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Lauryn Hill -- her Hopeful Resurrection?

Fifteen years ago, Hill was a single mother poised to take her place with the release of her soon-to-be multi-Grammy-winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Now she's in tax court. But why aren't taxes on trial? This 2013 excerpt is from AlterNet, Apr 26.

by Ayesha Adamo

2012 saw Lauryn Hill pleading guilty to her failure to file taxes, with Beyoncé coming to her defense when the aptly named boy-band, Mindless Behavior, mocked Hill and her tax traumas at the BET awards.

On the Isle of Manhattan, just 18 miles away from the South Orange mansion Hill may soon be evicted from, hedge funders are wiping their arses with the kind of cash Hill was making between 2005 and 2007, and those people are probably doing shiftier things than ducking off the grid for a while and not filing tax returns.

The two events—hiding from taxes and the world—happened at the same time. She states, “I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns!”

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JJS: Whatever her reasons for not paying the US Federal Government for a couple years -- and now paying what they demand in order to stay out of jail -- why is she on trial and taxation not? It’s her money and their taxes.

Sure, taxes may pay for some decent things, like say, health clinics, but I can pay for clinics, too, and I can’t tax you. Further, clinics would not need outside money if not for poverty, and poverty is something that taxes help create, worsen, and maintain. So good things like clinics that may now need tax support are no excuse.

Plus, obviously, good things like clinics are not the only programs that taxes support. When people pay taxes, they provide the money for all sorts of evil, if that’s not too strong a word, everything from drones killing civilians to bailouts enriching banksters, from bridges to nowhere and subsidies to clear-cutters to schools rolling over and squashing innate human curiosity. Thus, it’s paying their taxes that is a profoundly anti-social act, not refusing to handover one’s hard-earned pay.

If people did not pay -- illegally as did an outspoken recording artist or legally as routinely do the billionaires and corporations -- that’d make governments risky borrowers. Indeed, they’d no longer be able to operate so deeply in debt. Politicians wouldn’t be able to issue too much new money, more than the output of the economy, so prices would quit constantly inflating. Inflation is like an extra tax upon the poor, suffering souls whom the pro-taxers are supposed to care about.

People want taxation in order to try to take money away from the rich -- which is a bit of a joke. Taxes on the rich keep shrinking while taxes on everyone else keep growing. Indeed, some rich individuals and corporations even get checks from the US Treasury each year, their loopholes are so large and enjoyed. As the adage goes, beware of what you wish for.

This attitude that taxes are OK is simply a hangover from our days as peons, when most of us figured that being ruled by kings was OK and the way things had to be. Yet taxes are not a necessary evil. Failing to challenge taxation, one never gets around to considering all the alternatives. There are fees, dues -- a whole array of ways for government to fund itself in a cooperative, quid pro quo, fashion.

Failing to challenge taxation, one also never gets around to noticing that there is a common wealth, an immense flow of spending for nature that belongs to society in general. Its existence means governments don’t even need to take what does not belong to them. Governments could recover the common wealth, take a cut for performing its few useful tasks, and then disburse the remaining surplus to the citizenry as a dividend. Imagine that: none of us would pay taxes but all of us would receive a dividend, our share of society’s surplus.

By sharing out Earth’s worth, by doing that daring deed of gigantic justice, that would make government into heroes, unlike their persecuting the Lauryn Hills, which only makes government look like bullies.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Taxman Goes After a Non-Banker, Non-Insider

Ever Hear of Bradley Birkenfeld?

Taxes Force People to Make Sub-Optimal Choices

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