Anniversary Post: Treasury Department

United States Department of the TreasuryOn this day in 1789, the United States Department of the Treasury was formed. It’s the agency that prints money. But even more important, the IRS is part of Treasury. I’m constantly amazed at the conservative anger at the IRS. Unless you simply don’t believe we should have a government, we need a tax collector. This goes along with something that I publish later today about conservatives really not thinking things through. It’s kind of like starry-eyed liberals thinking we could have no military and everything would be just fine. (I believe we have a military that 5-10 times the size of what we need, but I still think we need one.)

Even more ridiculous is the common belief that we could get rid of the IRS if we instituted a “flat tax.” To begin with, a flat tax is meaningless. Looking up how much in taxes you owe after doing your taxes is the easiest part of it. The hard part is dealing with all the deductions and such. And that is the stuff that is in there because of the rich. I have a great idea for simplifying the tax code: let’s make all deductions standard — no itemization. How about that rich people?! Would you go along with that? Because I’ll tell you something: that would make filing your taxes easy. It would also make paying them harder, but if the issue is not money but convenience, the rich ought to be all over my proposal. But they aren’t.

The point of the flat tax is the point of all so called tax reform: to shift the burden of taxes from the rich to the poor. But regardless of what you do, there still needs to be a tax collector. And this has been true for thousands of years! People don’t pay taxes voluntarily and they never have. So let’s just cut the nonsense. The IRS isn’t evil — in fact, by the historic standards of tax collectors, it’s quite reasonable. In fact, dealing with the IRS is a breeze compared to dealing with the California Department of Revenue. But if people have a better idea, I’d love to hear it. Because here’s a secret: none of us like paying our taxes. But the smarter people understand that living in a civilized society requires paying taxes.

Happy birthday Treasure Department!

8 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: Treasury Department

  1. I am one of those very rare and weird people who happens to like paying taxes. I know they are an investment in my community and since I like my community, I like spending the money that goes there.
    Although I do take a few deductions that are there at the federal level, I am not that in love with the concept.

    • Definitely take those deductions you qualify for. Whatever you save, you can always donate to the cause of your choice if you like!

      Right-wingers sometimes mention how unfair it is that they have to pay taxes for things they don’t approve of, like birth control. Well, if the left had the option of not paying taxes for things we don’t approve of, the Pentagon would have to hold bake sales!

      • Yeah, the things liberals like are fairly cheap. The things conservatives like are fairly expensive. Then there is Social Security and Medicare that no one dares touch.

        • That is the one problem I have with our just tossing out the military industrial complex-the replacement just is not as much of a money maker.

          So my solution, should I be elected president, is to go hog wild on terraforming Mars. The point is to spend a large amount of money on good paying jobs that will benefit everyone without building an equally large military. So off we go to Mars.

          • You are talking military Keynesianism. And the truth is that non-military Keynesianism (like the attempt to make Mars habitable) is far more efficient. It makes much more sense to spend money on making things than breaking them. But as an old atmospheric physicist, I see many problems with Mars. I don’t think it is massive enough to hang onto oxygen. Certainly, we could heat it up by adding a bunch of CO2. But I don’t know how we deal with the oxygen problem. But we could make it far more habitable — it doesn’t take much plant life to create enough oxygen for us animals. So biodome life is a very real possibility.

    • It is a good point. My main complaint is paying self-employment tax right off the top. It is the single reason why I almost always pay a higher percentage of my income in federal taxes than people like Mitt Romney.

        • Yeah. I don’t really mind paying it. It is all about fairness. Of course, taxes always have been. When Cervantes was a tax collector, he would spend months negotiating with a single town on paying its taxes. It’s really kind of amazing.

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