Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Taxes

The Bullshit! episode on organic food still isn't up On Demand for some reason, so bethje and I haven't seen it yet. We have, however, watched the ones on lie detectors and taxes. I already knew that polygraph tests didn't really work (I'm sure they'd register pretty much everything I said as a lie, since I tend to be nervous), but I hadn't really thought about what their real purpose is. According to the show, it's simply to get a confession out of someone by convincing them that their lies can be detected, even though they really can't.

The tax episode wasn't as good, and I guess I'm somewhat biased on the subject, but there have been other Bullshit! episodes that I thought were well done even if I didn't totally agree with the conclusions (the smoking ban and gun ones, for instance). This one didn't seem to have much in the way of hard facts, aside from a few numbers. I suppose I'm fine with the general point that people need to speak up when they have problems with the government, rather than fearing reprisal. I don't think, however, that the tax system is the main concern in this respect. I won't deny that it has its problems, but there are much worse abuses of power occurring in our government than the complexity of income tax. And I didn't buy their argument that there was a time in our nation when anyone who didn't willfully break laws didn't have to fear the government. That honestly strikes me as the same kind of Golden Age thinking that they've criticized in other episodes. As long as there are people and power, there are going to be people abusing power. That's one reason why I'm in favor of added accountability in...well, most things. It seems kind of contradictory to me to oppose the IRS for their strong-arm tactics AND favor deregulation of businesses, yet plenty of people do. But that's another subject, isn't it?
Tags: issues, television
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