Monday, April 28, 1997

Week of 04/28/1997

Dismantling the IRS…
It’s not as easy at it seems!
- by David Matthews 2

Well April 15th has come and gone again, and just like previous years there was talk about the evils of the Internal Revenue Service. It seems every year there is some issue about the IRS that we all hate and we all ask ourselves "Why can’t we just get rid of the IRS?"

Look, let’s be brutally honest here. I’ll break out the champagne when the words IRS stand for Irrelevant and Retired Snoops. And yeah, I wish it was as simple as passing a law, which was how the IRS got started in the first place. Unfortunately there’s more to it than meets the eye.

For starters, we need to think about how we see taxes. Not just "we" as in you and me, but also "we" as in the other people. We’re quick to say that WE pay too much taxes, but how many of us - when faced with alternatives such as a flat tax - then point to someone else and say THEY don’t pay their share of taxes? Oh sure, the more wealthier of us can get tax breaks and exemptions, but what about the tax breaks the rest of us are given? How many of you have families? How many of you are given tax credits for having kids, on top of listing them as deductions? How are those different from the tax breaks wealthy corporations get? Either way you look at it, it still means not having to pay "your share" of taxes!

Didn’t think about it that way, did you? Maybe you should.

Look, before any of us start pointing fingers at someone else and accuse them of not paying taxes, let’s look at how many tax breaks and exemptions WE take advantage of. We need to change out attitudes about things such as "tax credits" for families and people with kids. I’m not insensitive to the demands of family life. I know it’s hard to raise a family today. But we need to shout foul instead of fair whenever politicians stop talking about giving us tax cuts and instead talk about "tax credits," because they are no different than the tax breaks they give to the rich! As long as the politicians continue to play this game of favorites and as long as we continue to play their little game, we will not get any closer to establishing a tax system that IS equal!

Ask yourself: Would you rather have a tax credit that you’ll only see on your tax forms, or a tax cut that you’ll see every week with more of your paycheck coming back to you?

Here’s another question for all of us to ask: How much do you pay in taxes overall? Ever figure out the math? I have. 17.8% of my paycheck goes to paying both federal and state taxes. How about you? Radio talk show host and fellow libertarian Neal Boortz asks people regularly around Tax Day how much they make per year. Not how much you bring home, but how much you make before taxes. Do you know? I do. Look at your pay stub and do the math. I think you’ll be surprised as to how much you make compared to how much you really get after taxes.

Now that you know how much you’re losing every year to pay Uncle Sam and his 50 spoiled brats, let’s talk about the IRS.

For starters, we have to realize that no matter what tax alternative we offer, be it through a flat tax or a national sales tax or another kind of consumption tax, we will not get rid of the IRS in it’s entirety! There will STILL be a need for people to account for the tax money raised to keep government going.

Then we have to think about who would be hurt if we put in an alternative tax system such as a flat tax. (And I’m talking about a REAL flat tax - no exemptions, no deductions, no credits!) Well who benefits from the current tax system besides government? For starters, accountants! Not just the ones in the IRS, but also those private CPAs out there. The companies and firms who prepare our tax forms such as H&R Block would go out of business if all of our taxes can be filled out on a postcard. Think about all those software programs such as TurboTax that would be irrelevant. Sure companies like Intuit can continue to prosper with financial software like Quicken and Quick Books, but how many other small software companies thrive on the current morass we call the tax codes?

Why mention these groups? Because THEY are your real opposition! These are the people who would be seriously hurt by our gain of a fair and equal system of paying taxes. Don’t think for a minute that they won’t fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo, because if we were talking about my bread and butter I’d be fighting just as hard, if not harder!

To be honest, no matter WHAT bureaucracy we try to get rid of, it’ll cost us in terms of jobs, and those groups will fight tooth and nail to keep their paychecks. But unlike ordinary folk like you and I, we’re talking some seriously well-off vocations being endangered. And I’m not even getting into the more trickier questions of how to handle those tax-exempt groups such as full-time students, non-profit organizations, and churches!

Suddenly it’s not so simple, is it?

Look, if we want to fix the tax system, we need to seriously look at these issues and decide beforehand which alternative system we want implemented. Don’t look to the politicians to do this for us, because they won’t! These societal parasites can’t have a bowel movement without first checking with the latest Gallop Poll to see if what they produce will rate higher than them! They listen to whomever will pay their campaign bills, not whomever votes them into office.

So it’s really just a question of how bad do we want change. Are we willing to discuss these issues and decide which alternative tax system we want implemented? It’s up to us!

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