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On Fox, There Are the Rich, and Then There Are the Rest of Us

Reported by Melanie - July 13, 2007 -

Neil Cavuto aired a segment today (July 13, 2007) featuring a man who hasn't paid taxes to the IRS for 35 years because he doesn't believe in paying for war. The segment aired on the same day it was announced that a group of gazillionaires figured out how not to pay taxes on $3.7 billion they made in an initial public offering (IPO) last month.

Cavuto's guest was Ed Hedemann of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Cavuto introduced him over a chyron that read, "TAX RE$I$TER:"

Well, would the economy and the stock market be doing even better today if there weren't people like my next guest? Get this, he has not paid the IRS a dime in taxes in 35 years and owes the government, to date, $70,000!, which he says he has since given to charity. It all began as a protest against the Vietnam War.

With that Cavuto turned to Hedemann and Fox went to a split screen showing old footage of the Vietnam War. Hedermann explained that yes, his protest began during the Vietnam War; that he always pays his Social Security taxes, his Medicare taxes, and his state and local taxes but when it comes to Federal taxes: "I fill out all the forms normally. I don't cheat. I don't lie. There's no fraud involved. And then I enclose a letter saying that I'm refusing to pay because I don't believe in paying for war and militarism." He said he always gives the amount he owes to charity and/or community groups.

He said the IRS has been in touch with him on a regular basis and he has met with them several times, but they seem more interested in trying to get him to pay than throwing him in jail.

As the segment drew to a close, Cavuto gave his flock audience a hint as to what they should be getting out of it: "So, people watching this show are going to say hey, I'm workin' my ketester off. I'm paying my taxes. Ed's getting a pass. That's not fair."

Hedemann said, "No, but I am paying my taxes. I just don't send it to the IRS."

Cavuto: "Alright. Well, a lot of people could say I wanna give to charity but I have to pay Uncle Sam. You're saying no you don't?"

Hedemann: "Yeah. No I don't."

Cavuto: "So, if everyone did that Ed, in the country, what would happen?"

Hedemann: "I think we're less likely to have problems with war, but I think that in a democracy, citizens should have a right to say where their tax money goes and so I'm doing that directly."

Comment: Meanwhile, Cavuto didn't mention this, Blackstone devises way to avoid taxes on $3.7 billion, which was one of the headlines in the business world today. At 5:22 p.m. Eastern, after Cavuto's show ended, Blackstone issued a press release claiming that they will in fact pay taxes on the IPO but again, that was after Cavuto's show ended.

We shall see what Blackstone actually does, after the media attention fades, but it's just like Cavuto to smear the little guy, in this case the lowest of the littlest -- an anti-war protester -- and for him to stay mum about billionaires who might not have to pay millions.