Let’s get rid of the IRS

Why would anyone give a federal agency caught in an outrageous abuse of its considerable power even more authority to meddle in the lives of Americans?

There’s no justifiable reason. But that’s what the federal government is about to do with the Internal Revenue Service.

Insights from The Detroit News' editorial page editor and columnist- Nolan Finley

Insights from The Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist- Nolan Finley

In a still-unfolding scandal, the IRS has been caught red-handed targeting conservative political groups for special scrutiny in what seems obvious was an attempt to aid the reelection bid of President Barack Obama.

The agency harassed a variety of groups and individuals linked to conservative and Republican political causes, including those with the words “tea party” and “patriot” in their names.

The IRS dragnet inadvertently picked off some non-political groups as well, including Oakland County Judge Michael Warren’s “Patriot Week” organization, whose mission is to promote teaching the Constitution to school children. What sort of agency of the United States government finds something sinister in patriotism?

The IRS does. And that’s more than enough reason to jettison plans to make it the enforcement arm of Obamacare. The new health care law gives the tax agency 46 new powers and 1,200 new agents to make sure everyone who is supposed to buy an insurance policy buys one. It will also collect the 18 new taxes that will support the program.

That’s way too much responsibility for an institution America no longer trusts. It will make the IRS not only the most feared agent of the federal government, but also the most powerful. An agency that has proven itself willing to manipulate the levers of government to achieve a political end should not be rewarded, it should be punished.

The most fitting punishment would be to disband the IRS. And junk the income tax, too.

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and now a TV talk show host, is urging Congress to replace the income tax with a national sales tax. You’d pay tax on the money you spend instead of the money you earn.

That would eliminate the need for an IRS that audits tax returns, hands out non-profit status and enforces a tax code that is egregiously complex and unfair.

If the national sales tax isn’t the answer, then a similar outcome might be achieved by drastically lowering current income tax rates in exchange for eliminating all deductions and credits.

With no reason to examine returns, the IRS could be much smaller. Without auditing power, it’d be less intimidating.

There’s still the issue of how to enforce Obamacare, which was declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court only because its requirement that everyone buy an insurance policy is considered a tax, not a purchase mandate.

Resolving that may require a rethinking and rewriting of Obamacare. There’s very little downside in that.

If, in one stroke, we can eliminate the hated and abusive IRS and revamp an entitlement that seems destined to complete the bankrupting of America, what’s the downside?

BY NOLAN FINLEY

 

Terri Lynn Land For U.S. Senate

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