August 4 2014
Tax Reformer: The IRS Can't Be Fixed
Quote of the Day:
Washington’s individual income tax and its enforcement agency, the IRS, cannot be fixed, repaired, reformed or rehabilitated. They are a cancer eating away at this nation, her taxpayers and our economic engine.
--Steven L. Hayes in the Washington Examiner
It is surprising that the IRS scandal, which highlights how out of control bureaucrats have the power to make life difficult for citizens with whom they disagree, hasn’t led to more calls for the abolition of the IRS. There have been some such calls but not nearly so many as might have been expected. Maybe that is changing.
Steven L. Hayes (not to be confused with the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes), president of Americans for Fair Taxation, has an article in today’s Examiner calling for the abolition of the IRS, and I for one hope it is an early sign that calls to rid ourselves of this burdensom agency are percolating to the surface.
The IRS was created in 1913, when Congress ratified the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution establishing the federal income tax. Since Congress ratified the 30-word amendment, the U.S. income tax system has become such a labyrinth that virtually none of us can fill out our own tax forms every year.
As Hayes writes:
After all, Congress and Washington’s finest lobbyists — many of whom previously served as members of Congress or congressional support staff — made it possible for IRS bureaucrats to write all 73,954 pages of the tax code.
In combination with IRS enforcement, the income tax is the perfect mechanism for Congress to exact control, fund hidden political agendas, stuff campaign coffers and gain entree into an elite millionaires club.
Hayes supports the Fair Tax Act, which would repeal the income tax, employment tax, and estate and gift tax and replace these taxes with a national sales tax on “the use or consumption in the United States of taxable property or services.” (Here is some information on the fair tax.)
Another proposal for fixing the tax mess and getting the IRS out of our lives is to substitute a flat tax our current tax system. The flat tax imposes a flat rate on citizens across the board (though the poorest would not pay taxes) and eliminates deductions. Steve Forbes, the publisher, former presidential candidate and commentator, is one of the foremost advocates for a flat tax:
The federal tax code is beyond redemption. We should kill it and institute a flat tax. My flat-tax proposal calls for a 17% tax rate for all, with generous deductions for individuals and families ( a family of four would owe no federal income tax on their first $46,000). And that’s it—no tax on savings and no death tax. The federal corporate tax rate would be dropped to 17%, and capital investments would be expensed immediately. There are other worthy variations of the flat tax.
Forbes has said that, if his plan were to be adopted, we could fill send in our tax information every year on a postcard! This is a far cry from an agency that costs us in excess of $12 billion a year to operate and targets organizations with conservative leaning philosophies when they apply for nonprofit status.