Comments on: Honey, they shrunk the IRS Sat, 23 Mar 2013 13:49:31 +0000 hourly 1 By: cb8 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:23:21 +0000 @Jaham
It is very difficult to compare the IRS to private industry because their motives are entirely different. Yes less may lead to efficiencies at a car dealership or a hospital but that is because their profit goal is focused on rates of returns rather than overall profit in nominal dollars. The IRS is not a private entity with a focus on generating a rate of return but rather has a goal that is consistent with the idea of residual returns meaning that it wishes to maximize the nominal dollars it takes in less the costs of bringing in those dollars. Thus as the article claims if an auditor has the ability to bring in more money than it costs to pay that auditor than it is good for the IRS. The term efficient is too vague and suggests that government entities and private corporations operate the same way. In this case I agree with the article in that additional auditor hours will lead to a higher residual income for the IRS, not that cutting jobs at the IRS will lead to “efficiencies”

Yes, I agree congress does have its issues when it comes to resource allocation and effective spending, however allowing people to escape taxation is not a solution, as a matter of fact it even hurts those who play by the rules. If you are unhappy with how congress spends that money than fight for how it should be spent, and not about who should pay. Are you unhappy with the amount of money that the government is taking away from you or rather are you upset with what you are getting for that money. I believe that the point of this article is focusing on correcting the way in which the government collects taxes and who pays them which often draws a lot of criticism from people who are actually unhappy with what they receive from those taxes, not the idea of taxation as a whole.

By: Dobe Sat, 21 Jan 2012 19:36:40 +0000 Good column David. But why not propose some solutions to the IRS dilemma?

Wouldn’t it make sense to finance an “attack team” within the IRS so as to marshall the scarce resources? This could be done through the IRS whistleblower office which gets the benefit of insiders knowledge to go after big-time tax cheats. This is the only way forward given the increased sophistication and industrial scale tax avoidance/evasion that we are witnessing.

Perhaps David might champion that particular cause, if he thinks it worthwhile?

By: DavidCayJ Fri, 20 Jan 2012 11:58:21 +0000 @ jambrytay,
Thanks for explaining that.

By: jambrytay Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:26:21 +0000 DavidCayJ,

agreed, the words i put in quote marks do not appear in your column.

they appear in the story’s tag line on the main Reuters main page!

By: FormerRO Thu, 19 Jan 2012 01:03:28 +0000 This is really just a continuation of the defunding of government as started during the Clinton administration. There are many books about defunding the government. I read “The Wrecking Crew” by Thomas Frank. This defunding is happening at all levels of government and most people with whom I speak do not believe anything I tell them about the philosophy of defunding.

By: DavidCayJ Wed, 18 Jan 2012 23:02:09 +0000 @goldstockbull,
no government operates without a tax enforcement agency.

It was the lack of one that caused the first American republic to fail, resulting in this, the second American republic in which the very first power we grant our Congress is a virtually unlimited power to tax (Article 1, Section 8). The Framers understood that taxation was the core of democracy and without taxes there is no wealth and without taxes the liberties of the people could not endure.

My previous column ton/2012/01/06/time-to-junk-income-taxes  / showed one way that we simplify corporate income tax law by having companies keep one set of books instead of one for shareholders and another for the IRS. I also asked why, given modern technology, 120 million of 140 million taxpayers need to file returns. Most countries do not require income tax filing and only minor changes in law would be needed for us to do the same for most people assuming we keep the income tax.

In future columns I will show others ways we could make the tax system simpler and easier to comply with and explore the political reasons Congress has not been willing to do this.


the words you put in quote marks do not appear in my column.

What I did write was about principled and equal enforcement of the law:

“Whether you like the corporate income tax or think it is an abomination, failing to enforce it with the same rigor as taxes on wage earners and most investors is indefensible on economic, budget deficit and moral grounds.”

I hope my readers above, and others who post here, comment on the issue of UNequal enforcement of the law.

Our Congress enacted laws that hold wage earners (including me) to one standard, but business owners (including me) and corporations (I chair a tiny one) to a different one with little or no independent verification, making audits crucial to the integrity of the system.

By: jambrytay Wed, 18 Jan 2012 18:45:55 +0000 Mr Johnston’s tag line says ‘The IRS staff generates real revenue.’ Does this guy understand what ‘real revenue’ means.

By: TheOldSodbuster Wed, 18 Jan 2012 17:32:38 +0000 While many will agree that our taxes are overly complex, The wildly bloated incomes of the top tenth of the top one percent indicate a broken system where their accountants beat our accountants. Who are we? We are the American citizens and taxpayers who are indenturing the next generation with unpaid taxes for overseas wars that are not paid for.

Those 400 families that make literally billions each year receive far more than reward for a job well done. They receive money used for social control which is evident in the spending of super pacs.

By: Pennychaser1 Wed, 18 Jan 2012 16:01:29 +0000 End the FED and IRS! We need money back at hands of citizens.

By: SayHey Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:22:15 +0000 The IRS “taxpayer advocate” says that the IRS’s workload should be reduced or it should get more funding – this is like saying the sky is blue – every government agency know to humankind has always said the same thing – not a single one has ever said give us more work and less funding.