Opinion

Another View: IRS not as bad as the government that stifles it

For years the Republicans have been gunning for the IRS.

It’s an easy sell to the American public. Who among us likes paying taxes and forking over a portion of our hard-earned wages to the feds, especially with all that wasteful government spending and whatnot?

Problem is, while our government can certainly be wasteful in its spending practices (atop the list being the salaries of our current congressmen), the IRS, which admittedly has its faults, is among the most efficiently and profitably run organizations in the federal government.

According to the Los Angeles Times, every year the IRS collects more taxes than ever before, and it has done so at lower cost per dollar collected than any time since 1980. It is accomplishing this with a payroll that has shrunk by 14 percent and a staff that has decreased by 13,000 people during the past five years.

The cuts come courtesy of the GOP, which has seen to it that the IRS’ budget has been slashed to the tune of $1.2 billion since 2010. During that same time the IRS has had to spend $1.2 billion implementing and enforcing requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

More and more is being asked of the IRS, and rather than increasing its budget, the Republicans are instead making it more difficult for workers to do their jobs by cutting the organization’s funding.

And, of course, when the IRS fails — as when more than 8 million taxpayers this tax season had their calls disconnected by the IRS phone system and those who did get through had to wait on hold for an average of 30 minutes — we hear the howling from the GOP, which purposely created the problem. Abolish the IRS and install a flat tax, they scream, much to the delight of the ultra-wealthy, the only demographic that stands to benefit from such a policy.

The IRS’ shortcomings clearly need to be addressed, but rather than placing all the blame on the department, we need not look any further than the GOP, which is once again putting the needs of the richest and corporations above the American public. Rather than eliminating the IRS, a better idea would be to send any politician preaching about a flat tax packing home.

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