Saturday, November 20, 2010

Unequal protection under the law

On Thursday, the House ethics committee recommended that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) be censured for failing to pay taxes on income he received from a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic. A slap on the wrist, and he gets to stay in office.

Contrast that with the case of Wesley Snipes. The actor was convicted in 2008 on three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file his income tax returns. He has just been sentenced to three years in prison. That's three years of his life taken away for not turning in a form that in essence violates the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against self-incrimination.

There should be equal protection under the law, which means everyone, including Hollywood actors and 20-term congressmen, should be treated the same. But, as Orwell pointed out, some are considered more equal than others.

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