Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters…informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.
Why haven’t we heard about this before? Because it’s only been happening for a few years based on our Federal Government burying a line in the recent Farm Bill that overturned the statue of limitations on collecting debts more than ten years old. In other words, the Government is broke because buying votes by handing out free goodies is expensive, so they hid a change in the law inside a completely unrelated law, to sneak it by every American. This unleashed the Treasury Department’s Hounds of Hell to confiscate your tax refund. This is something we would expect from North Korea, or Cuba…but it happens all the time here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A, and nobody cares.
So what is the Rule of Law? The Rule of Law is, “…the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.” They key word there is, “arbitrary.” The Rule of Law and Common Law are two of the most basic, fundamental ingredients for a free society. Without the Rule of Law, then you have the rule of arbitrariness, “…arbitrary is a term given to choices and actions subject to individual will, judgment or preference, based solely upon an individual’s opinion or discretion.” Or, in a word, anarchy.
The first known use of the phrase “Rule of Law” occurred around 1500 A.D. while another early example of its use is found in a petition to James I of England in 1610, from the House of Commons (emphasis added):
“Amongst many other points of happiness and freedom which your majesty’s subjects of this kingdom have enjoyed under your royal progenitors, kings and queens of this realm, there is none which they have accounted more dear and precious than this, to be guided and governed by the certain rule of the law which giveth both to the head and members that which of right belongeth to them, and not by any uncertain or arbitrary form of government…
The Secretary-General of the United Nations defines the Rule of Law as:
“…a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.
The Council of the International Bar Association passed a resolution in 2009 endorsing a substantive or “thick” definition of the Rule of Law:
An independent, impartial judiciary; the presumption of innocence; the right to a fair and public trial without undue delay; a rational and proportionate approach to punishment; a strong and independent legal profession; strict protection of confidential communications between lawyer and client; equality of all before the law; these are all fundamental principles of the Rule of Law. Accordingly, arbitrary arrests; secret trials; indefinite detention without trial; cruel or degrading treatment or punishment; intimidation or corruption in the electoral process, are all unacceptable. The Rule of Law is the foundation of a civilized society. It establishes a transparent process accessible and equal to all. It ensures adherence to principles that both liberate and protect.
The modern economist F. A. Hayek analyzed how the Rule of Law might be beneficial to the free market:
“…under the Rule of Law the government is prevented from stultifying [suppressing] individual efforts by ad hoc [arbitrary] action. Within the known rules of the game the individual is free to pursue his personal ends and desires, certain that the powers of government will not be used deliberately to frustrate his efforts.”
Hayek defined the Rule of Law as the opposite of arbitrary government:
“The distinction we have drawn before between the creation of a permanent framework of laws within which the productive activity is guided by individual decisions and the direction of economic activity by a central authority is thus really a particular case of the more general distinction between the Rule of Law and arbitrary government.
As you can see, the Rule of Law is the foundation for a free society and is absolutely critical to avoid tyranny and anarchy and to provide economic, social and political stability.
When you voluntarily, of your own free will, enter into a contract with another individual, you are bound to that contract by the Rule of Law. Your mortgage, your car loan, your credit cards, your rental agreement, your employment contract…these are all legal documents, based on the Rule of Law, that you voluntarily entered into, and then signed, where both parties mutually agree to be bound to those contracts and there is a system of legal action that provides protection and enforcement of them.
On the other hand, when we have the rule of arbitrariness instead of the Rule of Law, any individual of authority, that has more power than you, can arbitrarily decide that you must do something, or not do something, simply because they want it. You may have never signed a contract. You may have never voluntarily agreed to it. You may not have even been born yet in the case, like this one, where your parents debts become yours. Someone, somewhere, wants something from you, and they are going to use force to get it from you.
In this case, the Federal Government is using the force it can apply through the Treasury from the Social Security Administration, to force you to pay a debt that you never voluntarily agreed to be bound to. Why? Because they want it. It’s that simple. That is the death of the Rule of Law. How do we know the Rule of Law is dead? Here’s how…
The Federal Trade Commission, on its website, advises Americans that, “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.”
“Typically,” not obligated.
How would you feel if you reviewed your apartment rental agreement and it said, “your rent will typically be $900 a month” or how about, “the interest rate on your mortgage loan will typically be fixed at 3.5%” or maybe, “your credit card interest rate will typically be only 12%” or lastly, “we will typically pay you $12 an hour.” Would you ever sign any of these contracts based on something “typical” and be bound to their arbitrary language? How many months do you think would go by before your “typical” rent went up, or your “typical” interest rates would rise or your “typical” paycheck went down?
Yet here is the Federal Government telling you that you are already bound to a contract that you never voluntarily agreed to that says, “You are typically not responsible for your family members debts” and since we all know what would happen if we ever signed a rental or mortgage or credit card or employment contract that relied on the word “typically” to define the parameters of the contract, then we also know that it would not take long for the Federal Government to hold us accountable for the debts of our relatives. That is why the Government has already decided that $1.9 billion in tax refund seizures must come from Americans that the Government has arbitrarily decided are not one of the, “typically not obligated to pay” Americans.
“Typically” is just another word for “Arbitrarily” which is exactly what we have been warned about for hundreds of years as the foundation for tyranny, not freedom.
“Freedom under law is like the air we breathe,” wrote President Dwight Eisenhower as he prepared his speech celebrating the first U.S. Law Day this week. “People take it for granted and are unaware of it—until they are deprived of it. The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened where there is no rule of law. The dread knock on the door in the middle of the night . . .”