Every time the news programs show Michael Brown’s parents and attorney at the podium with that king of the race hustlers, Al Sharpton, I wonder at the sanity of these parents. Surely they must know that being associated with Sharpton does not help them. They are not doing too well in the credibility department in the first place. After all they are blaming the Ferguson Police, racism, and white privilege for their son’s death when in point of fact someone should ask them what they were doing when their son was growing up to become a violent thug who beat up store owners and attacked policemen. Someone needs to ask them: What kind of parents were you anyway? The truth is, if they want to know who is to blame for their son’s death all they have to do is look in the mirror. But that’s another story. In this column I concern myself with Al Sharpton and why he is not in federal prison where he belongs, sharing a cell with other tax evaders.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights warriors must roll over in their graves every time Al Sharpton pulls another of his self-aggrandizing, race-baiting publicity stunts. Those true leaders who put their lives on the line fighting for an America in which all people will be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin must shake their heads in disgust whenever Al Sharpton is portrayed in the media as a black leader. A true black leader would do what he does for the good of all black Americans. Al Sharpton seems to do everything he does for the good of just one black American: Al Sharpton. Sharpton is not a black leader, he is a race hustler.

Leaders are people who can establish a worthy vision and then inspire others to fully commit to achieving that vision. Sharpton is certainly able to convince people to commit to supporting his vision, but that is the problem. Sharpton’s vision is one of an entitled America in which wealth is taken from those who have earned it and given to those who have not earned it. His vision requires black Americans to be permanently dependent; to live off of the entitlement crumbs thrown to them by exploitive politicians who care nothing for their real welfare. Sharpton’s vision for black Americans is a not in any sense a worthy vision. In fact, the man should be ashamed of himself, but as the so-called reverend has shown many times, he has no shame.

Consequently, a more accurate description of Al Sharpton is misleader. A misleader is someone who has the types of influence associated with leaders but who uses that influence to exploit those he leads for his own personal gain. Dr. King and his lieutenants in the Civil rights movement envisioned a better future for black Americans. What they did was not for personal gain. Dr. King and his associates did not get rich off of the Civil Rights movement. Al Sharpton, on the other hand, envisions a better future for just one black American: himself. Further, while Dr. King eventually gave his life to help improve the lives of his followers, Al Sharpton would rather give the lives of his followers to improve his own. Black Americans are going nowhere good as long as they look to Al Sharpton for leadership. He might have a better future—if he can stay out of jail—but they won’t.

Sharpton continues to opportunistically turn up in any and all situations where the frustration of black people can be exploited or their anger can be stoked up to the point of violence, but far from trying to help black people who are in distress he is just looking for another opportunity to cash in. Apparently he needs to. According to the New York Times which investigated Sharpton, the reverend has more than $4.5 million in tax liens against him and his businesses. In addition, he owes $1.1 million in unpaid payroll taxes. He is also notorious for failing to pay for such things as hotel rooms and the services of travel agencies. He doesn’t even pay his rent. Sharpton has been sued twice by his landlord in an attempt to collect $98,000 in back lease payments. That’s a lot of money. Either the reverend leases some nice digs or he hasn’t paid the rent in a long time.

Al Sharpton is the walking personification of the entitlement mentality; a mentality encouraged by the Obama administration. He does not pay his bills because he doesn’t believe he should have to. The message his attitude toward financial responsibility conveys is at least consistent: Don’t send me any bills. I don’t have to pay. I am entitled. Perhaps this is why, in spite of Sharpton’s repeated failures to meet his financial obligations, President Obama still lends credibility to him by treating this tax evader like part of the White House inner circle. Every time Obama gives Sharpton a public hug he is sending a clear message: don’t mess with my guy.

What does it say about Barack Obama when he continually attacks wealthy Americans claiming they aren’t paying their fair share in taxes, but embraces a tax evasion crook like Sharpton who refuses to pay any taxes, much less his fair share. Further, consider how much income Sharpton has to produce to owe $4.5 million in back taxes. He has to have an income that puts him right up there with that group liberals self-righteously refer to as America’s “greedy one-percent.” This is typical of the hypocrisy that is intrinsic to liberals. Like Sharpton, they believe they have the right to increase your taxes and then give the increase to people who refuse to work and pay no taxes, but don’t ask liberals to ante up out of their own pocket. Paying with someone else’s money is the approach favored by liberals and practiced by Sharpton and other misleaders who exploit poor blacks for their own personal gain.

Sharpton uses intimidation in the form of an unstated but always present threat of retribution to cow those who might otherwise demand payment of debts. His weapon of choice is to organize bad publicity for those who press him too hard. For example, if a hotel is too persistent in dunning him for payment, Mr. Sharpton can organize an embarrassing demonstration in the lobby. After all, his most loyal followers have plenty of time on their hands—they aren’t working. But he might not have the same kind of success trying to intimidate the IRS.

While I am sure that Sharpton’s close relationship with the president gives him some cover with the IRS, it will be interesting to see how far that cover extends. After all, the IRS isn’t doing too well in the public relations department right now. We are in the middle of tax season and millions of Americans are laboring over receipts and records in preparation for their annual day of reckoning with the taxman; a process that leaves even the most affable among us in a grouchy mood. Consequently, if the IRS allows Sharpton to skate while it is collecting the hard-earned dollars of other Americans, there is going to be a backlash that might manifest itself in the form of votes against Democratic candidates in 2016.

Another consideration is that if Sharpton is allowed to thumb his nose at the IRS and refuse to pay his taxes, other Americans might decide to follow suit. It is not too much of a stretch to think that law-abiding Americans who normally pay their taxes might respond to Sharpton’s refusal by asking themselves this question: If he gets away without paying his taxes, why should I pay mine? One would hope Americans would not respond in this way. Nevertheless, the possibility exists; a fact IRS officials should take seriously as they consider how to deal with Al Sharpton. Barack Obama’s failures as president turned the recent mid-term elections into a disaster for his party. If he mishandles the tax-evasion issue with Al Sharpton as badly as he has mishandled the presidency, Obama might just drive the final nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party, or at least submarine its chances of winning the presidency in 2016.

It is one thing to have to listen to Al Sharpton’s self-serving bloviating every time there is an incident anywhere in America involving a black person. It is quite another to stand back and watch him get away with refusing to pay his taxes and other bills. The hypocrisy of Sharpton supporting President Obama’s campaign to increase the welfare rolls while refusing to pay the taxes that finance welfare programs is a bit much. But, then, while most Americans view Sharpton’s financial irresponsibility as an extension his entitlement mentality, Sharpton views it as just another day at the office. After all, it is in the DNA of entitlement liberals to expect others to pay. Giving my money and your money away to people of their choice is normal behavior for liberals, but don’t expect them to get up off of their own wallets. The attitude of liberals such as Al Sharpton and Barack Obama toward money can be summarized in this way: You give yours, and I will give yours too.