Monday, May 20, 2013

Understaffed, overworked, underfunded

The Cincinnati IRS office is understaffed, overworked and underfunded. So says this in the NY Times.

I suppose every agency of government likes to make such claims.  We have heard it from failing public schools for as long as I can recall.

But the unfolding IRS story suggests two entirely different thoughts.

First, in any two-party electoral contest, the strategic choice is between firing up the true believers or moving to the center.  Obama chose the former and it worked.  But a hyper-partisan White House will inspire hyper-partisans all the way down the line.

Second, some of us like the idea of a flat tax because the 60,000+ word IRS code we have is cumbersome, user-unfriendly to the extreme, and simply a way to accommodate thousands of politicized special deals.  The argument has been made many times. Here is a quick summary.

But the politicized administration of this rotten code only makes a bad deal worse.  This does bring the tax code problem home to almost everyone.  Most Americans fear the IRS.  To see the politicized misuse of its awesome powers exposed brings the flat tax argument home to those who had tolerated the tax code status quo.