Give Us Money

Trust us to figure out something useful to do with it. In a MarketWatch article centered on auditing the rich, this bit, early in the article, jumped out at me.

The Internal Revenue Service is getting specific about how many more audits it wants to spring on rich taxpayers and businesses, as the tax collector absorbs billions of dollars in funding in order to toughen tax compliance at the top.

This is backwards, for all that it’s too typical of the way Congress works. What should have happened, and what We the People can make happen if we finally get our own backs up and elect people who’ll represent us and not lobbyists, is that Congress should have responded to the IRS’ budget item request—here, expanded audit rates—with a requirement to show Congress IRS’ plan for carrying out those audits. That plan should have been required to lay out all the gory details and not filled with glittering generalities and vague goals.

There should have been no funds appropriated, much less allocated, until that detailed plan was provided and was satisfactory to Congress. Of course, the flip side of that, is Congress should appropriate and allocate the relevant funds, if the plan was sufficient: Congress should not micromanage the thing.

But Congress didn’t, and it won’t any time soon.

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