They’re Gonna Make You Pay, Pal!

To start off the new year, I’d like to take the opportunity to comment on something that may have flown under the radar for a lot of folks due to more front page news like Covid and Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial. Many folks may not be aware of it, but the recent stimulus package included a mandate requiring internet payment processors like PayPal and Venmo to report any earnings to the IRS that you may gain that are greater than $600 (in total) on form 1099-K.

Now, defenders of this move are technically correct when they point of that this rules change doesn’t apply any new tax burden on people who earn money over the internet and use these payment processors since technically you’re supposed to be reporting all of that income anywise. However, we all know that there is often a gulf between what is technically correct and what is functionally and actually going on, and so it is here. The IRS will be intrusively monitoring for monetary transactions that are much lower than what used to be officially accepted lower limit to trigger actual federal interest (IIRC, this was $20,000). Much of the time, what people are selling on the internet is used and has already been taxed, so enforcing taxation on it again is akin to the IRS monitoring yard sales and taxing you for the two dollars you made selling a set of used salt and pepper shakers.

In other words, a lot of what’s going to be hit here is penny ante stuff. While the money being assessed for any particular individual may not be a lot, each person who deals with others on the internet and uses a payment processor because they streamline the process will find that much of this perceived savings in time and hassle will evapourate. Regular Joes will see themselves squeezed by the IRS, likely having to produce and keep records for every single little transaction they made that involved selling a good or service or which was received as a gratuity. So while it is true that it’s not actually a tax increase, it still takes on the form and function of one. What the government formerly was content to take a pass on it now no longer is.

The demographic-structural reason for this is obvious. As a society approaches the end of the collapse phase in its secular cycle, elites will continue to find new ways to milk more and more resources from the commons as older sources become exhausted and as elite rapacity grows worse and worse. This is often coupled (as in our case) with elite overproduction that creates even more competition for dwindling resources. That’s essentially what is going on with this new IRS rule. As the resource collectors for society’s elites both inside and outside of government (where do you think a lot of your tax dollars actually go?), the IRS is the primary hand used to dip further and further into your wallets.

However, because I’m such an optimistic fellow, I can see some ways in which this new rules change may not be all bad. Three basic reasons come to mind.

First, this new rule, aimed as it is at the masses of little guys out there, can only serve to make people angrier at the IRS, and at FedGov in general. After all, it’s not the billionaires who use all kinds of tax loopholes who are being hit by this. While I don’t believe in structural mass political participation, I do think that when it comes to potential civil mobilisation in the sense of resisting illegitimate government, quantity does have a quality all its own. This is especially the case when a broad swathe of the masses is armed and trained in the use of those arms. Every little bit of wood that FedGov throws onto the fire is just that much more acceleration towards the end of our collapse phase. As they add more energy, they create conditions which become less and less likely for them to be able to engineer into the direction they want when that “Seneca point” of rapid collapse finally happens. I’d bet that Politburo members in 1989 thought they had figured out a way to avoid the breakup of the Soviet Union, too.

Second, in the spirit of Schmittian friend/enemy distinction, I’d like to suggest that this move might end up harming those who have previously sought to harm /ourguys/. I’d expect that one of the results of these new rules is that many people will begin to carry offline, or at least outside the purview of payment processors, a substantial portion of their “secondary economic activity” like side gigs and selling cutsie homemade handicrafts. As a result, payment processors will see a decline in revenue and influence as this happens. This is good for us because many of these payment processors have been “proactive” about using their platforms (or rather, cutting off access to them) to help “cancel” many people in dissident Right circles, and even many normiecons who have run afoul of the Eye of Sauron. If payment processors that help to enforce progressive social diktat end up getting hurt, that’s nothing but a net positive for us.

Third, another consequence of people moving their transactions off of internet processors is that, by necessity, more of this secondary economic activity will probably be conducted locally to take up the slack. That’s not to say that craft makers in Georgia won’t still be selling and shipping some goods to Idaho or that a wordsmith in New Hampshire won’t be able to run an online proofreading side gig for people worldwide. But an increased share of this type of business will probably be moved into the local sphere. Certainly, more business done at a county craft fair where the seller builds face to face relationships with their buyers, who will in many cases be members of their local community, can’t be a bad thing. As convenient as the internetisation of commerce may have been, it has also wreaked havoc on local community ties and social solidarity in general.

With every cloud comes a silver lining. While this new IRS rule is just another example of late stage attempt to milk the middle and working classes to accrue more funds into the hands of elites, there are still some ways this might work to our advantage. This is especially the case if we consciously use it to try to engineer the results described above.

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