Rabbi Cohen said you can cheat on your taxes. So does Marvin Schick.
In his latest fit of rank apologetics, haredi hack Marvin Schick attacks the Jewish Week for its story on Rabbi Cohen and tax evasion.
Schick makes four basic points:
1. He calls the Jewish Week's tactics McCarthyism because the JW relied on anonymous sources for part of the story.
What Schick does not tell his readers is that the JW had not only the seven anonymous sources mentioned, it also had circumstantial evidence – the RCA's sudden, strange decision to close its Vaad HaPoskim made immediately after the RCA's membership passed a resolution against tax cheating and other types of crime and fraud.
Cohen sat on the Vaad HaPoskim, and it was clear from sources deep in the RCA that the Vaad was disbanded in order to quietly remove Cohen from a position of power due to his opinion on tax cheating.
2. Schick questions whether the story is news because Cohen's speech – reports of which were first published here on FailedMessiah more than two years ago – took place so long ago:
…The larger issue concerns the story itself, if there is a story. There was no activity by Rabbi Cohen to trigger an article about what he may have said twenty-eight months ago, no new position or publication or pronouncement. If there was something to report, the time was shortly after Rabbi Cohen gave his Shabbos talk.…
The news Schick ignores it the RCA's closing of its Vaad HaPoskim, allegedly because of Cohen's ruling on tax cheating.
He also ignores the JW's new sources within the RCA and the fact that seven people who heard Cohen make that speech confirmed Cohen's position of tax cheating.
All of that is news.
3. Schick tries to legitimize tax cheating in part by misrepresenting a source, a federal judge.
Here is how Schick cites the judge, followed by the judge's actual quote:
…The words “evasion” and “cheat” carry a punch, yet it is mistaken to believe that the issue is simply one The words “evasion” and “cheat” carry a punch, yet it is mistaken to believe that the issue is simply one of compliance or non-compliance. In a notable tax case opinion two-thirds of a century ago, Judge Learned Hand of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit made the point that it is appropriate for taxpayers to take advantage when they calculate their liability…
Schick goes on to talk about waitresses not declaring all their tips, implying Judge Hand meant actual tax evasion was permissible. But here is what Judge Hand actually wrote:
"Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."
In other words, Judge Hand's actual quote in no way supports Schick's contention.