The IRS as Political Tool

It’s not the tax collection agency it’s made out to be. We all recall, for instance, the IRS’ Lois Lerner-run Exempt Organizations Unit targeting Conservative tax-exempt organizations, slow-walking or outright denying those organizations tax-exempt status purely for political reasons, without consideration of how well they met statutory criteria for the status.

It’s also been well-publicized that the IRS has been funded for next year to hire 87,000 agents for the ostensible purpose of increasing audits of the Evil Rich, and the agency is buying ammunition and hiring agents who are willing to use lethal force in the course of their “duties.”

This is not unique to the Progressive-Democrat administrations of ex-President Barack Obama and current President Joe Biden. As far back as Lyndon Johnson’s (D) and Richard Nixon’s (R) administrations, the IRS was used to interfere with government-disapproved organizations and citizens.

Today’s IRS is just as bad across a range of…matters.

  • The IRS has disproportionately audited poorer Americans in recent years
  • IRS auditing of wealthier Americans has been declining
  • Nonpartisan projections have found increased audits under the Biden plan will heavily impact middle- and working-class Americans
  • IRS customer service has been declining, and was rated “horrendous” by its own internal watchdog
  • IRS employees have egregiously leaked or failed to protect the privacy of taxpayers’ data
  • Amid backlogs and leaks, IRS paid tax relief to dead taxpayer, prisoners on death row

The solution to this isn’t more legislation for the IRS to ignore, with or without the tacit approval of the administration then in power. IRS history and current behavior means the agency needs to be vastly shrunk.

But shrinking the IRS would be difficult as a practical matter with the current byzantine and heavily biased against some economic strata Federal tax code. IRS size and performance, then, is an argument for greatly simplifying our tax code.

Eliminate the business revenue-centric taxes. Businesses don’t pay much of those taxes, anyway; their customers pay the taxes in the form of higher prices and reduced innovation rates, and business employees and potential employees pay the taxes in the form of slower wage increases and lessened hirings.

Eliminate the personal income tax as currently constructed and have only a single, flat tax rate charged on all income from any source. Do away with subsidies, credits, exemptions, social engineering gerrymandering altogether. The new 1040 could be reduced to the current taxpayer identifying information, a line for totting up all income and reporting the total, a line for calculating the [10%] tax on that total as the total tax due, and a line for the taxpayer’s [sic] signature.

That could fit on a postcard, but with the personally identifying and income data present, I wouldn’t recommend anything less than a sealed envelope. Such a tax regime, though, would allow an IRS-like function to exist with about 14 employees (I exaggerate, but not by much).

Tough to be a political tool with that reduced function and personnel complement, too.

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