San Jose, Isolated Case or are You Getting to be Big Brother?

According to a news article posted June 29, 2010, written by Dennis Rockstroh, and on the website of the  Silicon Valley Mercury News, a man and his wife purchased a bank-owned home in San Jose, California recently. The house came with a 32 gallon trash container, but they were being charged by the city for a 96 gallon container. Evidently, a neighbor or someone could have taken the original trash container, but despite numerous calls to the city to correct the problem and eyewitnesses to the fact the couple moved into the house with a 32 gallon city trash container, the couple were ignored and charged for the use of the larger container anyway. Even after the couple talked to a supervisor who promised to look into the matter, nothing was done, and the couple received no call. Eventually, due to help from “Action Line,” an activist group of journalists who write for Mercury News, the couple got a call from the city with an apology and fix for the problem.

This type behavior from bureaucrats around the country seems to be getting more and more prevalent as the years pass by. Maybe I am just getting older and a little more sensitive, but it seems to me that our society is approaching more and more toward the Orwellian society of 1984 .For those of you too young to remember, George Orwell wrote a book in 1949 about a totalitarian government whom he described as an oligarchical state-controlled society where life within the country is a world of unending war, on-going government surveillance, and endless public mind control. The fictional dictator in charge of the state was referred to as Big Brother. Does any of this sound too real and similar to our society today? Is the above news article an isolated case as an exception to the rule, or is places like San Jose leaning toward becoming a Big Brother?

The good news is that in this case, it was probably an isolated case.  After all, citizens just like you and I are hired to serve in a bureaucratic way all over the country. The bureaucrats need a way to make a living just like you and I, they work hard to provide us a service, and we can certainly hope for the best when we have a conflict with the authorities who serve us. Nevertheless, the propensity for our bureaucratic servants to lord it over us, especially when they have to deal with the public whining masses on a daily basis, innately can become a temptation, if not a weakness of the system. As government has grown these past fifty years, the temptation to ignore us like we are non-entities seems to be happening all too frequently from bureaucrats. Yes, someone from the public does break the rules on a daily basis, but have you ever stopped to ponder just how many rules there are to break today? I really doubt that there is a soul on Earth that can abide by every single rule. Shoot, I bet even lawyers and judges don’t know all the rules there is to know, let alone, live by all of them.

One of the hardest areas to deal with our government bureaucrats comes from the sensitive area of collecting our taxes, and especially, our personal property taxes. There is one thing certain in this area about bureaucrats who are hired to implement and collect our taxes, they will not ignore you if you fail to pay them. Here, Big Brother has all the power to accomplish his task of making sure the citizen pays what is owed to the state- levies, liens, audits, seizures, and incarceration. In Orwell’s 1984, the citizen was constantly reminded by the government that the individual was always subordinate to the masses. The citizen was taught to believe the state ruled supreme. In light of the September 11th attacks and the subsequent selling of American citizens that it is in the best interest of the state to wire-tap its citizens without a court order, doesn’t that sound a lot like the events in the novel?

You will have to answer that question for yourself, but what is important is that the pervasive mood of our government is to view its citizens as something less than a complete individual and only part of a whole. Maybe that is the reason it has become so easy to ignore citizens who refuse to squeak. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease doesn’t it?

In all of this, there is still a silver lining, it is still America, land of the free. You still have the right to be represented by a tax attorney or representative of your choice when facing the hoard of bureaucrats embodying the system. If you live in or around the area of San Jose, California, and your requests for a hearing have been ignored concerning a tax problem, contact us today. We will get you in touch with a tax lawyer in your area who will be able to help you answer all the questions you may have about tax law.