Brief History On The ‘Abolish IRS’ Idea
On 31 October 2007, Ron Paul, who was then representing the 14th congressional district in Congress and a staunch republican, said that he leaned towards flat tax, but wanted to flatten it out to zero. He said this while speaking to Jay Leno at the Tonight Show.
Ron’s sentiments have been embraced by many republicans and in June 2013, another republican, Senator Ted Cruz endorsed this tax proposal, during an interview with Fox News. This idea had excited so many conservatives that at one time, Glenn Beck even wanted to ‘French Kiss’ Ron Paul.
Currently, this idea has been openly embraced by the 4 republican presidential aspirants Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. They have all said that they will greatly simplify taxes to a point the IRS would be redundant.
Do The Republicans Really Mean To Abolish The IRS?
When Ted Cruz floated this idea to the public, he said that this method would help Americans simply fill out their taxes via postcards. A US citizen would indicate his total earnings, deductions directed to charity and home mortgage, then indicate how much he owed the government.
While this seemed pretty straight forward and the IRS appeared redundant, critics were fast to note that the IRS wasn’t really getting abolished. In an article, Ezra Klein from the Washington Post, noted that what Ted and his team did not realize was the fact that the IRS was extremely helpful. For example, in the postcard system, who will make the first contact to ensure that a postcard was received? Who will certify that a particular person actually directed 1 million dollars to charity?
Ezra argues that the people needed to perform these checks and balances would need to sit at a central place which the republicans would prefer to call ‘The Agency Of Tax Freedom’ while in essence, it is still the Internal Revenue Service.
Critics note that the republicans do not actually want to abolish the IRS but reform the tax code. Some, like Forbes magazine, inform the public that flat tax is actually a highly regressive step. Whatever name these people give the process, they will still need some sort of IRS to enforce it.
Can The US Really Do Without The IRS?
The straight answer is no. Sen. Marco Rubio agreed that this idea has a bit of hyperbole in it. He said that what the republicans really want is simpler tax and less power for the IRS. Sen. Marco noted that the power of the IRS is directly related to the complexity of the tax code, meaning that increased complexities would result to more bureaucracies, a United States that the republicans do not want.
It’s not like the U.S. federal government can simply run over to a registration loan lender in Scottsdale whenever they need some extra funds. Government needs money. Period.
In 2007, during an interview with the late Tim Russert on Meet The Press, Ron Paul was asked how he would fund government after abolishing IRS and income tax. All the said, flat-out, was government needed to reduce spending. Well, this was simply a political answer. In reality, yes we agree the US needs tax reforms but abolishing the IRS is too far-fetched.