In Jim Cook's Archive


We’ve had a few crooks in the coins and bullion business in Minnesota.  The newspaper exposed these swindlers and some of them are going to jail.  Consequently the busybodies at the state legislature passed a coin dealer bill.  It requires that dealers get a bond and added a few other minor requirements, mostly red tape.  The main thrust of the bill prohibits the hiring of felons.  We do background checks anyway so for us this was easy.  (Oddly enough the Feds are planning a law that makes it illegal not to hire felons.)

The Attorney General’s office requested that I give my blessings to the bill which I did in an e-mail to them.  Subsequent to that, they slipped a paragraph into the bill that would cause a dealer to lose their license if they were late on paying state taxes.  In the past (1981), we had a dispute with the tax department.  Had this bill been in place we’d have had no negotiating power.  We couldn’t settle the dispute today the way we did then.  Consequently, I sent an e-mail to the AG’s office withdrawing my endorsement.

On a national scale we currently have the issue of NSA surveillance.  As facts are gathered in the future about individual citizens it’s almost inevitable that the tax authorities will be privy to this information.  It will start with mining data about tax dodgers.  Then it will evolve into fishing expeditions and checking the data for tax cheats.  Ultimately the IRS will have a digital platform that monitors every paycheck, dividend and stock sale.  Every purchase you make and check you write will be available to the auditors and tax collectors.  Digital audits will be an annual event for every tax payer.

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