Tiger Woods has taken over the airwaves. Woods' “apology” was the big news of the weekend. From American talking-head shows to Germany’s Deutsche Welle -TV, Woods was second only to the war in Afghanistan and way ahead of the President’s meeting with His Holiness, the Dalia Lama. I wonder if His Holiness and Mr. Obama talked about Woods in their meeting. Maybe not, but it is the thought that counts.
What some may have missed were the comments on the Internet concerning A. Joseph Stack III. Who is Joe Stack? He was the joker who flew his own Piper PA-28-236 Cherokee “Dakota” into the Internal Revenue Service offices in Austin, Texas. He died and killed one, injured many others, while carrying additional cans of fuel in his plane to set the office building a blaze. He also set fire to his home, allegedly so that the IRS would not seize it after his death.
What seems to fall into the back seat were reports by ABC News, Glenn Beck, the Christian Science Monitor and others, with either great displeasure or great joy, that those who are the most extreme of anti-federal government are praising the actions of Joe Stack, some even calling him a hero. You can read it yourself on Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of blogs, including comments by the Tea Party Patriots, Ed Encho on the OpEdNews and Stack's daughter, Samantha Bell.
Stack is a terrorist. Woods is an adulterer. Stack is a killer. Woods is a person of fame who has gone wrong. Yet, in the media battle of Woods v. Stack, Woods wins every time.
Why are we more concerned with the domestic impropriety of Tiger Woods than the domestic terrorism of Joe Stack? They both demanded media attention. They both had their messages heard by the world. Woods gave a speech on national television. Stack published his manifesto on the Internet. They both made their points, though one more dramatically than the other.
Woods broke no law. Woods betrayed his family and proved that our image of a squeaky clean, handsome, billionaire golfer with a gorgeous wife and beautiful kids is human. He is not perfect. Each of you, as I, has at least one acquaintance that has had an extra-marital affair or two. That person may even be you.
Stack broke the law. His problems started when the IRS discovered that he had unreported income on which he did not pay taxes. Section 1706 of the 1986 Tax Reform Act discusses taxes paid by “independent contractors.” It was proposed by a Democratic senator and signed by a Republican president. Efforts initiated to repeal the law began one year later by that same senator. Yet 23 years later, §1706 is still on the books and was considered justification by Stack for his act.
The discussion on whether Stack was a criminal or a terrorist is the current story line. Comparisons to the attacks of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, even the Columbine High School massacre are being bantered about the media. However, this is not the true problem that the media has failed to give just due. The United States Congress is the true cause of such consternation between the government and the people.
I am not saying that income tax is wrong. In my opinion it is not. It is the price we pay for living in the “Land of the Free.” I also believe that the so-called “Fair Tax” is anything but fair and should never have been allowed to get past the lips of its sponsor.
I do agree that the tax codes have become so complicated and so indefinable that I have received different answers to the same question from multiple IRS representatives.
The elected officials of both wings of the Capitol need to understand that, while taxes are a necessary evil, figuring fair share is near impossible. Where low- and middle-income families and small businesses do not get the help, the rich and the multinational corporations have the opportunity to hide their profits as to not pay their fair share.
Now, if Congress was get off their partisan bandwagons and actually do their job …
David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Read his blog at InkandVoice.wordpress.com. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.