Friday, December 28, 2018
New York Times editorial, A Gutted I.R.S. Makes the Rich Richer:
Let’s take a moment to pity the Internal Revenue Service. Yes, to many Americans, it’s a money-grabbing ogre siphoning hard-earned cash to the faceless federal bureaucracy.
But the nation’s tax collector today is an enfeebled enforcer. Its budget has been bled dry by a Republican Congress in service to wealthy donors and businesses aggressively pursuing tax avoidance, leaving uncollected 18 percent to 20 percent of potential tax revenues annually.
That’s the conclusion in articles by the journalism site ProPublica, co-published by The Atlantic and The Times.
Loopholes are beyond the means of most Americans who earn salaries or are paid hourly wages, and are exploited by those who derive significant income from investments or business revenue. Although we’d all like to pay less, relative to most developed nations our tax burden is a pretty good deal. ...
Our ability to keep the $1 trillion deficit created by the Trump tax cuts from deepening depends in part on collecting taxes to which the government is legally entitled.
Think of it this way: To protect our nation, we have the most powerful army in the world. To protect our tax base, we have an army on the order of Liechtenstein’s.
The lack of deterrence will only encourage more cheating. The I.R.S. needs to be capable of doing the job for which it was created — from answering taxpayers’ questions to chasing down the richest cheats, even if they occupy the Oval Office.
(Hat Tip: Ted Seto.)