Do you know whose taxes are easy: mine. I don’t make enough money for there to be any questions. There is the amount of money I make. There is the standard deduction. There is the money that I owe (or as is generally the case, don’t owe). Whose taxes are complicated are people like Mitt Romney — with all the shenanigans that his tax people get up to long before he’s even acquired it all. And what this means is that it really isn’t hard for the IRS to police me. In fact, they could have a computer do it (and probably do). But to police the Mitt Romneys of the world, the IRS needs well trained and experienced agents.
Thus, it isn’t surprising that conservatives like the idea of gutting IRS enforcement. Most of them will admit that they want to destroy the IRS. Doing so would turn the United States into a kind of banana republic where those who are currently at the top would stay there and have even more power. Poor people might like the idea of not having to pay taxes, but an end of the IRS would decimate the economy. I would be surprised if it didn’t turn the Land of the Free into the Land of Mad Max.
Chuck Marr, Joel Friedman, and Brandon DeBot wrote a really interesting paper over at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, IRS Funding Cuts Continue to Compromise Taxpayer Service and Weaken Enforcement. It starts with a stunning fact, “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget has been cut by 18 percent since 2010, after adjusting for inflation.” This has the effect of providing far less and inferior help to ordinary tax payers like me who are forced to do our taxes ourselves. But more important, this has a huge effect on the finances of the government:
They also note that the Republican budgets out of the House and Senate would make further cuts to the IRS, even while they claim to be all concerned about balancing the budget in ten years and other ridiculous ideas. The truth is that these Representatives and Senators are looking at eliminating their own jobs. This reminds me of the Nazis after they took over the government, they effectively destroyed the Reichstag. A large segment of the Republicans in Congress did not come to fix the government but to destroy it. They are radicals — things totally outside the American tradition.
What are we going to do about this? I really don’t know. It seems that all a Republican has to do to get sent to Washington is to say that abortion is baby murder and claim that she would nuke Iran if given half a chance. Meanwhile, the real work of these Republicans is not what they say publicly. These people are so dangerous, that we would be better off having representatives from General Motors and Walmart. Grover Norquist was apparently wrong. It isn’t necessary to make government small enough to kill in a bath tub. It can be done gradually, just by defunding the IRS. And in a short time, only the little people like me will be paying taxes. And Norquist and his conservative allies should be fine with that.