Tax Reform: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, might have hit on the most important fiscal issue facing the U.S.: the need for major tax reform. But he takes it a step further.
Speaking Monday, the senator from Texas threw another thunderbolt: Republicans should use their control of Congress to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service.
“We need to pass fundamental tax reform making our tax code simpler, flatter, fairer,” he told a crowd at a Heritage Foundation event. “And I’ll tell you, the single most important tax reform, we should abolish the IRS.”
It’s not as radical as it sounds.
In recent years, the IRS has become overtly political, or “weaponized,” as Cruz puts it. The IRS scandal, in which it “slow-walked” applications by Tea Party and other conservative groups to deny them nontax status during the 2012 presidential race, is but one example.
Its 110,000-person workforce has become a silent army working on behalf of progressive causes.
That, in itself, is bad enough. But as the Americans for Tax Reform point out in a recent blog post on their website, unless his agency gets more money, “IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has threatened delayed refunds, long call-wait times, the specter of identity theft, and now, no-show days for IRS employees.”
In short, it’s a dysfunctional agency that’s lost its way.
The easiest way to get rid of the IRS, as Cruz suggests, is fundamental tax reform. But there are many other great reasons for reforming the code.
For one, the U.S. tax code has become so unfair, so complex, so burdensome and so costly that we have nothing to lose by changing it radically.
In a report to Congress in 2013, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson told Congress that America’s tax code now runs to well over 70,000 pages, with more than 30 million words — about 38 times larger than the King James Bible.
Individual taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours each year filling out their taxes and complying with its laws — the equivalent of three million full-time employees working for a year.
Since 2001, there have been nearly 5,000 changes in the tax code — about one a day. No individual can keep up with it all. And all that complexity isn’t free: It costs us $170 billion annually to fill out our taxes. Enough.
We’ve said before: we support a flatter, fairer tax, with lower taxes for all, paid for by spending cuts — not new taxes like the recent “bipartisan” gasoline tax hike.
Even basic tax reform, say economists, would be a winner. Just this week, a new study by the National Association of Manufacturers estimated that if tax reform were passed, over 10 years “the economy would grow by more than $12 trillion relative to Congressional Budget Office projections, investment would increase by more than $3.3 trillion and the economy would add 6.5 million jobs.” Other studies find similarly large gains.
Today, our tax code resembles more a Rube Goldberg device than an efficient system for raising money to fund the necessary operations of our government. By all means, we should reform it. And while we’re at it, as Cruz suggests, why not get rid of the IRS?
View more information: https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/ted-cruz-says-tax-reform-should-begin-by-getting-rid-of-irs/