The most childish yet entertaining policy initiative out of the tea party is the idea of abolishing the Internal Revenue Service. For example, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched his campaign at Liberty University said, "Imagine abolishing the IRS."
It's the latest mention of this fantasy in a long series of Cruz statements along those lines, but this one was particularly accurate since imagining it will be as far as the idea goes. There's simply no way it'd happen, and if it did, the United States would literally go bankrupt. Without any federal agency to collect tax revenue, how would the government pay for anything? We'll come back to this.
Today on his popular podcast, Adam Carolla pledged his support for Cruz and abolishing the IRS, saying, “Thank you so much for wanting to eliminate the IRS. It’s driving me nuts.”
And there it is. I get the distinct sense that anyone who supports abolishing the IRS is someone who's having trouble with the IRS, which at some point in our adult lives is all of us, but only a select few of us are so utterly delusional to think that supporting the shutting down of the IRS is an actual workable solution. It has nothing to do with reducing the size of government -- it has everything to do with, Hey, the IRS is bothering me so let's shut it down.
Carolla went on to say, “TedCruz.org is where you go if you want to support Ted. I want to support Ted. I love me some Ted Cruz.” This is where Cruz is crazy like a fox. He knows that by offering this kind of fantasy, he'll pick up a lot of support. And it's absolutely a fantasy. It's sort of like a kid running for high school president by promising to eliminate homework.
Bill Smith, managing director in CBIZ MHM’s National Tax Office, told Accounting Today:
“I don’t know how they would collect the taxes,” said Smith. “Even if you switch to a flat tax, which is what he’s advocating, you still have to have someone to collect it. You can’t just hope people are going to send their money in. We already know that even with an agency that does collect it, there’s a tremendous amount of noncompliance. That’s why they calculate the tax gap. They have an agency in place that has a great deal of weapons at its disposal for making people do the right thing, and it’s difficult even with that.”
The other side to this is that even if Cruz wins, he'd quickly see the value in the IRS from an executive perspective, along with the disastrous fallout that'd occur even before the first Cruz era midterm. It'd essentially be a recipe for a one-term Cruz presidency.
But for now it's giving the stupids something to believe in, and it's clearly working. Maybe Cruz will concoct another bullshit idea in which he somehow proposes abolishing night-time and toe stubbings.