Why Abolishing the IRS is a Bad Idea

Catherine Rampell explains why abolishing the IRS—most recently floated by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in his presidential campaign announcement at Liberty University—”is a phenomenally bad idea.”

“Well, sorry to say it, but someone has to collect the money that keeps our government up and running, funding everything from Medicare to the military. The IRS is a cash-flow-positive agency, collecting an estimated $255 for every $1 appropriated to it, and dumping it would vastly widen existing government deficits.”

“One reason Americans have long hated the IRS, needless to say, is that paying taxes is painful. Not just because doing so means handing over money to the government, but because it’s so darn complicated… But this is not the IRS’s fault. This is Congress’s fault, for it is Congress that writes the Internal Revenue Code and clutters it with myriad carve-outs, loopholes, preferences, deductions and complicated categories for what counts as income and what doesn’t, and under what circumstances. The IRS is tasked with implementing, interpreting and enforcing these laws.”

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