Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who is Joe Stack?

I felt compelled to write about the recent tragedy that took place today in Austin, Texas. I have dealt with people of this nature before as a practitioner and never seem to agree with the selfish nature which they represent. I did not look too far into it, but I am assuming Joe Stack had a family, friends, parents, and siblings. I am of the opinion flying a plane into a building was a self-centered, dangerous and hurtful thing to do, not only to the people that were close to him, but to the people affected by the crash. It absolutely infuriates me that someone could blame a government agency for all of their financial and emotional woes.

I read through Joe Stack's memorandum or suicide note, his rants and raves concerning our government, the health care system, and his inability to be successful in a country where apparently he was being held back by the tax code. He writes that he was upset with the IRS although it is not clear what he is upset over. As a practitioner we see these types of people come across our desks from time to time, thankfully not as often as of late. We usually call them "tax protestors". However, it is virtually impossible to assist a taxpayer who feels the "system" within which we live is corrupt and unfair. Stack continued to go on about the rich and large corporations controlling smaller economies, particually Austin. I have one statement for an individual of this nature; if you do not agree with the tax code, the American Dream, and how our wonderful country operates; giving us roads, schools, the best health care in the world, and the freedom to become anyone we want, then leave this country to find greener (or shadier) pastures elsewhere. Do we forget how lucky we are to be able to drive to work in the morning without having to show our passport at every stop sign? Do we forget we don't have militia monitoring our every move when we need to go out shopping for groceries, go to the movies, the book store? Do we forget that we become anyone we want with hard work, education, and effort?

Stack continues to say that he didn't file for several years, and when he went to file, he apparantly owed money to the IRS. He then seems to point the blame yet again at his accountant for missing un-reported income. He goes on to say he missed the appeals timeline and blames the government for this. When you live in a country as affluent as ours, it takes quite a bit of money, so much money we are in the worst economic crisis of our times, to keep this country afloat and operating. If you have ever used a public road, ate lunch at a park, walked on a sidewalk, attended school, all without the threats of terrorism breathing down your neck, then yes, we must pay a tax of some sort. I am sorry to say that Stack was mistaken when he took his own life. He seemed to be trying to get away from one of the two things we can never get away from; taxes. I think we can all agree on the second thing we cannot get away from.

It is sad to see the day when Federal Employees, or any employee or hard working American for that matter does not feel safe going to work in the morning. I have worked for everything I have and will continue to do so. I hope that no one ever tries to take it away because they don't feel it's fair, legal, or equitable to pay income tax.

My prayers go out to the families of any victims, and the victims themselves stemming from today's tragedy.