of the strike. Works Progress Administration 1935. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, mandated 40-hour work week and time-and-a-half for overtime, set “minimum wage” scale. Civil Rights Act of 1964, effectively the equal liability of all to labor.)

    Ninth Plank: Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country. (Food processing companies, with the co-operation of the Farmers Home Administration foreclosures, are buying up farms and creating “conglomerates.”)

    Tenth Plank: Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production. (Accomplished by gradual shift from private education to publicly funded began in the Northern States, early 1800′s. 1887: federal money (unconstitutionally) began funding specialized education. Smith-Lever Act of 1914, vocational education; Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 and other relief acts of the 1930′s. Federal school lunch program of 1935; National School Lunch Act of 1946. National Defense Education Act of 1958, a reaction to Russia’s Sputnik satellite demonstration, provided grants to education’s specialties. Federal school aid law passed, 1965, greatly enlarged federal role in education, “head-start” programs, textbooks, library books.

    All of these changes have occurred as the result of agreement, acceptance, and brute force. And as you seem to accept as the basis for rights that originate by agreement, “There will always be brute force lurking in the background.” , you have proven my point, that either rights exist inherently at nature or they exist by brute force.
    Your view of rights appears very nihilistic. No one has the right to do what is wrong. All rights are founded in what is inherently and universally right.
    For example, white men had no right to enslave black men. And black men had every right to resist their enslavement. No amount of societal agreement or brute force was able to validate the premise that holding ownership rights in other humans was right. The right of the black man to resist enslavement was natural, inherent and inalienable. It did not arise by societal agreement.
    Examples such as this fill the pages of history. Wake up Shockna to the reality of the existence of natural rights. Just as the black man’s right to be free existed regardless of whether the white man believed it to be so, natural rights exist whether Shockna believe it to be either.
    Before you waste the rest of your life believing that brute force is the lowest common denominator to which mankind will ever be subject, read the following rational proof of secular ethics at
    http://www.freedomainradio.com/free/books/FDR_2_PDF_UPB.pdf

  38. 38
    Randy Lee

    Earlier I wrote, “Here is the testimony of one attorney that made the “argument actually work in court”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4nb62cAM3Q

    Shockna then asserted, “Not quite. When acquitted, he didn’t actually challenge the income tax to the Jury:
    Cryer did not make any of his arguments about the legality of the income tax to the jury itself. Instead he asserted that he really did not believe that he owed the taxes, so there was no criminal intent. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader:
    Cryer convinced jurors that he genuinely believed he was not liable for the $73,000 in taxes the government says he owes for tax years 2000 and 2001. Absent proof of criminal intent, the jury acquitted him.”
    He got off, it seems, on a technicality (namely, that they couldn’t prove he was deliberately acting based on criminal intent, rather than simply delusional); not on the basis that he wasn’t obligated to pay income taxes”

    Shockna, your explanation fails to present all the facts.

    In June, 1994, Tom met a man who claimed that the Internal Revenue Code did not make him liable to pay income tax. This was a life-changing event for this lawyer, who then began to research into the law in order to prove this man wrong. What he discovered was that there is no income tax liability relative to American citizens. This presented Tom with a dilemma: does he put his head down and pretend not to know the truth, or to honor his oath to support and defend the rule of law and the Constitution? He chose the latter path, and ceased filing income tax.

    Tom Cryer stopped filing and paying income tax UNLESS and UNTIL the government could show him it had any right to demand he do either. He was charged with two counts of tax evasion, which charges were later dropped to two counts of failure to file. He was tried on July 9, 2007 in Federal District Court in Shreveport. During that trial, he said he learned first hand how far tyranny has advanced within the US government — even into the courtrooms. The judge, in an attempt to aid the prosecutor in attempting to convict Tom, violated the laws of evidence and due process by not allowing Tom to present any physical evidence or material facts. The judge further tried to hamper his testimony in an effort to prevent the jury from understanding that Tom did not have any income tax liability, and that the law does not say with the IRS tells them it says. Seeing the truth in his words, because they were not permitted to see any evidence, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty on both counts after only a few hours of deliberation.

    Now consider Shockna, if someone without a law degree were to claim that they did not understand the law and did not believe they were liable that would be one thing. But when an attorney with a juris doctorate presents this personal belief to a jury, such a belief rises to the level of an actual “challenge to the income tax”. The hurdle that such an attorney must overcome is higher than that of an average person who might have mis-read the law.

    So Cryer’s defense that the income tax statutes failed to present a clear basis of liability as applied to him did resonate in the minds of the jury that the government had failed to present beyond a reasonable doubt that such a liability first existed, and that such a learned man as Cryer was without reasonable excuse to comprehend that fact.

    The fact that the jury aquitted Cryer would also give rise to Cryer’s future reliance on his past beliefs. Furthermore their aquittal, also gives reliance ammunition to others who also contend the IRC does not clearly apply to the average American.

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