From the Argus Leader this morning:
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is questioning the Internal Revenue Service’s unusual move to auction tribal land on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, saying she is concerned about the precedent it sets.
About 7,100 acres, or 11 square miles, of tribal land was auctioned by the IRS on Dec. 3 to settle overdue employment taxes it claims are owed by the tribe. The land, valued at an estimated $4.6 million, sold for $2.6 million.
A few quick questions. Has Herseth Sandlin ever been concerned about the precedent which is set when the IRS takes anybody else’s land for failing to pay taxes of some sort or the other? Why should land owned by a tribe be any different in legal fact to land owned by, oh, Ted Turner, when it comes to satisfying tax debts? Did the tribe consider using any of the taxpayer’s money which it regularly receives from the federal government to satisfy its tax obligations? How was it able to get indebted to this extent without flags being raised? Why could not the IRS simply garnish the tribes earnings/funding to keep this from happening?
I know far less about this than I would wish to, but I do wonder how matters were able to progress to this point. Tangentially, but not by much, here is my thinking: Taxation of some sort is necessary to pay for the essential services of government. However, we have far too much taxation and far too many non-essential services being provided by the government to make this whole system work. It is far past time to look at all government services to determine if they are supportable by that old-fashioned much maligned document called the Constitution. Or, we can just go “Oh, well, bad stuff happens,” every time a story like this comes to our attention.