07 March 2012

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recently proposed various amendments to a proposed transportation bill. Buried inside the amendment language is this little snippet-

"Hatch Amendment #1 : The Chairman’s mark contains new revenue provisions, including a transfer from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Fund, the closing of a black liquor loophole, the dedication of a “gas guzzler” tax, the revocation of passports for individuals owing more than $50,000 in back taxes, an increase of the levy authority on payments to Medicare providers with delinquent tax debt, and a transfer of certain imported tariffs to the Highway Trust Fund.

That's right- if you owe Uncle Sugar more than $ 50,000 in back taxes you are going to have your passport revoked.

Stop and think about this for a second. Remove all thoughts of tax cheats and rich one percenters jetting off to Switzerland to avoid paying up. From 1789 until 1941 passports were not even required (except by executive order during the Civil War and World War One) for U.S. citizens to leave or enter the country and it wasn't until 1978 that it became illegal to enter the U.S. without a passport. As with all aspects of the unimpeded growth of government and bureaucracy, the citizens of this country have slept while government has quietly crept into every facet of their lives, eroding their individual freedoms, restricting their movements and watching over their shoulders.

I can understand how a person accused of a violent crime should be forced to surrender his or her passport while awaiting trial. After all, it makes perfect sense to prevent murderers from fleeing to other countries to escape justice. That being said, owing the government money is a completely different situation. What Hatch is basically attempting to do is hold an American's very rights as a citizen in escrow until they pay what they owe to the government- the same government that then takes their hard earned money and flushes it down a massive budgetary toilet. By legislative fiat he is proposing to effectively strip Americans of their citizenship because a citizen without a passport is a citizen no longer.

I hope the good people of Utah do us all a favor and vote this senile codger into retirement where he belongs.

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