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Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Life and Times of Irwin Schiff

My father Irwin A. Schiff was born Feb. 23rd 1928, the 8th child and only son of Jewish immigrants, who had crossed the Atlantic twenty years earlier in search of freedom. As a result of their hope and courage my father was fortunate to have been born into the freest nation in the history of the world. But when he passed away on Oct. 16th, 2015 at the age of 87, a political prisoner of that same nation, legally blind and shackled to a hospital bed in a guarded room in intensive care, the free nation he was born into had itself died years earlier. – Peter Schiff via

Dominant Social Theme: The US is a fair, equitable and just country.

Free-Market Analysis: Irwin Schiff made his reputation trying to debunk and remove the US income tax system. He considered it illegal and immoral and went to jail three times for his beliefs.

We knew him several decades ago. He promised us several "scoops" when he came to New York and then called us one evening from Las Vegas where his apartment was being raided. It might have been the IRS and he exclaimed that they were carrying guns even though this was apparently illegal.

He wasn't really fearful or upset, though he was certainly indignant. But that is the impression that sticks with us – of a happy warrior who was determined to confront a system he considered immoral.

Even when Schiff went to jail for a final time we got the feeling that he relished the battle leading up to his incarceration and was hoping against hope that he would be able to present his evidence in open court. He didn't really get that chance, of course.

When we heard of his death we were sad. When we read his son Peter's article, we moved on from sadness to anger and disgust.

His crusade to force the government to obey the law earned him three prison sentences, the final one being a fourteen-year sentence that he began serving ten years ago, at the age of 77. That sentence turned into a life sentence, as my father failed to survive until his planned 2017 release date.


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