With the possible exception of Congress, few government institutions are held in such low regard as the Internal Revenue Service. The nation’s tax collector is never popular, but the IRS has come under intense scrutiny this year amid revelations its agents targeted Tea Party groups in what appears to be a politically motivated crackdown against conservative organizations.
So intense is the heat on the IRS that the House is considering a bill to cut its funding by 24% vs. year-ago levels while at least two sitting U.S. Senators openly support an effort to abolish the institution altogether.
Republican Senators Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX) are both actively supporting ABOLISH THE IRS, which is backed by Citizens United -- a tax-exempt non-profit best known for its victorious Supreme Court challenge of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.
“I want to abolish the IRS and create a new entity,” says David Bossie, president of Citizens United. ‘This organization is so distrusted and so broken, it actually would be a healthy thing for the American people to demand we abolish it and create something new.”
Bossie admits, “We have to have revenue collection” but does not have an answer to what would replace the current system – be it a flat tax, ‘fair’ tax or other “equitable” system.
But his view is to end the current system first and then have a debate about what should come next. “We need to take this time to say ‘maybe we can do it better, more streamlined,’” he says. “Let’s take a fresh approach vs. tinkering around and manage the decay as we do here in Washington.”
To be sure, the idea of abolishing the IRS has been on the agenda of conservatives like Bossie since the 1990s and odds of legislation passing a highly partisan, highly dysfunctional Congress are extremely low. But the politicization of the IRS and other gaffes – such as the release of Social Security numbers of people who donated to political organizations – have put the agency on the defensive and energized its opponents.
“The American people now distrust the IRS,” Bossie says, confidently speaking for the rest of us. “The American people feel the President, this government has misused the IRS.”
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