Five big­gest rea­sons to hate the IRS tax code

The mam­moth amount of taxes paid is fol­lowed by the un­nec­es­sary com­plex­ity of tax forms

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Stephen Moore

President Don­ald Trump has pro­posed what he calls “the big­gest tax cut since Ron­ald Rea­gan.” He also wants vast sim­pli­fi­ca­tion so that Amer­i­cans can fill out their taxes on a post­card re­turn. Let’s hope that part of this re­form pack­age will be to de­fang the IRS, which treats Amer­i­cans as if they are guilty un­til proven in­no­cent and in­vades the ba­sic pri­vacy rights of ci­ti­zens.

Mean­while Mr. Trump’s crit­ics on the left seems to think the tax code is just fine the way it is — al­though some, like so­cial­ist hero Bernie San­ders, want tax rates to go much higher.

So as a primer for why Amer­i­cans de­serve gen­uine tax re­lief and re­form, here are five re­minders of how badly our tax sys­tem is bro­ken:

This year busi­nesses and fam­i­lies will pay an all-time record high $6,000,000,000,000 in fed­eral, state and lo­cal taxes. That’s more than the GDP of all but a hand­ful of coun­tries. For mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, taxes are now the sin­gle largest ex­pen­di­ture item in the fam­ily bud­get.

All of this rev­enue flows into the govern­ment’s cof­fers through an end­less pipe­line of ex­trac­tions: in­come taxes, pay­roll taxes, im­port taxes, gaso­line taxes, cig­a­rette taxes, state in­come and sales taxes, prop­erty taxes, food taxes, beer taxes, soda pop taxes, sewer taxes, wa­ter taxes, in­vest­ment taxes, ho­tel taxes, stock taxes, en­ergy taxes, health care taxes, pre­scrip­tion drug taxes, air­line ticket taxes and more. Then af­ter all of that, when you are laid in a cas­ket, you pay a tax for the priv­i­lege of dy­ing.

Amer­ica is sup­posed to be the land of the free and a paragon of free mar­kets and free en­ter­prise. Yet today the U.S. 40 per­cent tax rate is the high­est in the world. Yes, higher than so­cial­ist Swe­den. Higher than former com­mu­nist coun­tries like Rus­sia 11 and China. Our com­bined fed­eral and state tax rates are al­most twice the rate of the coun­tries we com­pete with. It’s al­most as if the sys­tem were de­signed by the coun­tries that we com­pete with so they could steal our jobs, fac­to­ries and busi­nesses.

Th­ese high tax rates put Amer­i­can com­pa­nies at a 20 per­cent­age point dis­ad­van­tage in global mar­kets. Mr. Trump is right when he says the rest of the world is laugh­ing be­hind our backs.

The first in­come tax was just four pages long (see chart). Today the code is 10 times longer than Tol­stoy’s “War and Peace” and 1,000 times doesn’t like. Today be­cause of the com­plex­ity of the tax sys­tem, the IRS em­ploys 82,000 snoop­ers. It now costs our fed­eral govern­ment $12 bil­lion a year just to ad­min­is­ter this Byzan­tine tax sys­tem. It costs fam­i­lies and busi­nesses at least this amount just to fig­ure out how much taxes they owe.

1. $6 tril­lion of taxes paid … and count­ing

2. We pun­ish our busi­nesses with the high­est tax rates in the world 3) An 82,000 page mon­stros­ity 5) Tax loop­holes are rigged for the rich and po­lit­i­cally pow­er­ful


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