We’re Living in a Deep State Paradise, by Bill Bonner

They don’t call it the social credit system, but when the IRS starts blocking passports for Americans who are late on their taxes, it bears an eerie resemblance to China’s system. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

NORMANDY, FRANCE – Clowns to the left of us… jokers to the right – what a hoot it is to watch them jump and howl.

Trade barriers… LGBT bathroom policies… the Dow… Elizabeth Warren… Rudolph Giuliani… unemployment… QT [quantitative tightening]… Canadians sneaking across the border to buy our shoes – there’s no shortage of louche entertainment in yesterday’s events.

But what about tomorrow? We learn from the papers that computers can beat us at chess, write better essays, and drive our cars.

So far, so good.

Identified Undesirable

Alas, these same computers can also pick our face out of a crowd… cancel our credit cards… and take away our passports. Using algorithms and Big Data, they can also identify us as “undesirable”… or worse.

That’s when your editor sees the scaffold going up in front of him… and there is the hangman approaching with a noose in his hands.

Last week, a couple of reports added to his soucis.

First, the IRS announced that it would block passports for 362,000 Americans who are late on their taxes.

From where in the Constitution does the tax collector get the right to confine citizens who have never been convicted of a crime? We don’t know.

We believe our own accounts with the IRS are in good order. But the “tax code” had 74,608 pages in 2016; there is plenty of room for disagreement, ambiguity, and interpretation.

Our own tax return is more than two inches thick. It is prepared by professionals.

Could they make a mistake? Of course, they could. Could the IRS make a mistake… or worse, intentionally try to make life difficult for us?

It would never do such a thing, you say.

In 2013, the IRS apologized for targeting conservative groups for extensive auditing. It admitted that it had given especially harsh treatment to groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names and promised it wouldn’t do it again.

Of course, it won’t. And it won’t make mistakes, either.

To continue reading: We’re Living in a Deep State Paradise

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