This week's cover story is about a Washington couple who made millions selling Dreamsicles--chintzy cherubs that are catnip to Midwestern grannies--then lost it all when the government busted them for not paying their taxes. The couple's spiritual guide was a man by the name of Irwin Schiff. Known as the grandfather of the tax-denier movement, Schiff is sincere in his beliefs that the feds have no right to collect an income tax. So much so that at age 81 he's currently serving a 13-year sentence for tax evasion. But that doesn't mean all Schiffs are believers like Papa Irwin.
Irwin has a son named Peter, an investment broker in Connecticut who placed third behind wrestling high priestess Linda McMahon in last year's Republican Senate primary. But what Peter is probably best known for is this video.
Known on YouTube simply as "Peter Schiff was right," the video is a collection of clips from cable news shows in the years leading up to our current financial crisis. In them, Peter is dismissed as a Chicken Little for predicting doom and gloom for the American economy, while "experts" like Ben Stein roll their eyes and impatiently describe the subprime crisis as "tiny." At 10 minutes, it may be longer than most popular YouTube videos, but there's a reason why it has nearly two million views: It's spellbinding to watch a prophet speak truth to nonbelievers.
That same sort of truth-telling is what Peter claims his father has done inside the tax-denier movement. But while his dad may have been willing to go to jail for his beliefs, Schiff is practical enough to understand it doesn't pay not to pay (your taxes, that is).