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The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Clueless Feds

Two Face Penalty in Slave Reparations Case
WARSAW, Va. - Crystal Foster's father advised her to spend the $500,000 income tax refund she got two years ago. When the government came looking for its money, the Fosters said it was their rightful reparations, since their ancestors were slaves.

Though there is no federal reparations program, Foster had spent the money in eight days, buying a $40,000 Mercedes Benz, paying off her student loans and helping her brother pay for his first year at Virginia Tech.

Foster's father, Robert Lee Foster, prepared her tax forms and was convicted along with his daughter of trying to defraud the government. He maintains he did the right thing.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (news - web sites), more than 80,000 tax returns were filed in 2001 seeking nonexistent slavery tax credits, totaling $2.7 billion. More than $30 million was mistakenly paid out in slave reparations in 2000 and part of 2001.

The IRS is so befuddled by the tax code that Congress hands it that it can't even spot something this obvious. This is the best argument for a flat tax that I've ever heard: simplicity makes fraud easier to spot.

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