Remember that old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do”? In politics, there is very little more annoying than when Big
FedGov slams average folks, but refuses to live by their own rules. This is especially true when Big FedGov is
flagrantly vicious, such as by abrogating our First Amendment rights and stealing an election and colluding with our opponents and wasting our time and spending tons of our money for their entertainment. At IRS we have all these bad habits in a growing series of scandals. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, “The Buck Stops Here” applies to the entire administration under any president, including IRS.
The IRS was directed to delay or block any applicants with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their name before issuing 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 tax-exempt status. There were also conservative religious and education groups selected for the same treatment. IRS demanded that these groups answer complex and inappropriate questions. Then IRS dragged their feet, sometimes for years. Worst of all, they sent some of the most private information gleaned from these conservative groups to lefty organizations for them to abuse however they saw fit. It’s a perfect storm of offensive Big FedGov power, clearly driven by the Democratic Party.
As yet, there are no visible links into the Obama administration. But Obama’s former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times over 2010 thru 2012, which is 156 more visits than George W. Bush’s IRS Commissioner Mark Everson made over 2003 thru 2007. Now, think- if Mr. Shulman had been visiting the White House for completely legitimate purposes, wouldn’t the White House race to provide as much evidence as they could find? Such evidence might include planning emails outlining meeting topics, schedules, attendees, venues, and review documents. And then we should expect to see meeting minutes with decisions and deliverables.
Wouldn’t we all do that if we had nothing to hide?
We have also learned about lavish IRS conventions held at taxpayer expense. IRS spent about $50 million of our money on 225 conventions from 2010 thru 2012. And just as we learned about GSA abuses last year (e.g. “Mr. Hot-Tub-and-Wine-Glasses”), there were all sorts of questionable expenses. It seems the IRS has a penchant for making videos. One has a Star Trek theme, one is a takeoff of Gilligan’s Island, and one has IRS staff line-dancing. Apparently, when it’s not their money, it’s OK to spend it for any purpose in any amounts- a bad habit practiced by every FedGov department.
All of us intuitively understand the dangers inherent in these kinds of activities. People of every political stripe know they could be targeted next if the same FedGov people and organizations are allowed to persist. And as for spending huge amounts of taxpayer money badly? Wild expenditures for wacko purposes have become commonplace in Big FedGov. Even GSA’s lavish $822,000 Las Vegas party was paltry compared to IRS’s $4.1 million “Anaheim blast”. (By the way, Disneyland is in Anaheim. Surely there was no connection, right? Surely it’s just a coincidence that no attendance sign-in was required at meetings, right?)
Unfortunately, the bigger FedGov gets, the worse these problems get. What is the usual solution to this problem? “Let’s beef up the oversight office to watch these departments more closely.” Sure, that’s it- hire hundreds or thousands more FedGov employees earning $100k+ each to watch the folks with no moral compass. What could possibly go wrong?
The real question is this: How do we drive a silver stake through the heart of this vicious, arrogant, wasteful IRS dragon?
Well, as Rahm Emanuel so cleverly said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”. OK, fine. Let’s follow that advice. Let’s use this IRS scandal and crisis to drive tax reform that eliminates IRS. If a new tax policy does not need IRS for implementation, there is no reason to keep it.
The income tax system we have is clearly broken. The debate is about “how” to fix it, not “if” we fix it. Our current system is unnecessarily convoluted and complex, massive (73,000 pages), unstable, unpredictable, opaque, time-consuming, and unfair, i.e. widely manipulated by Congress to reward friends and punish enemies. Each of us has heard many horror stories about taxpayer maltreatment by IRS goons. In addition, there are far more K Street lobbyists hired to manipulate tax policy than for any other legislation.
But changing the current system is a huge undertaking. So how should we approach this problem? Isn’t it better just to patch around the edges of our current system? Or is it better to junk the whole thing and start over?
You know the answer. We’ve been “patching around the edges” for decades! That’s how we got into this mess!
We must start over, completely from scratch. Our Holy Grail of tax reform must be to devise a system so radically different that it needs no IRS. Here are some fundamental principles:
Our new tax system must be very simple and highly transparent to the average taxpayer.
NO more vicious IRS attacks against taxpayers (garnishment of wages, freezing assets, interviewing employers, family, or friends).
NO more need for interpretation of convoluted, ambiguous or lengthy regulations.
NO more manipulation of Congress by lobbyists for benefit of special interests.
NO more manipulation of IRS by Congress or the White House for political benefit.
NO annual individual tax filing should be required. No rules to read and comprehend, no shoebox of receipts to keep, no tax software to buy, no tax accountant to hire, no tax planning to stew over before making investments, no forms to fill out, and no checks to send in.
NO more highly-progressive income tax, a cornerstone of Marxism, which no real American should support. Instead, use a consumption tax similar to a state or local sales tax. This makes the system wide and flat. Everyone is taxed, and at the same rate. If you spend more at retail, you pay more tax. Every citizen contributes to our government’s operations based on their level of consumption. An average fifth-grader gets it, and can easily do the math. Folks who live in the cash economy and who currently pay no taxes would become taxpayers- Mafiosi, gang-bangers, drug-runners, hookers, pimps, illegal aliens, etc.
All the attributes listed above are in legislation called the FairTax plan. Bills for the FairTax have already been written and presented to the House and Senate as H.R.25 and S.122. It’s only 131 pages, so you can read it yourself in an afternoon. There is no other tax reform plan which is as well-defined, well-researched by leading economists and as widely supported in Congress. Please note- some folks say they want a “flat tax,” which is a kind of income tax with only one or two tax rates. But a flat tax will not solve our problems, especially our need to eliminate IRS.
A national sales tax like the FairTax on retail sales of new goods and services is highly visible to every citizen who buys anything at retail. If Congress dares to change the tax rate, everyone sees it immediately. That’s also the transparency we’re looking for. Congress would be foolish to manipulate the FairTax rate without expecting to catch hell from the voters. This is not at all like the income tax which is usually buried in the cost of everything we buy, and which can be changed (often invisibly) at the whim of politicians.
Eliminating IRS is good for all these reasons. But it also shrinks the overall size and cost of FedGov, and it reduces the possibility that a department full of hacks will abuse our private information again. If IRS would forward a list of Tea Party donors to liberal operatives, what damage might they do with your healthcare records for checkups, surgical procedures, and pharmaceutical purchases?
If we implement tax reform but leave the IRS intact, we will have missed the single greatest opportunity for “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” for the better. And we would leave ourselves open for even more Big FedGov abuse than we have ever seen.
Future articles will deal with other aspects of the FairTax. If you are unfamiliar with FairTax, it is probably worthwhile to do a bit of investigation and study. Undoubtedly there will come a time when you’ll need to choose between a congressional candidate who supports it and one who doesn’t. And you might be asked to explain FairTax to a neighbor or friend, too.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.